Mishawaka man charged with confinement, strangulation

Truth file photo

ELKHART — A Mishawaka man is accused of forcing a woman to drive to an ATM and withdraw money for him.

Dustin Ellsworth, 42, is charged with criminal confinement, a Level 5 felony, and strangulation, a Level 6 felony, in the warrant issued Monday. He is also charged with domestic battery as a Class A misdemeanor.

The warrant for his arrest was issued in Elkhart County Superior Court 1 following an investigation by Elkhart police into the alleged Feb. 11 incident. His bond is set at $10,000 in the warrant.

His charges together carry a punishment of up to 91/2 years in prison.

According to court documents:

An Elkhart officer responded to a South Nappanee Street bank on Feb. 12 for a domestic battery report. The victim wanted surveillance footage from the bank because she said Ellsworth had assaulted her at the ATM the previous day.

She said during an argument that day, Ellsworth grabbed her by the shirt and pulled her out of the apartment toward her car. She said he demanded that she drive him to a gas station in Mishawaka.

When they arrived, Ellsworth saw two police cars in the parking lot so he ordered her to “Go, go, go.” She tried to turn in to the parking lot to get help but he struck her in the side of the head and ordered her to drive him to the bank in Elkhart instead.

At the ATM, she said she delayed putting in her PIN in the hope that her bank card would be rejected. Ellsworth yelled at her to get the money but the ATM wouldn’t allow her to withdraw the full amount he wanted, and he struck her in the head again.

She honked the horn in her car to try to get the attention of passers-by, but Ellsworth grabbed her by the neck and began squeezing. She said she couldn’t breathe, and the officer noticed bruising on her neck.

A police detective later viewed security footage from the bank. A vehicle could be seen pulling up to the ATM, with Ellsworth and the victim inside, and it appeared at one point that Ellsworth put his arm around her neck and struck her.

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