Vehicular manslaughter suspect pleads not guilty

Dick Chappell, 83 of Los Gatos

The motorist suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol when he struck a man on a motorized scooter last fall pleaded not guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter Tuesday.

Dick Chappell, 83 of Los Gatos, entered the plea at South County Courthouse in Morgan Hill, according to South Santa Clara County supervising deputy District Attorney Steve Lowney. Chappell was formally arraigned before pleading not guilty to the crime, which carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison.

Chappell is charged with vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated due to the Oct. 23, 2011 traffic accident that killed San Jose resident Marschelle Syverson, 72, authorities said.

Syverson was riding a Segway motorized scooter through a crosswalk on Butterfield Boulevard at Jarvis Drive. Chappell was driving a vehicle through the intersection when he allegedly struck Syverson and the Segway, police said.

When officers arrived at the scene they found Syverson lying unconscious in the middle of the road, police said. He was transported to an area hospital where he died of injuries suffered in the accident.

Witnesses at the scene helped officers identify the suspect, who remained at the scene following the accident, police said. Chappell was arrested at the scene.

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