On the back of this Springfield Police vehicle is a sticker in memory of Officer Christopher Walsh, who was killed in the line of duty. (Photo by Shannon Cay)

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A Fayetteville, North Carolina man is in the Greene County Jail and charged with involuntary manslaughter for the death of 51-year-old Todd A. Tennison on Sept. 29, 2023. 

At the time he was hit by a truck, Tennison was reportedly panhandling and sitting on the ground just off of North Kansas Expressway, near the roadway, when he was struck by a 52-foot box trailer as a tractor-trailer exited the Walmart parking lot at 2825 N. Kansas Expressway in Springfield.

The driver did not stop. Tennison was taken to the hospital and later died.

Prosecutors charged Melvin Lee Battle, 56, with the class D felony of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and the class E felony of second-degree involuntary manslaughter on March 26, 2024.

According to online court records, Battle was arraigned in a Greene County courtroom and then booked into jail on Monday, May 6. His bond is set at $15,000.

Melvin Battle's mugshot
Melvin Battle (Booking photo by Greene County Sheriff's Office)

Immediately following the accident and Tennison’s death, the driver of the truck was not named publicly. At the time, police said they knew who the driver was and were investigating.

A witness told police he flagged down the driver and told the driver he hit something. The witness said the driver said he would go back and check. That witness took a photograph of the back of the trailer and gave it to police, which helped investigators identify Battle. 

According to the probable cause statement filed by Springfield police, Battle was “uncooperative and denied he was involved in a crash in Springfield” when police contacted him.

Battle has a preliminary hearing set for July 8.

Jackie Rehwald

Jackie Rehwald is a reporter at the Hauxeda. She covers public safety, the courts, homelessness, domestic violence and other social issues. Her office line is 417-837-3659. More by Jackie Rehwald