On May 19, 2023, Marissa Chon was doing what many college students do on a Friday night – drinking alcohol with friends. She was with her then-boyfriend, Elijah J. Schoffstall, a Carthage soccer player. At about 2:21 am, the two were involved in a serious car wreck at Carthage College, a school where they both attended. Both were severely injured and were lucky to survive. Police and bystanders quickly arrived at the scene of the crash to render aid.
Schoffstall was lying on the ground when police arrived and was quick to blame his girlfriend, Chon as being the driver of the vehicle. Two women, who were on the scene when police arrived, were not involved, but stopped to help. They told police that Marissa admitted to being the driver of the car, however, her acknowledgment was only a head-nod, not a verbal admission. Unknown to anyone at the time, Marissa had suffered a severe concussion and broken jaw. She did not remember who was driving, but told police that usually no one else drives her car. She didn’t even remember who was inside the car when it crashed. Both her and her boyfriend appeared intoxicated to police.
One Kenosha Police Officer did however note that the seat of the Honda Civic was all the way back. Chon is very short and Schoffstall was very tall. Schoffstall was in possession of a fake ID.
Based on Eli Schoffstall’s statement that Chon was driving, and her admissions to two witnesses, she was arrested and charged with a serious felony called “Injury by Intoxicated Use of A Vehicle.” She was facing 12.5 years being bars in a Wisconsin prison, Chon stuck to her original story that she was not driving. Her story never changed.
Police noticed that there were spots of blood on both the driver’s side and passengers’ side airbags. The detective collected the driver’s side airbag and swabbed the blood from the passenger side airbag.
Chon and her family hired prominent Racine criminal defense attorney Mark Richards and he got to work. Richards noticed the Kenosha Police officer who said on his body-worn-camera something to the effect of “there is no way she was driving, look how far back the seat is” He also noticed that police took the blood from the airbags. At great cost to Chon and her family, Richards sent the airbags to be tested for DNA.
The results were remarkable. Chon’s blood was on the passenger’s’ side airbag and Schoffstall’s DNA was on the driver’s side airbag. The evidence is almost 100% conclusive that Schoffstall was driving, and thus lied to police and threw his girlfriend under the bus. The Kenosha DA’s office dismissed charges against Marissa Chon.
KCE spoke with Chon’s mother Kirsten, who said that Marissa was and is very traumatized by this entire ordeal. She wishes that the DA’s office would have waited to charge her daughter until all of the evidence was back. Kirsten is furious that Schoffstall lied to the police and let Marissa take the fall. Kirsten was upset that police didn’t let Marissa call her family after the crash. She also said that the Kenosha DA appears to be “trying to sweep this under the rug,” as the real drunk driver hasn’t been arrested or charged.
Chon and her mother are both very thankful that Attorney Richards was able to exonerate Marissa and think if they didn’t hire him, that might not have occurred.
KCE spoke with Kenosha County DA Mike Graveley who couldn’t comment on specifics, but did tell us that the case was still under review by its office. KCE does have knowledge that medical blood draws require extra time to be used in court for prosecution, so it doesn’t immediately appear that the DA’s office is doing anything unusual.
If and when Schoffstall is charged, you’ll read it first here, on KCE.
Chon’s family told KCE that she has always been an honor student, from early school years through college. She loves the outdoors and staying active. She enjoys cross country and soccer.
If you’re interested in helping this couch student, here is a link where you can chip in five bucks or more.