Media Contact: Vicki Elaine Becker (574) 296-1888

In the early morning hours of June 9, 2019, officers from Elkhart Police Department responded to an emergency dispatch to the area of 2200 Morehouse Avenue, Elkhart, to assist a woman screaming for help. Additional information was provided advising a male related to that event was leaving the area in a silver Rav4 SUV. Officers were already in the area at the time the additional information was received, at which time Patrolman Miller, and Sergeant Huff, both police officers of the Elkhart Police Department, observed a silver SUV leaving the area. Sergeant Huff was closest to the SUV and immediately activated his emergency lights in an attempt to investigate the report of the woman screaming for help. Rather than stopping in response to the officer, the driver of the SUV, later identified as Michael Mattox, 31, of Elkhart, accelerated rapidly, disregarded numerous stop signs and traffic signals, and traveled north on Main Street at speeds estimated to exceed 90 mph.

Although Sergeant Huff was the primary pursuing officer behind Mattox as he raced toward the downtown Elkhart area, Sgt. Huff was unable to keep up with Mattox due to slowing for intersections northbound on Main Street, such as Indiana Avenue and Prairie Streets. Just as Sgt. Huff was passing through the intersection of Prairie Street and Main, a train was approaching the Main Street crossing causing the safety arms to lower to block traffic. Mattox drove through the safety arm just before the train reached the crossing at an extremely high rate of speed, thereafter striking a parked car on Main Street causing Mattox’s vehicle to flip over and crash into the flower bed and the Post Office. Mattox’s vehicle then caught fire.

Officers approaching the area of south Main Street, just north of the railroad tracks, observed the crashed vehicle and attempted to put out the fire. Although the fire was extinguished, Mattox was already deceased. An autopsy revealed that Mattox suffered extensive injuries in the crash which were immediately fatal. Mattox was found to have a significant amount of alcohol in his blood, as well as Methamphetamine.

The Elkhart County Homicide Unit was dispatched to investigate the death of Mr. Mattox due to the involvement of law enforcement officers in a pursuit at the time of the death. Their investigation documented numerous witnesses, multiple video recordings, and the findings from autopsy which were received on July 15, 2019. Additionally, investigators documented evidence that Mr. Mattox had beaten and strangled the woman that had been screaming for assistance, threatening to kill her. The helpful neighbor that had originally called 9-1-1 provided extremely valuable information for emergency responders to locate the victim, and the alleged perpetrator, in a manner of approximately three minutes. In addition, the parked vehicle that Mattox struck contained a person sleeping in the back seat, causing minor injuries.

Prosecuting Attorney Vicki Elaine Becker reviewed the completed investigation and determined that the cause of Mr. Mattox’s death was a direct result of impaired and reckless driving, and a refusal to stop for police investigating an emergency report of a citizen needing police assistance. Mrs. Becker evaluated all evidence to determine if any officer unlawfully contributed to Mr. Mattox’s death. Specifically, it was clear that Sgt. Huff slowed when approaching intersections to ensure public safety, causing him to lose proximity to Mattox, and did not engage in reckless behavior during the pursuit. Rather, Mr. Mattox’s choice to drive at extremely dangerous speeds going over the railroad tracks, while impaired by alcohol and Methamphetamine, resulted in his losing control of his vehicle and crashing into the parked car and structures. Mr. Mattox’s death was directly caused by his own actions.

It is hopeful that this tragic event is a reminder that stopping for emergency responders is not only required by our laws, it is necessary for our community to ensure everyone’s safety is protected. In this case, the person sleeping in the back of his car could have easily been killed, not to mention other drivers and pedestrians in the areas Mr. Mattox drove in such a reckless manner.



“Under Indiana law, all persons arrested for a criminal offense are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”