Mason Ohms, a 50-year-old man from Utah, pleaded guilty to automobile homicide and failure to remain at the scene of an accident this year and is now facing up to 20 years in prison.
According to Salt Lake County court records, Ohms had been drinking approximately 140 ounces of beer at a bar before getting into his truck and fatally striking and killing 13-year-old Eli Mitchell, who had been riding his bicycle home from the grocery store, on April 26, 2022.
Jeremy Mitchell, Eli’s father, said in a witness statement read on Monday during Ohms’ sentencing, “My only son and best friend was tragically taken from me due to many poor decisions and criminal actions due to Mason Ohms.”
After accelerating at a stoplight and crashing into Eli, Ohms drove away from the scene with the boy’s bike dragging beneath his truck. He eventually pulled into a parking lot, removed the bike from his truck, and drove away once again.
West Jordan Police Department officers arrested Ohms later that day. Glendon Mitchell, Eli’s grandfather, said in a Monday witness statement, “He had no soul at that moment… He simply stared down at the helpless body in the street and looked blankly at strangers helping Eli.”
During the court hearing, Ohms, who has four prior drunk driving convictions dating back to 1994, apologized for his actions, saying, “I never intended for any of this to happen. I’m devastated by what has happened. I sincerely apologize.”
Eli was remembered in his obituary as a kind, fun-loving young man who had many friends and loved outdoor activities. His family wrote, “He was sensitive yet bold, respectful yet not passive, organized and playful.”
The Utah Department of Public Safety also noted in December 2022 that 34% of all fatal roadway incidents last year were related to drunk driving.