Citations have been issued against a father who crashed his car and seriously injured himself while trying to buckle in his 2-year-old son to avoid a ticket.
The father, Travis Lee Melton, 44, suffered a serious leg injury when he lost control of his Saturn and plunged into a culvert. His son, Cody Melton, 2, suffered minor injuries while his other passenger, Mark A. Fults, 44, suffered lacerations. Melton has been charged with violation of the child restraint, due care and seatbelt laws.
According to Highway Patrolman Gary Myers, Fults was heading southbound on Old Harrison Road on Harrison Ferry Mountain when the driver spotted Myers sitting by the road monitoring traffic.
“When he saw me he tried to get the child strapped in,” Myers recalled, noting that was when the father lost control of his car. “I thought for a minute it was a drunk because all of a sudden the car goes into the ditch. I witnessed the whole thing.”
The Saturn ended up plowing through a culvert and slamming into a chain-link fence before coming to rest. The impact left Melton with a leg injury that required his airlift to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga.
Myers learned the loss of control came after Melton saw the trooper and was trying to buckle in his child. Violation of the child restraint law is punishable by a $25 fine.
Local law enforcement, along with the Noon Exchange Club of McMinnville, will be offering a free child restraint seat inspection Sept. 16 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Child Advocacy Center on Sparta Street.