Police arrest suspect in Sgt. Plank's death



An Urbana woman described as an avid bowler, was arrested Saturday and charged in the hit-and-run pedestrian crash that killed Marine Gunnery Sgt. Monica Plank.

Holly J. Fowler, 26, of 5939 School St., was charged with a third-degree felony count of leaving the scene of a crash that resulted in the death of another and a felony count of tampering with evidence.

Her car, a maroon Chevrolet Malibu LT, was impounded after officers of the Bellefontaine Police Department met with her at TP Lanes, 300 E. Lake Ave., around 4:45 p.m.

At that time, she repeatedly denied any knowledge of the crash even though officers and detectives observed damage to the passenger side of her car that was consistent with the fatal collision Feb. 16.

It was about an hour and half later that the suspect came into the office, met with detectives and finally admitted to driving the car and hitting the 16 1/2-year Marine.

She told officers she was alone and admitted she had drunk beer prior to driving. Investigators are not yet able to say how many drinks she consumed prior to leaving the bowling alley.

Agents with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation processed the suspect’s car over the weekend, Police Chief Brandon Standley reported today.

Detectives also are looking at whether or not the defendant was distracted at the time of the fatal collision.

Police are referring the case to the Logan County Prosecutor’s Office.

The arrest came on the same day Gunnery Sgt. Plank was laid to rest in Fairview Cemetery, West Liberty.

Chief Standley said the victim’s husband, Gunnery Sgt. Chris Plank, was aware of the arrest in the case.

The Planks were on leave with her three children and his two, visiting his family in the area.

They had been at 68 Grill, 1141 S. Main St., and she walked off, declining an offer of a ride from another person in their party.

Chris Plank paid his bill and followed after her.

She was walking northbound in the roadway because sidewalks were piled deep with snow and ice. Her husband was 10 to 20 yards behind her.

Investigators believe she was further out in the curb lane than her husband.

At about 12:16 a.m., she was struck by the suspect’s northbound car.

She was transported to Mary Rutan Hospital and later flown to Grant Medical Center in Columbus where she died from her injuries.

Chief Standley said witness statements led investigators to the bowling alley and officers confronted her Saturday after viewing security video inside the business.

“We knew based on witness accounts and the timing of events that the vehicle we were looking for most likely came from the east,” Chief Standley said. “We were able to review the security video and identify the suspect and her boyfriend.”

Investigators spoke with the man and determined he was not in the car at the time of the fatal collision.