SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

March 21, 2014

Peabody drunken driver facing up to 3 years in prison for fatal crash

(Continued)

"Those people have to be held accountable,” said Kennedy. “Mr. Fowler has been incredibly cooperative with us. We have nothing to offer him.”

Zerola, Fowler’s attorney, said he has wanted to take responsibility since the day he was arraigned.

"If he could have plead guilty the day he was arraigned, he would have,” said Zerola. “He wants to take responsibility. The first day he was in court he wanted to speak to the Walker family and apologize. Words just can’t explain the hurt and remorse he feels. He loved Danny like a brother.”

Fowler told the judge he still has nightmares and flashbacks about what he saw that night. He explained his decision to run: “My wife was having a baby,” he said. “Clearly I must have been out of my mind. I don’t know what happened. I saw him and he was in so much pain, it was just ... I’m sorry.”

Whitehead said Fowler’s apology and remorse seem sincere. But he also took into account Fowler’s decision to flee, his prior drunken driving arrest, and finally, Fowler’s age — “old enough to know better,” said the judge.

"His wife was about to have a baby and he’s out hanging out at bars,” said the judge. “I do think a state prison sentence is appropriate.”

Whitehead said that following the prison term, Fowler will be on probation for five years, with conditions that include community service. The judge said he wants Fowler to speak to high school students about the dangers of drinking and driving.

Fowler will also lose his license for the rest of his life.

The judge agreed to delay formal sentencing until April 29, to allow Fowler time to make arrangements for child care. While out on bail and on house arrest while awaiting trial, he’s been the primary caretaker of the baby, while his wife works three jobs to support them.

The judge warned that if he gets into trouble or fails to appear, he faces up to 45 years in prison.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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