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SALT LAKE CITY — A suspected drunk driver who police say hit and killed and 13-year-old on a bicycle now faces criminal charges.
Mason Andrew Ohms, 50, of Saratoga Springs, was charged Wednesday in 3rd District Court with automobile homicide, a second-degree felony; leaving the scene of an accident involving death and obstructing justice, third-degree felonies; and failing to yield to a person in a crosswalk, an infraction.
On April 26, about 6 p.m., Ohms was driving a 2007 Chevy Silverado when he hit Eli Mitchell, 13, of West Jordan, who was on his bicycle in a crosswalk at 1510 W. 9000 South, according to charging documents.
Eli, a student at West Jordan Middle School, was riding home from the grocery store, when Ohms — who was waiting at a red light to make a right turn — "accelerated hard into his right turn, hitting (Eli) just as he entered the crosswalk," the charges state.
Both the front and back tires of the truck went over Eli, according to the charges. Police said Ohms continued to drive away with the bike wedged under his vehicle. He never hit his brakes after hitting Eli, the charges state, and then did a U-turn in the street and drove past others who were administering help to Eli, and kept driving.
Ohms drove to the parking lot of a nearby business, got out and pulled the bicycle out from under his truck before driving off again, according to the charges.
Witnesses who followed the truck provided police with cellphone video and photos of the vehicle, including its license plate. Using that information, police went to Ohms' home in Saratoga Springs, where he was taken into custody about 2 1/2 hours after the crash.
Detectives retracing Ohms' steps learned that he had entered a nearby bar at 12:44 p.m. and wasn't seen leaving until two minutes before the crash, the charges state. Police also learned that Ohms consumed seven 20-ounce beers during that time, ordering his last one at 5:18 p.m., according to charging documents.
When police arrived at Ohms' house, he was not home. His wife called him and asked where he was and told him that police were there to talk to him. Moments later, Ohms walked up to his house, stating he had parked his truck down the street. Police told him they wanted to talk to him about a hit-and-run incident, to which Ohms spontaneously stated, "I felt a bump and did not know what it was," according to the charges.
The officers could "smell the distinct and overwhelming odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from Mason's mouth" and noted that the "odor of an alcoholic beverage was so strong on his breath" that it could be smelled simply when Ohms was breathing, according to a police booking affidavit.
A preliminary test measured Ohms' blood-alcohol content at 0.10%, or twice the legal limit in Utah. The test was conducted about six hours after the crash. A second blood draw an hour after the first, measured his blood-alcohol content at 0.08%, which is still above the legal limit of 0.05%.
According to court records, Ohms has four prior convictions of driving under the influence. He was convicted of DUI in 1996, twice in 1997 and 2003. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years of probation following his 2003 conviction, according to court records. He was convicted of violating alcohol restrictions while driving in 2010, and simple assault and impersonating a police officer in 2006.