Local woman charged for fatal hit-skip (Audio included)
2/22/2014 11:46:31 PM
By Bill Tipple
A local driver has been arrested for the hit-skip crash that killed Marine Gunnery Sergeant Monica Plank last weekend.
The Bellefontaine Police Department charged Holly Fowler, 26, of 5939 School Street, Urbana, with a third-degree felony count of failure to stop after an accident and a fifth-degree felony count of tampering with evidence.
Fowler was arrested Saturday night around eight o'clock.
Authorities met with Fowler at T-P Lanes, 300 East Lake Avenue, Saturday afternoon.
Initially, Fowler repeatedly denied being in the crash.
Fowler's car, a maroon Chevy Malibu LT, had damage on the passenger’s side consistent with the fatal accident.
Her car was impounded for further investigation (the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation will help process more evidence).
Fowler then agreed to come to the police department for a formal interview and interrogation.
During her interview, Fowler confessed that she struck Sergeant Plank.
Fowler admitted to drinking prior to the crash.
Investigators believe that she left T-P Lanes, then headed west on Lake Avenue and turned north onto Main Street.
The crash happened in the 900 block of South Main, just south of Michael's Pizza.
Mrs. Plank and her husband, Gunnery Sergeant Chris Plank, were walking from Route 68 Grill to the Comfort Inn. The couple and their five children were visiting family. Mr. Plank is from West Liberty.
The couple was walking in the outside northbound lane because sidewalks in the area were snow-covered and icy.
Officers believe that Mr. Plank was not struck because he was walking closer to the curb. He was walking 40-50 feet behind his wife.
Mrs. Plank was hit around 12:15 a.m. She was transported to Mary Rutan Hospital, then transferred to Grant Medical Center in Columbus. She passed away at 4:02 a.m.
Police Chief Brandon Standley said witness statements led officers to the bowling alley.
After reviewing security video from T-P Lanes, officers questioned Fowler and her boyfriend.
The boyfriend was not charged because he was not riding with Fowler during the hit-skip.
Chief Standley said, "We are relieved that we have been able to bring this case to some sort of closure for Mr. Plank and his family. We are grateful for the many motorists and citizens that have been a large part of this investigation. Our investigators have worked tirelessly to bring this case to a close, and we are confident that we have built a solid case. There is more work to be done, but we believe Mrs. Plank can now rest in peace."
Listen to Chief Standley recap the investigation.
The arrest happened on the same day that Sergeant Plank, 34, was laid to rest in Fairview Cemetery in West Liberty. She served our country for 16 1/2 years.