Fayette County

UK student told police he drank two beers, had left tailgating before hitting 4-year-old

Jacob Heil
Jacob Heil

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Marco Shemwell’s death, aftermath

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The driver of a car that hit a 4-year-old boy told police that he consumed two beers and that he left from “game tailgating” before the accident, according to an arrest report.

The police report filed in court on Tuesday also said Jacob Robert Heil, 18, had a blood-alcohol level of .051. The legal limit for those over age 21 is .08. For those under 21, the limit is .02.

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

Marco Shemwell.jpg
Marco Lee Shemwell, 3 years old in this photograph, died on Monday after being struck by a car over the weekend on Cooper Drive. Provided by Shannon Andreas

The child was hit around 2 p.m. Saturday during the University of Kentucky football game while he and his family were waiting to cross Cooper Drive near Scoville Drive, according to police.

In his statement to police, Heil said he consumed the two beers at about 9:30 a.m.

Heil was driving a 2012 Hyundai Sonata east on Cooper. There was a passenger in the car with Heil at the time of the crash, according to the police report filed Tuesday.

Heil, a registered first-year student at UK, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence.

The arrest citation for Heil said he had “a strong odor of alcoholic beverages, red blood shot watery eyes and showed signs of impairment on field sobriety tests.”

He is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon.

In a statement, UK President Eli Capiluto 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 out fans to join us in supporting them through unimaginable tragedy while respecting their privacy,” Barnhart said. “Out thought and deepest condolences are with Marco’s family and all those lives he touched. We pray for peace for them.”

A GoFundMe set up to raise money for Marco’s family had surpassed its $5,000 goal by Tuesday evening.