3 Witnesses Testify Against Man Accused of Fleeing Crash Scene

Christmas night incident resulted in hours-long search for Washington Township resident.

The guardrail Melvin Travis allegedly crashed into on Christmas night 2013.
The guardrail Melvin Travis allegedly crashed into on Christmas night 2013.

Three witnesses took the stand to testify for the state in the matter of a Washington Township resident accused of leaving the scene of an accident on Christmas night 2013, resulting in an hours-long manhunt.

Police charged Melvin Travis, 50, with leaving the scene of an accident, failure to report an accident, careless driving, and failure to maintain lane after a patrolman found the resident’s car crashed into a guardrail on the southbound side of Schooley’s Mountain Road around 11 p.m. that night.

Due to the cold weather conditions eyewitness account at the scene of the crash, a search was conducted by the Morris County Sheriff’s K-9 Unit for Travis, but to no avail.

In the early hours of Dec. 26, Travis made phone contact with Officer Myers after the search through Schooley's Mountain woods had concluded.

Represented by attorney Thomas Fischer of the law firm Broscious, Fischer & Zaiter, Travis appeared in Washington Township Municipal Court last week for the first time since the incident, according to Deputy Clerk Erin Flannery.

Officer Scott Myers, who was the first patrolman on the scene, as well the shift supervisor, Sgt. Jeff Almer, both took the stand for the state. A third witness, Scott McDonald, also testified against Travis in court, Flannery said.

McDonald gave Myers an eyewitness account at the scene that night, and then a written statement a few days later, where he stated Travis fled the scene on foot once the aiding motorist called police. McDonald also said in the statement that Travis told him he had fallen asleep before the crash, and “had a few drinks” that night.

Despite the testimony, municipal court judge Frank Leanza did not make his ruling that night, and scheduled his decision for May 29, Flannery said.

Travis is currently employed as a school bus driver for the Washington Township School district. While there are certain driving violations and offenses that could result in the suspension of a commercial driver’s license – needed to operate a school bus – no decision on Travis’ employment will be made until after the ruling, according to transportation director Paul Henry.

“It’s really too premature to say anything regarding the situation,” Henry said, and that a decision, if any, won’t be made until after the May 29 ruling.

12345678 April 24, 2014 at 02:55 PM
MD, I'm curious as to why you believe strangers would lie on the stand. What does anyone other than Travis have to gain?
PC April 24, 2014 at 03:17 PM
"Its a fact that Travis's vehicle left the side of the road...It's a fact that a third party stopped and interacted with him...It's a fact that Travis then left the scene" Yes, these are all facts. Just one problem, none of these facts amount to Leaving the Scene of an Accident according to the law! The rest is just noise....You (Hooker) think that Pastor Travis did something wrong. You must know for sure that he was intoxicated. You must know for sure that he was ducking the police. In your mind he's a "typical shady preacher". Therein lies your bias. So focus on the facts as they relate to the law, and not your idea of what transpired that night. No one is throwing stones here, and I meant no insult to your character personally. Just trying to help you see things from a different perspective....
Beach Mover April 24, 2014 at 04:19 PM
I think we are all being duped and played. There had not been one word mentioned on this thread for almost 10 days. Then a "friend" of Travis's chimes in to say how wonderful he is. This starts the whole ball rolling again. These people are just trying to have more bad things said about Travis. If these "friends" know the facts, say nothing and come out and crow when the whole thing is thrown out. I'm not buying that they are really friends of Travis's.
Chuck Ruff April 24, 2014 at 05:58 PM
“@Hooker - "typical shady preacher". Ahh, there it is. Finally, your true colors are shining through. Above, you were all about "facts", but once those break down you are left to stereotype. At least your bias is now out in the open.....”. Uhhhhhh, no. Those are not my posts. Once again, another cretin has registered under my moniker. Obviously the idiot didn’t realize that by clicking on his name, and you can easily see he only has posts from today. Jason still has not installed any kind of filter to keep people from registering under a unsername that is already in use.
Jason Koestenblatt April 24, 2014 at 06:02 PM
Ha! "Jason has not installed any kind of filter..." Yes, as if I have the power to create such a filter on a company that owns 900+ sites across the country. I'll get right to it after I've fixed all the other bugs on the platform with my coding and software engineering degree... :) :)


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