WEST JORDAN, Utah — The victim of a fatal hit-and-run in West Jordan on Tuesday has been identified by police as 13-year-old Eli Mitchell, a West Jordan Middle School student.
The man accused of killing Mitchell with his pickup truck has an extensive record of driving violations, including driving under the influence.
Court records obtained by FOX 13 News show 50-year-old Mason Andrews Ohms had 12 alcohol-related incidents related to a moving vehicle on his record.
Mitchell's family released a statement about the boy who was killed riding his bicycle home from the grocery store.
"Eli was a kind, loving, jovial and friendly young man who had many friends. At the time of his death, he was doing two of his favorite things: riding his bicycle and having treats.
"While grieving, the family takes comfort in knowing that we all see Eli again. Eli was a person of great faith for his age. Hopefully others will benefit from this tragedy as Eli was an organ donor."
The family said Eli was an avid reader and loved outdoor activities such as snowboarding, camping and riding ATV's.
His parents, Jeremy and Lisa Mitchell, thanked all those who helped Eli after he was hit.
"We will be forever grateful to the many unknown individuals who tried to assist him and recognize this likely had an impact on them. We also express appreciation for the great outpouring of support and sympathy from the community."
In the probable cause affidavit released following Tuesday's incident, an officer wrote they could "smell the distinct and overwhelming odor of an alcoholic beverage" coming from Ohms' mouth before he was taken into custody.
Ohms' wife told police her husband "didn't sound like himself" when she called him after officers arrived at their home. Upon arriving at the house, Ohms allegedly told his wife that "something bad happened," according to the affidavit.
Records show Ohms' earliest incident with police came in 1994, with the most recent coming in 2009. The alleged charges include:
- Several counts of DUI
- Driving with an open container
- Not wearing a seatbelt
- Driving through a barricade
- Drinking alcohol as a passenger
- No valid driver's license
- Failing to register a vehicle
- Running a red light
- No insurance
- Failure to use turn signals
Between 2009 and the present, Ohms had no alcohol-related citations, but was stopped for several speeding violations, including speeding in a school zone.
The teen was crossing 9000 South in a marked crosswalk when the pickup truck hit the boy while turning right from southbound 1510 West onto westbound 9000 South. Ohms then sped off, police say.
A U.S. Army staff sergeant was on his way home from the West Jordan Recruiting Station when he was stopped at the intersection and watched the hit-and-run take place. That man then ran to Eli and performed CPR until responders arrived.
“We offered as much help as we could. Unfortunately, sometimes that’s not enough,” said Sergeant First Class Randall Allred, speaking on behalf of the staff sergeants who witnessed the tragedy.
Witness Anibal Roman also pulled over to help after seeing another man tending to Mitchell on the side of the road. Eli was later pronounced dead at Intermountain Medical Center.
Video shot by Roman shows Ohms' truck driving away from the scene dragging a bicycle underneath.
Allred said another staff sergeant watched the truck drive into the West Jordan Army Recruiting Station’s parking lot to get rid of the bike.
Along with the video, Roman was also able to see the truck's license plate, which helped police identify and locate Ohms.
“We saw him remove the bicycle and one of my other recruiters followed the individual, calling the police and giving the description of the vehicle and license plate and trying to follow him,” he said.
"The witnesses in this actually broke the case for us," said Ofc. Samuel Winkler with the West Jordan Police Department.
Roman wants the video he shot to be an example that if someone sees something, they can make a difference.
"If it were to happen again, I'd do it again," said Roman. "It was a human in need, and regardless of the situation, I needed to be there."
U.S. Army recruiters returned to the intersection Wednesday morning, bringing balloons and candles to start a memorial for the boy. Since then, Eli’s friends and other members of the community stopped by to bring flowers and remember the middle schooler.
“I originally grew up here. I walked on these streets and now my children are here,” said Allred. “So all of us have been doing this internal self-rection of, ‘What if it was me? What if it was my child?’”
West Jordan Middle Administration and Staff sent a letter out to families on Wednesday, sharing the news and offering resources for students in need of support.
“Eli is a beloved member of our school and will be dearly missed,” the statement said. “Our hearts are with Eli’s family, friends, and loved ones at this difficult time … Eli will always be a part of our school family. Please know that our school family is always here to support you and your family, especially during this difficult time.”