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Mont Vernon man arraigned in fatal hit-and-run that killed ex-Amherst fire chief

By Nancy Bean Foster
Union Leader Correspondent

December 24. 2013 4:49PM

Travis Hobbs (right) appeared at Nashua District Court with his attorney Ed Cross on Tuesday for an arraignment on a charge of negligent homicide in the hit-and-run death of John Bachman of Amherst on Monday. (Nancy Bean Foster)

NASHUA — The driver who struck and killed a former Amherst fire chief was arraigned at Nashua District Court on Tuesday on a charge of negligent homicide before being released on bail to his parents.

On Monday afternoon, Travis Hobbs, 20, of Mont Vernon was traveling on Boston Post Road just past the intersection with Corduroy Road when he struck John Bachman, 71, and drove off. Bachman, who was at his mailbox in front of his home retrieving his mail, was knocked into a snow bank. His wife, Marilyn, discovered her husband in the snow bank at the end or their driveway and called for help. Bachman was sent to Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, but before he could be transported to Massachusetts General Hospital he succumbed to his injuries.

Hobbs, who was checking email on his cell phone and thought he only hit a snow bank, later turned himself in to police. He was arrested and charged with one count of negligent homicide. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 3½ to 7 years in prison, said his attorney, Ed Cross, of the public defender's office.

Hobbs was arraigned on the charge at Nashua District Court on Tuesday afternoon and was released on $50,000 personal recognizance and $1,000 cash only bail. Judge Michael J. Ryan also ordered Hobbs not to drive a motor vehicle, to continue to live with his parents in Mont Vernon, and to have no contact with Bachman's family.

"He's very emotional," said Cross. "I was impressed with the way he's holding up."

Cross called Hobbs "a decent young man" who has cooperated fully with the police since turning himself in. Hobbs graduated from Souhegan High School where he played football and is currently attending Nashua Community College. He lives with his parents, Jason and Tammy Hobbs in Mont Vernon. In March, Hobbs spoke at the memorial service of his best friend, Tony Barksdale, another Souhegan graduate who died during his freshman year at Boston University.

Bachman, a husband, father and grandfather, was a familiar face in Amherst. He served on the town's volunteer firefighter and took the helm as chief in the early 1990s. Deputy Fire Chief Matt Conley said Bachman was "a great guy. I had a lot of admiration for him."

Bachman was captain of one of the department's engine companies when Conley came on board in 1986.

"He worked his way up the ranks to become chief of the department," Conley said. "He was a good chief who had a good rapport with the guys."

Bachman wasn't paid for his role as chief, but earned a living as an entrepreneur, Conley said, founding a software company called AnaTek Corporation with his daughter, Pam McKinney of Mont Vernon, in 1991.

"Everybody's stunned by the news," Conley said. "It's a terrible thing to have happen no matter what time of the year it is, but it resonates a little more when it happens around the holidays."

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