Mont Vernon man indicted on negligent homicide from hit-and-run accident in Amherst

MANCHESTER – A day after the state Senate passed a bill banning cellphone use while driving, a 20-year-old Mont Vernon man was indicted on a charge of negligent homicide for allegedly hitting and killing a man while texting and driving.

Travis Hobbs, 20, was indicted on charges of negligent homicide and conduct after an accident by a Hillsborough County Superior Court grand jury in Manchester on April 17. He is accused of failing “to pay due attention to the road by using a cellular telephone” causing him to hit and kill John Bachman on Merrimack Road in Amherst on Dec. 23, according to court records.

On April 16, senators passed HB 1370, which would ban handheld cellphone use while driving if Gov. Maggie Hassan signs the bill.

Bachman, a former Amherst fire chief and Telegraph columnist, was killed while checking his mail outside his 100 Merrimack Road home.

Hobbs turned himself in to police after seeing reports about the hit-and-run. He reportedly told police he thought he hit a snowbank.

The grand jury also charged Hobbs with failing to immediately stop when “he knew or should have known” what had happened, according to court records.

He has been free on bail and ordered to stay with his parents.

Several people at the Senate hearing that preceded the bill’s passage last month cited Bachman’s death and the reported role a cellphone played as a compelling reason the state should crack down on distracted driving.

Sending text messages while driving has been illegal in New Hampshire since 2009.

Bachman is remembered as a family man and successful businessman, first as an engineer at the former Wang Labs and Sanders Associates, then as the owner of his own home-based businesses.

Indictments are not a finding of guilt. They are simply the grand jury’s determination that prosecutors have enough information for the case to move to the superior court level.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Cote on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeC).