Woman pleads to reckless operation in fatal crash


A Delaware woman involved in a fatal crash last year has pleaded no contest to a charge of reckless operation in Delaware Municipal Court.

Marilyn Fowler, 60, of 33 Downing Road, was charged in connection with the death last summer of Keith Estep, 29, of 16 Hedgerow Lane, Delaware.

Fowler had entered a not-guilty plea to one charge of vehicular manslaughter, a second-degree misdemeanor, and a right of way violation, a minor misdemeanor, at her arraignment on Oct. 9.

She was scheduled for a jury trial on Tuesday but she made a deal with prosecutors last Friday and the vehicular manslaughter charge was dropped. In exchange, she entered a no-contest plea to a charge of reckless operation and pleaded guilty to the right of way violation.

A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for March 3 at 3 p.m. A pre-sentence investigation was ordered.

She has not been incarcerated and was released on a recognizance bond after her arraignment.

The charges stem from an Aug. 4 traffic crash on London Road.

Judge David Sunderman told Fowler at her arraignment that she could be sentenced to jail time, a fine or a license suspension.

Prosecutors said Fowler has 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 55 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 minor injuries. Her car was reportedly disabled in the crash.

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


By Glenn Battishill

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

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