Carol Sharrow of Sanford enters a courtroom at York County Superior Court in Alfred on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. Sharrow is charged with the hit-and-run death of Douglas Parkhurst after she drove her car on to a baseball field in Sanford last June while a Babe Ruth League game was in progress. GREGORY REC/Portland Press Herald

ALFRED — Carol Sharrow, the 52-year-old Sanford woman who drove her Honda onto a ballfield during a Babe Ruth baseball game in June and hit Douglas Parkhurst on her way out was found not criminally responsible for his death during a hearing Tuesday at York County Superior Court.

Justice John O’Neil ordered Sharrow committed to River Psychiatric Center in Augusta, in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, for an indefinite period.

“I suspect many will leave (the courtroom) feeling justice was not accomplished,” O’Neil said to Parkhurst’s family members and others present after announcing his finding. But, he said, the court is required to examine the evidence — which he said established there was no criminal responsibility.

Douglas Parkhurst of West Newfield was hit and killed by Carol Sharrow of Sanford as she was driving off a Sanford ballfield on June 1. A York County Superior Court judge found Sharrow not criminally responsible for his death on Tuesday. COURTESY PHOTO

Sharrow had entered the ballpark through a pedestrian gate and drove around the field before making her way to the exit. Parkhurst, 68, had been at Goodall Park to watch his grandson play ball that Friday night on the first day of June and was at the exit when Sharrow’s car hit him on her way off the field. She kept on driving. He died on the way to the hospital.

According to Maine statutes, “a defendant is not criminally responsible by reason of insanity if, at the time of the criminal conduct, as a result of mental disease or defect, the defendant lacked substantial capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of the criminal conduct.”

Forensic psychologist Dr. Andrew Wisch said when he first saw Sharrow in early July at Riverview Psychiatric Center, she was experiencing what he described as a classic manic episode, and after reviewing various  records and reports, said she had been so since the time of the June 1 incident.

“She was acutely psychiatrically ill,” he said.

He said Sharrow has bipolar 1 disorder with psychotic features. He said when he first met her, she was delusional, had disorganized thinking and other behavior consistent with the diagnosis. He said that had improved by his second visit in September.

He said Sharrow’s mental illness is well documented and noted hospitalizations as far back as 1987. He said there appeared to have been what he described as a lengthy remission, but then her symptoms re-emerged in the late 1990s and there had been a number of hospitalization over the past 10 years.

He said when he next saw Sharrow at the end of September, she was no longer manic.

“The transformation was striking,” he said.

Wisch said Sharrow’s memory of events on the evening of  June 1 is fragmented. He said she remembers being on the ballfield and knowing that she needed to get off the field. He said she remembers hitting the fence, but that she didn’t remember hitting Parkhurst. Wisch said Sharrow doesn’t know why she drove on the field.

“She was aghast at what she had done” when her mental health had improved, Wisch said.

O’Neil found Sharrow not criminally responsible on a charge of manslaughter and 11 counts of reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon. Charges of elevated aggravated assault, driving to endanger and leaving the scene of an accident were dismissed.

Sharrow, wearing a black and white blouse, black pants and a black sweater, answered clearly “yes, your honor,” when asked if she understood the proceedings, and if she waived her right to a trial.

Forensic psychologist Dr. Charles Robinson said he agrees with Wisch’s diagnosis.

“I believe she was acutely psychotic at the time of events and for an inordinate amount of time afterward,” said Robinson, who saw Sharrow on six occasions.

Douglas Parkhurst’s family members declined to address the court during the hearing and declined comment afterward.

According to the Portland Press Herald, Parkhurst confessed in 2013 to an unsolved hit-and-run death of a 4-year-old girl in Fulton, New York, in 1968, when he was 18.

He was a Vietnam War veteran and a grandfather and had moved to West Newfield about six years ago.
— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 780-9016 or [email protected]

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