US & Canada

Maine man killed in hit-and-run ran over a girl in 1968

Douglas Parkhurst pictured with family member Image copyright Douglas Parkhurst/Facebook
Image caption Douglas Parkhurst (left) was killed in a hit-and-run last week - 50 years after he killed a little girl in a hit-and-run

A Maine man killed by a hit-and-run driver on Friday himself killed a child in a hit-and-run five decades ago and cheated justice, it has emerged.

Douglas Parkhurst, 68, was hailed as a hero after he died while pushing children from the path of the vehicle at a baseball field in Sanford.

But local media report he lied about killing a girl in a car crash in 1968.

A 51-year-old woman was arrested in Friday's incident, which is apparently unconnected with Parkhurst's dark past.

Police are trying to determine why the suspect, Carol Sharrow, allegedly ploughed through a gate and drove wildly across the baseball park.

Several players were on the field at the time and more than 200 people were in the stands.

Image copyright Carol Thompson/Kickstarter
Image caption Parkhurst finally confessed in 2013 to killing Carolee Ashby in a 1968 hit-and-run

One witness, Justin Clifton, told WCSH-TV: "After the car got off the field, [the driver] came to the gate and the older guy pushed the kids right out of the way.

"He took the hit for the kid. We can't even have kids play baseball without someone getting hurt."

Parkhurst, a Vietnam veteran, was hit while trying to close a gate to keep the car in the field.

Ms Sharrow fled the scene and was later arrested. Police told local media she faces a preliminary charge of manslaughter.

They said she has a drink-driving conviction in two states, though did not confirm if alcohol was a factor in Friday's incident.

Image copyright CBS
Image caption Witness-filmed footage of the sedan charging across the baseball field

Parkhurst died on the way to the hospital.

Half a century ago, he was a prime suspect in the death of four-year-old Carolee Ashby one Halloween night.

She was thrown 133ft (40m) into the air when a car hit her while she was crossing the street.

Witnesses said the impact was hard enough to launch the girl out of her black cowboy boots.

Carolee had been walking with her 15-year-old sister to buy candles for a birthday cake.

Police received a tip-off that Parkhurst, then 18 years old, had apparently crashed a Buick into a pole that same night.

Image copyright Sanford Police Department
Image caption The suspect in Friday's hit-and-run, Carol Sharrow

They interviewed him, but he denied any involvement in the hit-and-run.

Five years ago, police reopened the cold case and questioned him again.

The local district attorney advised Parkhurst he could not be criminally charged for the accident because too much time had passed.

Parkhurst finally confessed to the crime in 2013, knowing the statute of limitations had expired and he could not be prosecuted.

He said he and his brother had been drinking before the accident.

"I heard a thud," Parkhurst wrote in his statement to police. "I did not see what I hit.

"I did not stop. I don't remember hitting the brakes.

"I don't remember seeing any kids but I believe in my heart I hit the little Ashby girl with my car."

He said his brother was passed out on the back seat of the car at the time of the collision.

In a Facebook post following the incident, the Sanford Maine Little League said all their players were safe.

They conveyed "deep sorrow to the family of the brave man that gave his life tonight protecting others".

After hearing news of Parkhurst's death, Russ Johnson, the retired police officer who helped crack the Carolee Ashby case, told the Portland Press Herald: "God works in mysterious ways.

"The secret Mr Parkhurst held all those years put that family through torment."

He called his death a strange twist of fate.

Carolee's sister, Darlene, told the Herald the story "has made a full circle" now.

"The same thing that happened to my sister happened to him.

"It made a complete circle. Now it is time to move on."

Related Topics

More on this story