Delaware woman pleads not guilty to vehicular manslaughter


A Delaware woman pleaded not guilty Friday morning to vehicular manslaughter in connection with an August crash that killed a Delaware motorcyclist.

Marilyn Fowler, 60, of 33 Downing Road, appeared in Delaware Municipal Court Friday morning before Judge David Sunderman to face one charge of vehicular manslaughter, a second-degree misdemeanor, and a right of way violation, a minor misdemeanor.

The charges stem from an Aug. 4 crash on London Road that killed Keith Estep, 29, of 16 Hedgerow Lane.

Fowler entered a plea of not guilty and asked Sunderman to appoint a public defender to advise her on the case, because she is unemployed and cannot afford one. Sunderman said a preliminary hearing will be scheduled after she has met with an attorney.

Sunderman said Fowler could be sentenced to jail time, a fine or a license suspension.

Prosecutors said Fowler had been cooperating in the investigation of the crash.

Police said Estep was traveling east on London Road near South Washington Street about 3:50 p.m. Aug. 4 at an estimated speed of about 50 mph. Estep was operating a yellow 2003 Suzuki motorcycle. The speed limit is 35 mph on that stretch of road.

A police crash report indicates that Fowler was stopped while traveling west on London Road and was preparing to make a left turn into a private driveway. The report says Fowler started her left turn in Estep’s path and Estep could not stop in time.

Estep reportedly hit Fowler’s Gray 2005 Mercury Mariner on the side.

Police and rescue units arrived minutes later and Estep was transported by Delaware paramedics to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead from his injuries.

Fowler reportedly sustained non-incapacitating injuries. Her car was reportedly disabled in the crash.

Drugs and alcohol were not believed to be a factor in the crash and Fowler said she was not distracted when she made the turn, police say.

No other vehicles or persons were involved in the crash, the report says.

Estep Facebook photo

Fowler in Delaware Municipal Court on Friday. in Delaware Municipal Court on Friday. Glenn Battishill | The Gazette

By Glenn Battishill

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Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

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