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Charges filed in hit-and-run death of teenager in Milton

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on April 30, 2010 at 8:45 am with 8 Comments »
April 30, 2010 9:10 am
Kelsey Parrett/Photo courtesy Fife School District

Pierce County prosecutors filed charges today against a 47-year-old man accused of hitting and killing a teenage girl Wednesday night in Milton.

Robert V. Mitzel has been charged with vehicular homicide and failure to remain at the scene of an accident resulting in a death. He’s scheduled for a bail return hearing this afternoon in Pierce County Superior Court.

Kelsey Parrett, 15, was struck as she walked with a friend about 9 p.m. Wednesday on 15th Avenue in Milton. She died early Thursday of her injuries at Madigan Army Medical Center.

Charging documents provide the following information:

Parrett had been walking in the grassy shoulder; her friend in the bottom of a small ditch. Parrett was struck by the front passenger side of a GMC stepvan just north of Juniper Street.

The driver of the van continued for about a block, then stopped and walked back to the crash scene. He saw the friend kneeling over Parrett and asked if she was going to call 911. She did. The driver, later identified as Mitzel, got back in his van and drove to his home around the corner.

Investigators later found the van parked with the damaged passenger side against a retaining wall.

Sometime later, Mitzel walked by to the crash scene and identified himself to a Milton police officer. The friend also identified him as the driver of the van that hit Parrett.

The van that allegedly hit Parrett/Photo courtesy of WSP

Officers noted a strong odor of intoxicants coming from Mitzel. He was arrested in connection with the crash and a mandatory blood draw was conducted. The analysis of the blood work is pending.

A witness reported seeing the two girls walking northbound on 15th Avenue. She also spotted “erratic swerving of a vehicle in her rear view mirror.”

“She stated her initial fear was the young women may have been struck,” charging documents state. “She observed the vehicle swerve to the right shoulder, and then swerve sharply back towards the roadway, crossing the centerline in the process.”

Officers collected evidence from the right shoulder and northbound lane of 15th Avenue.

“The evidence included a scrape mark along the grass shoulder, orange marker lenses from the fleeing vehicle, white/silver paint chips, a backpack with fresh contact damage, a shoe and blood-stained grass,” charging documents state.

A detective noted “fresh contact damage” on Mitzel’s van before it was impounded.

During an interview with a detective, Mitzel said he and a friend had stopped by a Puyallup bar after work and he had one drink. The detective noted a strong odor of intoxicants from Mitzel’s breath, his bloodshot, watery eyes and slightly slurred speech.

Mitzel also told investigators “the kids along 15th Avenue are always jumping out in front of his van and that he has stopped often to warn them of the dangers of doing that,” charging documents state.

“He also stated that the collision was the fault of the girl for being in the road. When asked why the evidence pointed to her actually being on the grass shoulder, the defendant had no comment.”

Mitzel’s passenger was initially arrested in connection with the crash. He’s not been charged.

Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. pungentsound says:

    What a guy, he tries to make it sound like the poor kids fault. This happen all to often around here and there is no excuse for it. Drunk drivers and a lack of sidewalks is a bad combination.

  2. agreed, pungentsound…

    What a moron

    Even if Kelsey HAD “jumped out in front” of the van, that wouldn’t even begin to explain why the driver swerved towards the right side of the road and then back to the middle. Wouldn’t he have actually swerved left to try to avoid her in the road and then back to the right side?

    Not to mention that he shouldn’t have been driving fast enough in that area of town, to not be able to avoid people walking in the road, especially if he’s had issues with that previously….


  3. justcurious says:

    What a creep. People like this usually try to blame someone else for all of their mistake’s, but this takes the cake. It’s like a slap in the face to this poor family.

    IF he had been a) sober, 2) doing the speed limit (25mph) 3) paying attention, this unnecessary death would have never happened.

    My thoughts and prayers are with Keley’s family and friend’s.

  4. Headlines says:

    I’m disgusted at the fact he could have been in his house down the street from the vigil last night. And to blame Kelsey for jumping out in front of him is pathetic. I will continue to pray for her family, friends, our community. May justice be served.

  5. patriotman says:

    Let’s see now…..he got off work at ? time and only had one drink and now it’s……BALOGNA! If that’s the case every drinker would want to know the name of that bar so they could get drunk on 1 drink!

  6. RIPkelsey says:

    Kelsey Parrett was my best friend. it hurts so much that this could happen so shockingly and so soon without any goodbyes. This would have never happened if the guy would not have been speeding around the corner. This guy is an impolsive liar and if he wouldnt hvae drinken anything this night he would have stopped at the stop sign and never would have killed her. This should not have happened to her. She was the sweetest nicest girl, anyone could say this too. Considering around 400 people went to her memorial and over half the school could not stop crying. Kelsey I love you miss you dearly. Rest in peace. <3333333333333333333333333.

  7. Headlines says:

    I am glad justice will be served for the precious life that was taken too soon. Although, I went to the Pierce County Courthouse website and it says Robert V. Mitzel’s “Future Release Date/Time” is “04/30/10 22:00″. What the heck!!!! Does this mean he will be released at 10:00pm tonight!?!?!?!?!

    Read more:

  8. interWOLFone says:

    IMPO…DUI caused fatalities should be charged as murder.

    My deepest sympathy to Kelsey’s family, and her young friends.

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