The man who was killed by a hit-and-run driver at a Babe Ruth baseball game at Goodall Park in Sanford on Friday night confessed to an unsolved hit-and-run death of a 4-year-old girl in Fulton, New York, 44 years after the girl’s death.
Douglas Parkhurst, 68, of West Newfield, a Vietnam War veteran and grandfather, died after a Sanford woman hit him with her car in a rampage at the ball field and then fled the scene, authorities said.
Sanford police Detective Sgt. Matthew Jones said Parkhurst’s family revealed that he had a hit-and-run fatality in his past.
Carol Sharrow, 51, was arrested a short time after the 7:09 p.m. incident at Goodall Park and charged with manslaughter. She is being held at the York County Jail in Alfred.
Police said there was no connection between Sharrow and Parkhurst, who coincidentally confessed five years ago to the hit-and-run death of Carolee Ashby, who was thrown 133 feet into the air when she was hit by a car while walking along a road with her older sister on Halloween night in 1968.
The death went unsolved until March 2013, when Parkhurst was approached by two investigators from the Fulton (New York) Police Department who questioned him at his then-home in Oswego, New York, about the hit-and-run.
The Post-Standard in Syracuse, New York, published a series of articles about the case in 2014. Fulton police had reopened the investigation into the girl’s death a year earlier. A retired Fulton police investigator had posted information about the unsolved death on Facebook that resulted in a tip, and the case was reopened.
After a review, the investigators found that Parkhurst had been a suspect in 1968. The newspaper reported that police examined his Buick in 1968 and found front-end damage that Parkhurst attributed to hitting a cement post, but police never followed through.
The newspaper reported Parkhurst walked into the police station in 2013 after two interviews by the investigators and confessed. He signed a four-page confession.
Parkhurst was never charged with the death. By the time of his confession, the statute of limitations had long since expired, and he was aware of that when he made his confession, the newspaper reported.
According to the confession, Parkhurst said he and his brother had been drinking before he hit the girl with his car. The brother was passed out in the back of the vehicle.
“I know in my heart and I am 99.9 percent sure I hit that little girl with my 1962 tan Buick Special. I am oh so sorry. I can’t change anything but I hope this apology will be accepted and I beg for forgiveness,” he wrote.
On Saturday, Russ Johnson, the retired Fulton police officer whose Facebook post led to the tip that helped crack the case, called Parkhurst’s death ironic and a strange twist of fate.
“God works in mysterious ways,” Johnson said in a telephone interview.
Johnson, who joined the force in 1985, said he reopened the case in 1999 but never got anywhere before he retired in 2006.
“It was mind-blowing that the community had remained so distraught over the decades,” Johnson said.
He said that after he retired he continued to be haunted by the case and the pain that the Ashby family had experienced, so he put up the Facebook post in 2012.
“The secret Mr. Parkhurst held all those years put that family through torment,” Johnson said.
Johnson said Parkhurst moved away from the area after his confession and identity were revealed.
Douglas Parkhurst (Facebook photo)