Orange County

Man Accused in DUI Crash That Killed Baby Released as Prosecutors Build Case

Madden Ohlwiler, only days away from his first birthday, died Sunday afternoon when a driver hopped a curb and barreled into him and his parents as they were out on a stroll in the Las Flores neighborhood

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The man accused of driving under the influence of drugs and crashing into a family of three, killing an 11-month-old boy, has been released as prosecutors build a case against him.

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said the 54-year-old driver was released in compliance with California law, which mandates that people be released if no charges are filed against them within 48 hours of their arrest.

“The Orange County District Attorney’s Office, working closely with the California Highway Patrol and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, has asked for expedited toxicology reports. Once the investigation is turned over to the District Attorney’s Office, prosecutors from the Homicide Unit will review the totality of the evidence and make a determination on what crimes can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” Spitzer said in a written statement.

Madden Ohlwiler, only days away from his first birthday, died Sunday afternoon when a driver hopped a curb and barreled into him and his parents as they were out on a stroll in the Las Flores neighborhood. The CHP said the driver, San Clemente resident Daniel Patrick Lenihan, traveled several hundred feet before crashing into the family on Antonio Parkway at Oaktree.

Courtney Rotz, Madden’s aunt, said his mother suffered a broken pelvis, while his father suffered a severe concussion. 

Madden’s uncle told NBC4 that the family wants justice, but they have no hate for the driver and understand the investigation process.

Meanwhile, the community has rallied to support the family. Christine Wood, co-owner of the Barberhood barbershop in Laguna Hills, will donate all the proceeds from Thursday’s haircuts to the Ohlwilers.

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“I just think these people need as much help as they can get and I don't think you need to know them to help them,” Wood said.

Family members plan to celebrate Madden’s birthday on Friday. They described him as a beautiful, joyful child who brought immense happiness to his parents.

“That little boy was my sister’s world. She waited a long time to have him, and he was such a perfect little angel – just always so happy, gave a smile to anyone and played with anyone,” Rotz told NBC4 Monday.

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