Driver cited for leaving early Saturday morning accident scene

The Land Rover smashed through a section of guard rail off the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road early Saturday morning and came to rest in a ravine. — Photo courtesy of Tisbury Police

A Saturday morning accident in which a 1996 Land Rover SUV ended up in a wooded ravine after it crashed through a guard rail between Canterbury Lane and Clover Hill Drive on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road in Tisbury touched off an extensive search by police who found no one inside the car and were concerned the driver might be lying injured in the darkness.

Tisbury Sergeant Rodney Silvia said the driver, Erik Kelly, 30, of Tisbury, left the scene. Police issued Mr. Kelly a criminal citation for leaving the scene of an accident with property damage.

Tisbury police officer Joseph Ballotte and officer Jason Marathas responded to the call of a possible motor vehicle accident around 1:30 am Saturday. They found a broken guard rail along the bike path and the black SUV resting up against a tree, Sergeant Silvia said.

Six police officers, Tisbury fire and EMS personnel, and Edgartown Police K-9 Officer Jeffrey Trudell and his police dog, Buster, conducted an extensive search of the area for the operator and any passengers, according to the police report. The team used an infrared camera to assist in the search.

The search was not called off until 6:30 am, Saturday after police had identified Mr. Kelly as the owner and contacted him, Sergeant Silvia said. Mr. Kelly told acting sergeant Christopher Habekost he had sustained a minor injury in the accident.

Mr. Kelly later arrived at the Tisbury Police Station where he was questioned by police. He told police he was driving to Vineyard Haven when he swerved to avoid a deer.

Bay State Towing was dispatched to tow Mr. Kelly’s vehicle Saturday morning. Tisbury department of public works personnel later cleaned up the accident scene.