by Carol Thompson
The cold case that has touched the community was solved with the confession of the driver who hit Carolee Sadie Ashby and drove away as she lay dying in the road on Halloween night in 1968.
For the family, the confession of 62-year-old Douglas Parkhurst does little to ease the pain of losing Carolee.
“If he apologized to me and I don’t even know how I would handle it,” Carolee’s mother Marlene Ashby said Wednesday.
Earlier that day, police issued a press release with the details of the accident as well as the identity of the driver.
For the Ashby family, the confession did not bring conclusion to 44 years of suffering — and the family isn’t convinced they know the entire story.
Parkhurst’s confession came following a Facebook post made by former Fulton Police Lieutenant Russ Johnson, who made an appeal for anyone with information to come forward. That led to a former Fulton resident, now living in Florida, to make contact and tell of how Parkhurst’s mother had asked her to provide an alibi for her son.
The family is angered that Parkhurst waited 44 years to confess and they believe he would have remained silent had the witness not come forward.
“If he’s done it (remained silent) for 44 years, I believe he would have went the rest of his life without coming forward,” said Darlene Ashby McCann, who was with Carolee the night she was struck and killed.
McCann, Carolee and a cousin were walking to the store to buy birthday candles for McCann’s birthday cake. The trio was on their way back home when the driver struck Carolee as she and McCann were crossing the street. The cousin had already crossed.
“It’s very cowardly,” McCann said of Parkhurst’s silence.
Ashby agreed. “He’s not 99 percent a coward — he’s 100 percent a coward,” she said, referring to what she said the police had told her about Parkhurst giving a 99.9-percent confession.
Frank McCann, son of Darlene McCann, said he wasn’t born when Carolee was killed, but he does know the suffering the family has endured over the years. He noted the holidays, especially his mother’s birthday, have been difficult.
“He’s taken away from the grandchildren everything he’s been able to enjoy,” he said.
Another grandchild, Amy Kush, said, “I’m happy we now know who was responsible but I feel there is still the unanswered question of why so many people hid this.”
She added, “It’s the beginning of the end of closure.”
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