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Community pays tribute one year after death of 13-year-old Eli Mitchell

By Chris Arnold

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    WEST JORDAN, Utah (KSTU) — It has been exactly one year since a 13-year-old West Jordan boy was hit and killed by a drunk driver.

Even a year later, Lisa Mitchell can’t help but smile when talking about her son, Eli.

“He is an awesome soul, he kind of came out of the womb that way,” said Mitchell. “He was also amazing at making friends.”

Mitchell described her 13-year-old son as wise beyond his years.

“Even at a young age, he would say something and I’m like where did this come from,” said Mitchell.

It was around 6 p.m. on April 26, 2022, that Eli was riding his bike near 1510 West and 9000 South in West Jordan when he was hit while in a crosswalk by a drunk driver.

“Me, Emma and Jeremy had no idea what was going on while this was all happening, we just kept getting texts to stay off 90th,” said Mitchell.

Back near what Mitchell affectionately calls ‘Eli’s Corner’, the Mitchell family, friends, law enforcement officials and others gathered to commemorate Eli’s life.

The event, which the family called ‘Eli’s Angel Day’ included music and speakers, even one of Eli’s friends who read an essay he wrote about him and the tragedy that took place.

“It’s difficult, he was young, he had a lot of her energy, his whole life was before him and to have that cut short, there is nothing we can do now, we can do things to help prevent that from happening to others,” said Dirk Burton, Mayor of West Jordan.

It’s a tragedy many have worked to turn into a triumph.

Utah State Representative Ken Ivory, who represents District 39, has worked with the Mitchell family in getting HB 247 passed during the most recent legislative session.

The bill, Rep. Ivory says, helps clarify the definition of overserving alcohol at Utah bars. This comes after he says the man arrested for hitting and killing Eli, Mason Ohms, left a nearby bar and drove while four times over the legal limit.

“We specified in legislation that if there is an injury from overservice at a bar, they have to retain the records,” said Rep. Ivory. “The third thing it did is it spelled out very clearly what someone that was injured in a tragedy like this would have to do to have their day in court.”

As stories were told and tears were shed, Mitchell spoke about the impact she hopes her son will continue to have on others.

“I hope that his impact is don’t drink and drive and I hope that it is also to live like he did, and those of us who knew him, knew how he lived, but he lived big,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell told FOX 13 News on Wednesday that her family passes the corner where Eli was hit and killed multiple times a day. She says sometimes they stop, sometimes they pass by and say “Love you Eli.”

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