Crime

Driver who struck, killed young newlyweds on sidewalk charged with murder

Matthew and Amelia Parkinson
Matthew and Amelia Parkinson

UPDATE:

A 37-year-old man has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of a young couple who he ran over on a Fruitland sidewalk on Jan. 24, according to Idaho State Police spokesman Tim Marsano.

Jason L. Verwer, most recently of Fruitland, was taken into custody at the scene.

Marsano said Verwer is being held at an undisclosed location. He would not say why the location is not being disclosed.

He declined to release any other information about the case Monday.

Here’s our story from last week:

They were married at the Payette County Courthouse in December.

Matthew Parkison, 22, and Amelia Parkinson, 17, were strolling hand-in-hand on a sidewalk in Fruitland on Wednesday afternoon when their future was taken from them, according to the Payette County coroner.

“She was wearing a shirt that said, ‘I love you to the moon and back,’ ” Coroner Keith Schuller said Friday morning. “Just the thought of those innocent young lives walking down the street holding hands ...”

What happened next shocked everyone who saw it. At about 3 p.m., a car veered off of northbound U.S. 95 and struck the Parkinsons on a sidewalk near Northwest Third Street in Fruitland. Both died at the scene.

The Ada County Coroner’s Office performed autopsies on the couple. The pathologist determined that the cause of death was lethal traumatic blunt force trauma.

A funeral service for friends and family has been set for 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 2, at Holy Apostles Catholic Church in Meridian. They have asked that the media respect their privacy. Accent Funeral Home in Meridian is handling funeral arrangements.

Schuller ruled their deaths homicides.

Idaho State Police spokesman Tim Marsano told the Statesman on Friday that initial indications are that the driver intentionally drove onto the sidewalk, but it’s not known why. The driver was identified as Jason L. Verwer, 37, of Fruitland. He is in custody and being held for a mental health evaluation at an undisclosed location.

A witness to the crash told the Statesman that Verwer fled on foot after the crash and was stopped by people in the area. He has not been charged and is still being evaluated, Schuller said Friday morning.

Authorities have not determined whether Verwer knew the Parkinsons.

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413, @KatyMoeller

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