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.
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.