Fairfield senior killed when hit by train; suicide ruled
Posted: 08/30/2013 at 9:42 am
By: Emily Pfund
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Matthew M. Simmons (Photo Supplied)
According to an obituary submitted to The Elkhart Truth by Yoder-Culp Funeral Home, Simmons was a senior at Fairfield Junior/Senior High School who maintained a 4.0 grade point average and excelled in physics. He was also a member of the school wrestling team and had a job at the Lincolnway Mart in Goshen.
Elkhart County Coroner John White said Simmons’ death has been ruled a suicide. His office determined Simmon’s cause of death to be blunt force trauma, White said.
A toxicology test will be requested, but White said he does not expect the results to change their determination of Simmons’ manner of death.
The 17-year-old was struck near the C.R. 42 E overpass. He had parked his car just off of C.R. 42 near the railroad tracks, White said.
A railroad officer called 911 shortly after teen was hit.
An Elkhart County emergency dispatcher said the incident was reported at 12:37 a.m. Friday, Aug. 30.
The Millersburg Marshall’s Office responded to the scene along with officers from Syracuse, Benton and the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department, the dispatcher said.
Visitation will be from 1 to 6 p.m. Monday at Yoder-Culp Funeral Home, 1911 S. Main St., Goshen, and from 9 to 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 3, at Grace Community Church, 20076 C.R. 36. A memorial service will follow at 11 a.m.
Fairfield Community Schools Superintendent Steven Thalheimer said Amy Bertram, principal of Fairfield Junior/Senior High School, assembled a “crisis team” before school Friday morning.
At the start of the day, the senior class was asked to go to the auditorium, where they were informed of Simmons’ death.
Pastors, counselors and mental health professionals were on hand for individual and group sessions and students were encouraged to return to class when they felt ready, Thalheimer said.
“The students have been remarkably supportive of each other,” Thalheimer said. “The seniors have decided they want to go ahead with the football game tonight to have a place where they can be together and support each other.”
“The staff have been fantastic to watch out for the students and be understanding and supportive in this time,” he said.