Melrose officer involved in auto accident

By Marlena Harftz: CNJ staff writer

The only police officer in the village of Melrose was involved in a car accident while on duty Thursday night, according to a spokesperson with the state police.

No serious injuries were sustained in the collision, according to officials.
Melrose Police Marshal Lee Ferguson failed to yield at an intersection and the vehicle he was driving collided with a car driven by Melrose resident Wendell Belcher, 46, according to Lt. Rick Anglada, a spokesperson for the state police.

Ferguson was responding to a silent alarm call from Melrose High School, often triggered during attempted break-ins, at the time of the collision. Although he activated cautionary lights on the back of his vehicle, he did not activate the emergency flashing lights on top of his vehicle, Anglada said.

The collision occurred at about 8 p.m., according to Anglada.
Ferguson was eastbound on Avenue B when he T-boned Belcher’s southbound vehicle on Third Street, Anglada said.

Belcher was not injured and Ferguson was transported to Plains Regional Medical Center for whiplash treatment, according to Anglada.
“He told the officers he felt fine,” Anglada said.

Ferguson will likely receive a failure-to-yield charge as a result of the collision, but investigation into the incident by state police is pending, Anglada said.

Melrose Mayor Lance Pyle said Ferguson has been employed as a police officer in Melrose since 2005.

He graduated from the police academy in November, and received status as a certified employee, Pyle said.

“He is doing a great job (as a police officer),” Pyle said.

Pyle said Belcher is an employee of Curry County.