Alleged drunken driver charged in fatal crash in Peabody

A Peabody man is facing a motor vehicle homicide charge for an early-morning crash today that killed his passenger when their car slammed into a parked truck, officials said.

Michael J. Fowler, 37, faces charges that include motor vehicle homicide while drunk; operating under the influence, second offense; and leaving the scene of personal injury with death resulting, Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office said.

The victim was identified as Daniel Walker, 31, also of Peabody, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

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A not-guilty plea was entered on Fowler’s behalf at his arraignment today in Peabody District Court. He was held on $50,000 cash bail and will return to court June 19, prosecutors said.

Fowler was behind the wheel of a 2010 Hyundai sedan shortly after midnight when he drove into a flatbed truck parked on Walnut Street in Peabody, prosecutors said. After the crash, Fowler got out of the crumpled vehicle, ran off, and was apprehended by police a short distance away, according to prosecutors. He was taken to Salem Hospital to be treated for minor injuries before being released back to police.

According to Registry of Motor Vehicles records, Fowler was charged with drunken driving in 2010 following an arrest in Peabody.

His license was suspended for 180 days when he refused to take a chemical breath test at the time of his arrest, but it was reinstated in April 2010 after he completed a drunken driving reduction program operated at Peabody District Court, records show.

Fowler was involved in another crash in November 2010, but had no new driving infractions until the fatal crash this morning.

His license has been suspended again because he refused to take the chemical breath test after today’s accident, according to the Registry.