Douglas Parkhurst, the 68-year-old man killed in a hit-and-run during a recent Little League baseball game in Maine, had an ironic past, having confessed in 2013 to fatally hitting a 4-year-old girl with his car as a teenager in October, 1968. Yet witness accounts suggest that it was his heroic deeds that saved the lives of several children as a maroon Honda careened out of control on the field on Friday night.
Parkhurst, a resident of West Newfield, Maine, was hit by a car that drove through an open gate at Goodall Park in nearby Sanford, as spectators and ballplayers alike scattered to avoid getting hit by the vehicle, according to a report from ESPN. A 51-year-old woman, Carol Sharrow, was arrested by police and charged with manslaughter after she allegedly drove away from the scene. She remains incarcerated at York County Jail on Saturday.
At the moment, Sharrow’s motive remains unknown, though police believe there is no connection between the accused and the victim, the Press Herald wrote. A report from the Daily Mail cited a Facebook post from Sharrow’s friend, Denise Bass, where she explained that the suspect suffered from mental illness and had a “rough past,” but did not use drugs and only rarely consumed alcohol.
Douglas Parkhurst was involved in a coincidentally similar hit-and-run almost 50 years ago, where his 1962 Buick Special hit 4-year-old Carolee Ashby on Halloween night in 1968, throwing the young girl 133 feet into the air and killing her, the Press Herald added.
Ashby’s death remained unsolved until March, 2013, when Fulton (New York) Police Department investigators approached Parkhurst and interviewed him about the then-45-year-old case. Thanks to a tip from a retired Fulton police investigator, it was found that Parkhurst was previously suspected in the 1968 hit-and-run, and had given the alibi that his car incurred front-end damage after hitting a cement post. He then confessed to investigators after two interviews, but was not charged with Ashby’s death, on account of the statute of limitations having expired several years prior.
“During these interviews, Parkhurst admitted to consuming alcohol prior to driving through the City of Fulton on October 31, 1968,” read a statement from the Fulton Police Department, quoted by Oswego County Today.
“Parkhurst stated he was with his brother, who was passed out in the back seat. While passing through Fulton, Parkhurst confirmed he hit something, stating he believed at the time it was an animal, but now knows it was Carolee Ashby.”
According to a 2013 report from Syracuse, Douglas Parkhurst lived a “full life” after the hit-and-run incident, having served in the Vietnam War, he worked multiple jobs, and become a father and grandfather in the years that followed.
In the final moments of his life, Parkhurst reportedly did what he could to protect the young Little League players in Sanford as the car allegedly driven by Carol Sharrow drove through the field. Speaking to News Center Maine, witness Justin Clifton related how he saw the incident play out on Friday night.
“I saw the car pull out of the gate right over there, and this guy had some kids with him. 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 kids.”
Reporting on Friday night’s incident, Yahoo Sports wrote that things could have been “far worse” had Douglas Parkhurst not sacrificed himself to save the children’s lives.