Vehicular manslaughter, DUI suspect’s hearing postponed

Dick Chappell, 83 of Los Gatos

The motorist suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol when he struck a man who died as a result of the accident last fall was in court Tuesday, but his hearing was postponed. 

Dick Chappell, 83 of Los Gatos, will next appear at South County Courthouse in Morgan Hill April 5 to discuss a negotiated resolution to the felony charge of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, according to South County supervising deputy district attorney Steve Lowney. 

Chappell is charged with the crime due to his involvement in 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.

Chappell pleaded not guilty to the charge Jan. 3. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison. 

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