Charges likely in Mellen crash

(Update)The latest on a tragedy in Welland where an off-duty police officer died early this morning and another person is in hospital with serious head injuries following a violent collision on highway 406.The crash happened on highway 406 and Woodlawn Road in Welland. Police say 33-year old Joseph Mellen was a nine-year veteran of the Niagara police service. He had just completed a twelve hour shift and was on his way home when the crash happened.Mellan was a current member of the Niagara regional police service, living in welland. The crash happened just before 5am Friday morning.Police say Mellen was travelling south bound on his Suzuki motorcycle when he came into collision with a Pontiac Sunfire travelling north bound on highway 406 at Woodlawn Road. 406 is a divided highway unitl it gets to Port Robinson Road. After that there’s nothing separating the two lanes of traffic.”The OPP traffic reconstruction team is trying to determine why the vehicles collided head on.OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt: “406 is being widened and extended in this area, the road surface that I see behind me where the collision took place it appears the lanes are well marked and identifiable. There doesn’t seem to be any fresh construction going on that would have caused any confusion to the drivers. Weather and road conditions seemed to be similar to what they are now.”Emergency responders on the scene say the motorcycle burst into flames on impact. Mellen was ejected from the bike and there are reports he was thrown into the car. Two people had to be extricated from the Pontiac Sunfire, one of them is believed to be Mellen. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the vehicle is a 24-year old woman from Welland. She was taken to Hamilton General Hospital with serious injuries.Highway 406 was closed for several hours as police investigated. It has since re-opened. Police say charges are pending.

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