2010-12-09 / Local & State

Vehicular Homicide Case Headed For County Court

Melvin Bowman Jr. waives right to preliminary hearing
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

After speaking privately with defense attorney David Keller, a Needmore man currently facing one count of vehicular homicide decided to waive his right to a preliminary hearing Monday.

Appearing during Fulton County Central Court overseen by Magisterial District Judge Wendy Mellott, 27-year-old Melvin Joseph Bowman Jr. waived the hearing held on charges of homicide by vehicle, driving on roadways laned for traffic, reckless and careless driving and restraint systems. The charges filed by investigating officer Pennsylvania State Trooper James S. Lupey stem from the June 10 fatal accident when Bowman’s northbound 2000 Chevrolet Lumina allegedly crossed the roadway and struck an oncoming 1990 Nissan truck operated by William Myrle Trail, also of Needmore.

The 2:45 p.m. collision along Thompson Road occurred within close proximity to both Bowman’s and Trail’s homes located in Thompson Township.

Bowman informed Trooper Lupey, charging documents state that he was driving on “limited sleep” from the night before and had been working since 5:30 a.m. that day. His shift at Redland Brick in Williamsport, Md., had ended at 2 p.m.

Bowman added in his discussions with police he had apparently “nodded off” at the wheel. He reportedly woke just seconds before crashing into Trail’s truck just south of the intersection of Frank Road. The collision caused Bowman’s car to turn sideways and roll onto its roof.

Bowman sustained a fractured right wrist and a cut to his head and was treated and released from Washington County hospital. He was not wearing a seat belt.

Meanwhile, Trail, who was also not using a seat belt and with no airbags in his vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene of blunt force trauma by Fulton County Deputy Coroner Darrin Smith.

Charging documents further maintain there was an eyewitness to the crash who said Bowman’s car had been following her since she left Hancock, Md., at 2:35 p.m.The car drifted back and forth from its lane every few minutes, she noted. In addition, the speed of Bowman’s vehicle varied as the car would sometimes be on her bumper or lagging at least one-quarter mile behind.

According to the affidavit, the witness concluded she saw Bowman’s car cross the centerline between five and six times before it crossed the centerline and collided headon with the truck.

Bowman will next appear in Fulton County Court of Common Pleas for mandatory arraignment.

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