Created on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 Written by THE BELLEFONTAINE EXAMINER STAFF
A Logan County grand jury Tuesday failed to return a bill of vehicular homicide against Holly J. Fowler, 26, of Urbana, who was arrested Feb. 22 in connection with the Feb. 16 hit-skip death of Marine Gunnery Sgt. Monica Plank, 34, of Stafford, Va., in the 900 block of south Main Street.
Ms. Fowler was indicted Tuesday on third-degree felony charges of failure to stop and tampering with evidence. Each charge has the potential for up to 36 months in prison.
“We presented the whole case to the grand jury,” Logan County Prosecutor William T. Goslee said. “They opted not to indict on any of the forms of vehicular homicide.
“We wanted them to have an opportunity to look at the whole case so the public would know a group of their peers were looking at the same evidence we were looking at.”
Gunnery Sgt. Plank and her husband, Chris Plank, also a gunnery sergeant and a West Liberty native, had been with a group of people at 68 Grill, 1141 S. Main St. Mr. Plank had told Bellefontaine Police Department officers they had gotten into an argument and his wife had left on foot en route to the Comfort Inn, 260 Northview Drive.
The dark-haired woman was wearing a dark jacket and dark jeans and her blood alcohol level was 0.19, according to tests at Mary Rutan Hospital. She was walking northbound in the northbound lane of traffic, a violation of Ohio law, which requires a pedestrian to walk facing traffic when sidewalks are unavailable. The sidewalks in the area were heavily covered with snow and ice.
Security video from Grand Rental Station, 936 S. Main St., showed Mr. Plank about 30 feet behind his wife, who can be seen turning around and what appears to be yelling at him. As she did so, she began stepping further away from the curb and ultimately into the path of Ms. Fowler’s northbound car, which did not stop.
The grand jury could not find that Holly Fowler was at fault on vehicular homicide, Mr. Goslee said.
Prosecutors asked the police to recreate the incident and a video of the re-enactment was viewed by the grand jury. The grand jury also heard testimony from officers of witness statements.
“It was extremely difficult to see anyone walking on the road,” Mr. Goslee said.
The tampering with evidence charge stems from Ms. Fowler’s replacement of her vehicle’s windshield. It was recovered from a Columbus area business.
Testing revealed Gunnery Sgt. Plank’s DNA on the windshield and from the A-pillar of the car.
The prosecutor’s office said all three forms of vehicular homicide — that of driving drunk, driving recklessly and driving negligently — were presented to the grand jury.