Fayette County

Four-year-old boy struck by car during UK football game dies

Jacob Heil
Jacob Heil

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Marco Shemwell’s death, aftermath

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A four-year-old boy who was struck by a car driven by an alleged drunk driver during the University of Kentucky’s football game Saturday has died, according to the University of Kentucky.

Marco Lee Shemwell, 4, died Monday at UK Healthcare’s Kentucky Children’s Hospital, according to the University of Kentucky.

The child was hit around 2 p.m. Saturday while he and his family were waiting to cross Cooper Drive near Scoville Drive, according to police.

The driver, 18-year-old Jacob R. Heil, was driving east on Cooper and his car might have “veered off the road a little bit,” Lexington police Sgt. Stephen Yoder said Saturday.

The boy was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Heil, a registered first-year student at UK according to university spokesman Jay Blanton, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence.

The arrest citation for Heil stated he had “a strong odor of alcoholic beverages, red blood shot watery eyes and showed signs of impairment on field sobriety tests,” according to WKYT, the Herald-Leader’s reporting partner.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon.

In a statement, UK President Eli Capilouto said “the entire University of Kentucky community is heart-sick at the loss of our young friend and fan.”

“In this awful moment, we hope his parents, brother and other loved ones feel the warm and caring embrace generated by every soul in our UK family,” he added. “And let us care for one another with intention and compassion, as today we mark another reminder of the fragility of this life.”

Tuesday morning, UK football head coach Mark Stoops and athletic director Mitch Barnhart sent their condolences through social media to the Shemwell family.

“Chantel and I, along with the Kentucky football family, are in grief for the Shemwells, their family and friends,” Stoops said. “It is hard to put into words the hurt we feel in our hearts, and our prayers and deepest condolences are with the Shemwell family and all affected by this tragedy.”

“Our hearts are broken for the Shemwell family. We ask our fans to join us in supporting them through unimaginable tragedy while respecting their privacy,” Barnhart said. “Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with Marco’s family and all those lives he touched. We pray for peach for them.”

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