Investigation into fatal Elkhart Police pursuit complete
On June 9, Elkhart Police responded to a call in the 2200 block of Morehouse Avenue to assist a woman who was screaming for help.
Officers learned a man with a connection to the event was leaving the area in a silver Rav4.
Sergeant Huff was in the area and attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the SUV, but the driver, 31-year-old Michael Mattox, did not pull over for the officer, reports said.
Mattox disregarded several stop signs and traffic signals and traveled north on Main Street at speeds exceeding 90 mph, police said.
Sgt. Huff was unable to keep up with Mattox because he slowed for intersections.
At the Main Street railroad crossing, as a train approached, Mattox drove through the safety arm at a high rate of speed just before the train reached the crossing, police said.
Mattox's vehicle overturned and crashed into the flowerbed and post office, then caught fire, police said.
Officers attempted to put out the vehicle fire. Once the fire was extinguished, officers discovered Mattox was deceased, reports said.
An autopsy found Mattox suffered severe injuries in the crash and died immediately, reports said.
Mattox had alcohol and methamphetamine in his system, the autopsy found.
The Elkhart County Homicide Unit conducted an investigation into the pursuit and death of the suspect.
Investigators say they learned Mattox had beaten and strangled the woman who had called for help and that he had threatened to kill her, reports said.
The neighbor who called 9-1-1 gave police valuable information that helped them locate the victim and the alleged suspect in 3 minutes, police said.
Elkhart County Prosecutor Vicki Elaine Becker reviewed the investigation and found Mattox's death was a result of impaired and reckless driving, and a refusal to stop for police, reports said.
She also found Sgt. Huff did not engage in reckless behavior during the pursuit.