Eli Mitchell, 13, was riding his bicycle on a pedestrian crossing when he was struck and killed by a man who then drove off. The driver, identified by police as Mason Andrew Ohms, 50, was charged on Wednesday. (Western Jordan Police Department)
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SALT LAKE CITY — A 13-year-old suspected drunk driver who police say was struck and killed on a bicycle is now facing criminal charges.
Mason Andrew Ohms, 50, of Saratoga Springs, was charged in 3rd District Court on Wednesday with auto homicide, a second-degree felony; leaving the scene of a fatal accident and obstruction of justice, third degree crimes; and failing to yield to a person in a crosswalk, an offence.
At around 6 p.m. on April 26, Ohms was driving a 2007 Chevy Silverado when he hit 13-year-old Eli Mitchell of West Jordan, who was on his bike in a crosswalk at 1510 W. 9000 South, according to court documents. ‘charge.
Eli, a student at West Jordan Middle School, was on his way home from grocery shopping, when Ohms – who was waiting at a red light to turn right – “accelerated hard on his right turn, hitting (Eli) just as he entered the crosswalk,” the charges state.
The truck’s front and rear tires went through Eli, the charges allege. Police said Ohms continued to drive away with the bike wedged under his vehicle. He never braked after hitting Eli, according to the charges, then turned around on the street and passed other people who were helping Eli and continued driving.
Ohms drove to the parking lot of a nearby business, got out and pulled the bike out from under his truck before driving off, according to the charges.
Witnesses who followed the truck provided police with cellphone video and photos of the vehicle, including its license plate. Using this information, police attended Ohms’ home in Saratoga Springs, where he was arrested approximately 2½ hours after the crash.
Detectives tracing Ohms learned he entered a nearby bar at 12:44 p.m. and was not seen leaving until two minutes before the crash, according to the charges. Police also learned that Ohms had consumed seven 20-ounce beers during that time, ordering his last at 5:18 p.m., according to the charging documents.
When police arrived at Ohms’ home, he was not at home. His wife called him and asked him where he was and told him the police were there to talk to him. Moments later, Ohms walked to his house, stating that he had parked his truck on the street. Police told him they wanted to talk to him about a hit-and-run, to which Ohms spontaneously said, “I felt a bump and I didn’t know what it was,” according to the charges.
Officers could “smell the distinct, overpowering odor of alcoholic beverage coming from Mason’s mouth” and noted that “the odor of alcoholic beverage was so strong on his breath” that it could be simply smelled when Ohms was breathing, according to a police reserving affidavit.
A preliminary test measured Ohm’s blood alcohol level at 0.10%, double the legal limit in Utah. The test was carried out approximately six hours after the accident. A second blood test an hour after the first, measured his blood alcohol level at 0.08%, which is still above the legal limit of 0.05%.
According to court records, Ohms has four prior convictions for driving under the influence. He was convicted of DUI in 1996, twice in 1997 and 2003. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years probation after his 2003 conviction, court records show. He was convicted of violating drink-driving restrictions in 2010, and common assault and impersonating a police officer in 2006.