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Los Gatos Octogenarian Sentenced to 2 Years in Jail For Vehicular Manslaughter

Mandatory 18-month jail time will also be followed by six months of supervision by Parole Department, family of victim asks for longer sentence.

Los Gatos resident Dick Chappell, 84, was sentenced this month to two years in County Jail after pleading guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter in the Oct. 23, 2011 death of a San Jose man riding his Segway at a downtown Morgan Hill crosswalk.

He will have to serve 18 months of his jail term and then undergo six months of mandatory supervision by the Probation Department, said Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Steve Lowney.

Chappell's sentending took place on Sept. 17 at the South County Courthouse in Morgan Hill during a trial presided by Superior Court Judge Edward Lee. He was represented by attorney Jaime Leanos, who has not returned several calls seeking comment.

The defendant remained silent during sentencing, but the family of Marschelle Syverson, 72, of San Jose, the victim, spoke before the judge and those in the courtroom who wanted a lengthier jail sentence for Chappell.

They spoke at length about Syverson and his life and the severe impact the tragic death had caused them, both financially and emotionally, Lowney said.

The accident occurred at about 6:30 p.m. at the intersection of Butterfield Boulevard and Jarvis Drive, in Morgan Hill.

Chappell, driving a 1991 Lexus SUV, apparently ran the red light and struck Syverson while he was in the crosswalk riding the Segway, Lowney said.

Syverson, who was transported to San Jose Regional Medical Center, later succumbed to his injuries.

Chappell was found to be driving under the influence of alcohol and was arrested and booked on charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and felony DUI.

Syverson had worked at IBM and owned a high-tech business in Morgan Hill.

"It's a very difficult case. It's nearly impossible to come to a just result, but I thought the judge did a good job," Lowney said.

Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz September 28, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Nah, I doubt very much that he'll do all of his time.....
Larry Arzie September 29, 2012 at 10:23 PM
..........and he shouldn't. At his age a few glasses of wine along with his medications and old age infirmities becomes a social problem not a manslaughter term in jail. House arrest for two years and permanent removal of his license would be more like it. He is not a criminal and won't survive the jail system.
Muffie Dominick October 02, 2012 at 04:17 AM
Well......I understand it is not his first DUI ....... Nice guy, or not, he should not have been driving, and he needs to pay the price... Just think of you friends who might have been on that Segue..... I shudder!

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