GALLATIN, Tenn. (WKRN) – A fender bender turned into a case of road rage after a 245-pound man allegedly pummeled a 70-year-old woman on the side of the road.
It happened July 24 at the intersection of Highway 109 in Gallatin in the middle of the day.
Police said it all began when the 70-year-old driver wanted to contact police against the other driver’s wishes.
Police told News 2, Charles Melton rear-ended the elderly woman’s car.
By all accounts, it was a simple fender bender with minor damage.
As both motorists began to exchange information, the woman insisted on calling 911 to involve the police. Gallatin police said this is a very standard and recommended part of a traffic accident.
According to police, that’s when the 58-year-old, 245-pound man allegedly became violent, and attacked the woman, throwing her cell phone into the bushes.
In a 911 call, the woman is heard telling the dispatcher she has just been in an accident. When asked if she was ok, she replied, “Yeah, we are fine. Just rear-ended on the side of the road.”
A thud is suddenly heard before the woman began screaming loudly for several seconds.
After the phone was thrown into a nearby field, it remained on, sending a signal to the 911 dispatcher for the next 10 minutes.
Throughout that time, the dispatcher stayed on the line, occasionally asking if anyone can hear her, but nobody answers.
Numerous witnesses told arriving officers that the man beat the 70-year-old repeatedly in the face before driving away.
“Some guy just drove behind an old woman and pulled her out of the car and beat the crap out of her and grabbed something out of her hand and threw it. The guy just took off,” one witness said.
Another reported, “She fell on her back, and she’s holding her hands up like that. And he was grabbing her by the shirt, and he was just wailing on her head.”
Thanks to citizens who stopped and got Melton’s license number, Gallatin police were able to go to his nearby home and took him into custody.
Det. Mark Whitley of the Gallatin Police Department interviewed him, who prior to July 24, had no criminal record.
Whitley said, “I think it is terrible. She was put in a situation where it could’ve been life and death for her.”
Detective Whitely told News 2, the senior citizen did everything right, especially wanting to get the police involved.
Whitley said Melton admitted he was in the wrong after being interviewed by police.
“Did he show remorse? I would say no, he did not show remorse. Did he allude to being involved in this assault? Yes, he did,” Whitley said.
Even though she was pretty banged up, the senior citizen was not seriously injured, though she told News 2, that as of this moment, she still has traces of a black eye.
News 2 spoke to Melton’s brother who said his young brother has a temper.
Arvle Melton said, “It’s hard to pinpoint this whole thing. In the last couple of months, he’s gotten, like an agitation. He gets agitated and it is hard to deal with. I didn’t see this coming. But I’ve talked to him, about being too aggressive.”
When told that his brother allegedly beat up a senior citizen at a traffic stop, the older brother is shocked.
“It sounds terrible,” Arvle Melton said.
He told News 2 he spoke with his brother in jail. He said his brother kept his head bowed and didn’t establish much eye contact while talking.
When asked if he could defend his brother’s actions, Arvle Melton said he could not and that his brother has taken responsibility for the crime.
“I can’t say anything. I mean I love him; he is my brother. He said it’s all on me. I did the thing and I’ll do the time,” he said.
Charles Melton is still in jail. He is charged with simple assault, leaving the scene of an accident, robbery, and interfering with a 911 call.
Before the road rage incident, he had never been arrested in Tennessee.