Toddler Injured In DUI Crash Celebrates 2nd Birthday

Izaiah Wallis, Grandfather Hit By Teenage Drunken Driver In October 2010

A toddler critically injured by a teenage drunk driver celebrated his 2nd birthday on Sunday.

Izaiah's Wallis' birthday party on Sunday was for family members and hospital staff only.

"You walk into his room [and you] won't feel like you're in a hospital room… he's so happy. As soon as we woke up with him, we sang 'Happy Birthday' and he was just loving it [and] smiling and moving his arms," said Izaiah's father, Jacob Wallis.

Izaiah has been at Rady Children's Hospital since he was struck by a teenage drunk driver last October. The crash left Izaiah paralyzed and blind and also injured Izaiah's grandfather.

The teenager who hit Izaiah was sentenced to 480 days in a youth offender program.

Wallis said the fact that Izaiah is still alive is everything.

"Nobody would ever want to celebrate their birthday in the hospital but you just have to look at the positives – that we still have him – and that's the main thing," said Wallis.

Izaiah is still hooked up to a ventilator after suffering a severe case of pneumonia in February. His father said they've been trying to wean him off the ventilator.

"He'll come off it half an hour a day [and] does pretty good with it but can't seem to do it any longer than that," said Wallis.

Wallis said he's been at the hospital around the clock. The family recently suffered another setback in March after a fire destroyed their car.

Wallis said he was without transportation to see his son after his Honda Civic burst into flames near Del Mar Heights Road.

Wallis was leaving his Vista home around 11 p.m. when he said the car began to shake and slow down before the fire.

"The car is just like flaming really high with a lot of smoke and I just kept praying because I didn't want anyone to get hurt. That would be like the worst thing that could happen," said Wallis.

Charles and Linda Van Kessler, through their group Passion 4 Kids, have been trying to find Wallis another car.

On Sunday, the Van Kesslers announced a new campaign to help the Wallis family.

"Just $10 from 35,000 people can get them a home," said Linda Van Kessler.

When Izaiah is released from the hospital – which is hopefully in a couple of months -- the Van Kesslers dream of handing the Wallis family the keys to a new house that is designed for Izaiah's therapy and paid for with donations.

The group Passion 4 K.I.D.S. is accepting donations to help the Wallis family. For information on what and how to donate, visit

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