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He confessed to a 1968 hit-and-run, then died Friday saving kids from a car in a park, cops say

Douglas Parkhurst, 68, died Friday when Carol Sharrow, 51, drove her car onto a Sanford, Maine, ball field during a youth baseball game, police say. In 2013, Parkhurst had confessed to a fatal hit-and-run involving a 4-year-old girl in 1968.
Douglas Parkhurst, 68, died Friday when Carol Sharrow, 51, drove her car onto a Sanford, Maine, ball field during a youth baseball game, police say. In 2013, Parkhurst had confessed to a fatal hit-and-run involving a 4-year-old girl in 1968. WMTW

In 2013, Douglas Parkhurst confessed to a 44-year-old hit-and-run case in New York that killed a 4-year-old girl walking with her older sister on Halloween.

Parkhurst told police he was behind the wheel after a night of drinking with his brother when his car hit Carolee Ashby, who was thrown 133 feet, in Fulton, N.Y., in 1968, reported The Press Herald in Portland, Maine.

On Friday, Parkhurst, 68, died after being struck by a car driven by Carol Sharrow, 51, onto a Sanford, Maine, ball field during a Babe Ruth youth baseball game, police reported on Facebook.

Some witnesses said Parkhurst was hit after pushing children out of the way of the oncoming car, reported WCSH.

Police said there was no connection between Parkhurst’s death and the 1968 hit-and-run, but investigators in the earlier case found the incident ironic, reported The Press Herald.

“God works in mysterious ways,” Russ Johnson, a retired Fulton, N.Y., police detective, told the publication.

Sharrow drove her car onto the ball field at 7:09 p.m., Sanford police reported on Facebook. “Bystanders and ballplayers scattered to avoid the vehicle as it drove erratically on the ball field,” officers wrote. A video shows the car skidding around the bases.

Players were on the field at the time and the stands held 200 to 300 spectators, reported WGME.

Sharrow crashed into a closed gate, then sped toward the park’s front gate, where she hit and killed Parkhurst, police reported on Facebook.

"I saw the car pull out of the gate right over there, and this guy had some kids with him,” witness Justin Clifton told WCSH. “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."

Parkhurst reportedly also tried to close a gate to prevent Sharrow from fleeing the park, WMTW reported.

Police arrested Sharrow on suspicion of manslaughter, Sanford officers wrote on Facebook. An investigation into the incident continues.

On its own Facebook, page, the Sanford Maine Little League organization expressed sorrow at the incident.

“We want to share our heartfelt gratitude that physically all of the players from Babe Ruth and Little League are safe and our deep sorrow to the family of the brave man that gave his life tonight protecting others,” read the post.

Parkhurst had confessed to the 1968 hit-and-run after being interviewed by two investigators looking into the 44-year-old crime in 2013, reported The Press Herald.

After a series of newspaper stories reignited interest in the unsolved case, police discovered Parkhurst had originally been a suspect but had claimed damage to his car was caused by hitting a concrete post, according to the publication. Police did not follow up at the time.

Following the 2013 interview with detectives, Parkhurst — whom officers said was aware that he could not be charged because the statute of limitations had expired in the case — then went to police and signed a four-page written confession.

“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.

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