El Dorado man pleads guilty in traffic death that killed retired librarian

08/07/2014 4:31 PM

08/13/2014 12:34 PM

An El Dorado man has pleaded guilty in the 2013 traffic death of an 89-year-old retired librarian, as well as to multiple other charges.

Matthew Mabry, 35, pleaded guilty Aug. 1 in Sedgwick County District Court to involuntary manslaughter and aggravated battery in the traffic death of Arlene Root, as well as six counts of burglary and three counts of theft, according to the District Attorney’s office.

Root, a retired art and music librarian, was driving her 1950 Plymouth west in the right lane on Central on June 24, 2013. She was being passed on the inside lane by a pickup pulling a trailer loaded with lawn equipment, police said.

An eastbound pickup driven by Mabry drifted across the center turning lane and into the westbound lanes, prompting the driver of the westbound pickup to swerve in attempt to avoid a collision.

The drifting pickup hit the westbound pickup, causing it to overturn and forcing the trailer to hit Root’s car. The car was crushed, and she was pinned inside. She died at the scene.

Mabry was arrested July 18, 2013 on an unrelated burglary and theft case, according to Sedgwick County court records. That led to his plea to stealing three pickups, a trailer and other items that he stole from a business on East Kellogg.

Mabry’s sentencing is set for Aug. 29.

Reach Rick Plumlee at 316-268-6660 or rplumlee@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rickplumlee.

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