FULTON, NY -Oswego County resident Douglas Parkhurst age 62 has been identified as the operator of a 1962 tan Buick Special that struck 4 year old Carolee Ashby Halloween night 1968. Ashby was struck as she crossed, what is now known as State Route 481 at Division Street in the City of Fulton, with her sister and cousin. Due to the expiration of the Statute of Limitations no charges will be filed in this matter. The following is an overview of events surrounding the accident.
On October 31, 1968 around 6:30 p.m. 4-year-old Carolee Ashby was crossing, what was then referred to as the North South Arterial (now known as State Route 481) near Division Street in the City of Fulton, with her sister and cousin. While crossing the street Carolee was struck by a passing vehicle as it traveled North through the City. Carolee later died from the injuries she received during the accident. At that time the Fulton Police Department followed hundreds of leads over the course of the next several years, but were unable to identify the vehicle or operator responsible in Carolee’s death. Eventually all leads were exhausted and the case went cold.
In 2000 former Fulton Police Chief Mark Spawn brought this case back to the public’s attention in an effort to generate new leads which could help to identity the person responsible for this tragic incident. Though, the statute of limitations had expired and prosecution of the party responsible was no longer an option, it has always been the Fulton Police Departments intent to try to bring some closure and understanding to the family of Carolee Ashby as well as exonerate anyone who may have been suspected as having been involved in this incident. Again leads were generated but nothing led to the identification of the person responsible. Many members of the Fulton Police Department reviewed the case over the next 12 years and various leads were followed up with negative results.
In 2012 The Fulton Police Department was given a lead generated from a Facebook posting placed on a Fulton History Facebook page by a retired Fulton Police Department Lieutenant Russ Johnson. A witness, now living in Florida, came forward stating she was approached by a member of the Parkhurst family soon after the accident in 1968. According to the witness she was asked to say she was with Douglas Parkhurst and his brother on Halloween night. The witness refused and was never told why they wanted her to say this, but she assumed it had to do with the accident. Members of the Fulton Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID) followed up on this lead and even though the lead could not be confirmed it led investigators to focus on Douglas Parkhurst as the person who may be responsible for Carolee Ashby’s death.
Parkhurst was initially interviewed in 1968 as it had been reported to police that he had been in an accident on the night in question with his 1962 tan Buick special. Parkhurst denied involvement confirming he had been in an accident, but that it had occurred in Volney, NY where he stated he hit a guard post. Police noted at that time they did not believe the accident occurred as it was reported by Parkhurst, as the damage to his vehicle was not consistent with an impact with a guard post; however no subsequent interviews were done with Parkhurst.
Fulton Police CID members interviewed all remaining persons who may have had information regarding Parkhurst’s possible involvement including retired members of the Fulton Police Department who worked the case in 1968. All of Parkhurst’s family members were interviewed and CID members were eventually able to locate the vehicle Parkhurst was driving the night of the accident abandoned in a field that belongs to a relative. Parkhurst was subsequently interviewed multiple times and confronted with the known facts surrounding the case. During these interviews Parkhurst admitted to consuming alcohol prior to driving through the City of Fulton on October 31, 1968. 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. Parkhurst stated he did not see what he hit, and never stopped to see what he hit at the time of the accident. Parkhurst further confirmed he mislead police when questioned about the accident in 1968.
Members of the Fulton Police Department have met with members of the Ashby family advising them of the findings in this case. Fulton Police Chief Orlo Green would like to thank retired Police Lieutenant Russ Johnson and Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oaks for their assistance and especially acknowledge the outstanding work of the Fulton Police Departments Criminal Investigations Division whose efforts were instrumental in solving this very tragic decades old case.