Bizarre twist in fatal car rampage
THE Vietnam veteran hailed a "hero" for saving lives after a woman ploughed her car through a little league baseball game has been revealed as the killer of a four-year-old girl.
Douglas Parkhurst "gave his life" shielding children when Carol Sharrow mowed him down as she sped through the baseball diamond of a Babe Ruth League game.
The 68-year-old grandfather tried to shut a gate at Goodall Park in Sanford in the US eastern state of Maine last Friday, but the crazed driver 51-year-old Sharrow hit him, and he died en route to hospital.
In a bizarre twist, it has emerged that Parkhurst was behind the wheel of the hit-and-run of toddler Carolee Ashby that remained a mystery for 44 years.
It was only in 2013 that a tip led Parkhurst to confess he was driving the Buick that cut the little girl down on Halloween night in 1968, in Fulton, New York.
Following Parkhurst's death last week, Carolee's sister told the Portland Press-Herald that she was "relieved".
"I truly am. It feels it has made a full circle," said Darlene McCann, who was crossing the road with Carolee when the younger girl was fatally hit.
"The same thing that happened to my sister happened to him.
"He left us all these years with nothing, not even an 'I'm sorry'.
"Now it is time to move on."
Carol Sharrow has been in custody since she tried to flee the scene at Goodall Park last week after driving her sedan onto the field as little leaguers played their 9am game, speeding around the bases as children began to scream.
Maine Police charged Sharrow with manslaughter, and placed her in York County Jail in the Maine town of Alfred.
None of the young players were injured and Sanford Little League posted on Facebook its "heartfelt gratitude … and deep sorrow to the family of the brave man that gave his life tonight protecting others".
It has been revealed that Douglas Parkhurst joined the US air force eight months after the hit and run of Carolee Ashby and served in Vietnam as a cook.
Carolee Ashby flew 40m through the air after being struck crossing the street with sister Darlene after buying candles for the older girl's birthday in the small city of Fulton.
The driver of the 1962 Buick Special didn't stop, and police made no arrests.
In 2000, they reopened the cold case and in 2013 they found the abandoned remains of the car in a field at the house of Parkhurst's sister 25km away from where the girl died.
Parkhurst was never charged in the girl's death because the statute of limitations had expired, but signed a four-page confession.
"I know in my heart and I am 99.9 per cent sure I hit that little girl with my 1962 tan Buick Special," Parkhurst wrote
"I am oh so sorry. I can't change anything but I hope this apology will be accepted and I beg for forgiveness."
Witnesses of the Little League mow down claimed Carol Sharrow repeatedly rammed a set of closed gates to get out of the ballpark before trying another gate, where she fatally struck Parkhurst.
Sanford Police Detective Sgt. Matthew Jones said there was no connection between Sharrow and Parkhurst, other than "probably one of the most unusual set of circumstances that I've ever come across … the strangest I've seen."
Sharrow, who is being held on $500,000 bail, has two previous drink driving convictions.