Goshen News, Goshen, IN

April 10, 2013

Sunday’s train death ruled a suicide

By SHERRY VAN ARSDALL
THE GOSHEN NEWS

— The death of a man who was struck and killed by a train in Goshen Sunday evening has been ruled a suicide.

Elkhart County Coroner John White made the announcement early Tuesday afternoon.

“It was ruled a suicide by blunt force trauma,” White said.

The pedestrian, identified as Thomas D. Griffis, 39, 18254 U.S. 6, New Paris, was killed by a train in the area of the tracks between First Street and River Avenue shortly before 8 p.m. Sunday.

According to Goshen police, Griffis was struck in the area of First Street and River Avenue by a freight train traveling east at about 50 mph.

Police said alcohol use by Griffis was believed to be a factor.

The train was stopped for more than two and a half hours while emergency personnel conducted an investigation.

Call leads to drug bust

A search by LaGrange County police in a vehicle with Pennsylvania plates led to the discovery of approximately nine pounds of marijuana and three grams of cocaine Monday. Police were dispatched to the area of 5250 W. Ind. 120 in LaGrange for a suspicious vehicle and person that appeared to be trying to gain access to a residence wearing only a T-shirt. Ryan Michael Chiappeta of Beaver Falls, Pa., told LaGrange County police he was lost and believed to be at his girlfriend’s house in Pennsylvania. Cpl. Brian Emelander had his K-9 partner, Tyson, perform a narcotics “sniff” of the vehicle. Chiappeta was arrested on charges of possession of marijuana and cocaine and booked at the county jail.

Driver falls asleep

An Elkhart driver fell asleep and was injured in a single-car crash at C.R. 15, north of Elm Drive in Elkhart. The crash occurred at 11:06 a.m. Tuesday according to Elkhart County police. Shea Hawkins, 44, Elkhart, was driving a two-door 2004 Chevy Cavalier southbound on C.R. 15 and fell asleep. Hawkins struck a mail box, a phone box and a tree and was transported to Elkhart General Hospital for complaint of chest pain. No further action was taken.

Goshen man arrested

• Dillon Grey Ramey, 23, was stopped by Goshen police in the 1800 block of S. Main St., Goshen, for a traffic violation at 10:47 a.m. Sunday. Ramey had a 17-year-old passenger in his vehicle who was reported as runway from Arizona. The agency which reported the juvenile as a runaway was contacted. The juvenile was placed into the Elkhart County Juvenile Detention Center pending being picked up by a parent/guardian.

Ramey was arrested by police on a charge of contributing to the delinquency of the minor and released on a memorandum to appear in court.

Pedestrian injured

Dustin Mast of Goshen, told Goshen police while he was walking in the Sorg Dodge parking lot, 1811 Elkhart Road, Goshen, a driver in a red pickup truck was traveling through the parking lot and the passenger side mirror struck Mast at 5:45 p.m. Friday. The driver of the pickup truck left the scene without contacting police or checking on Mast.

Theft/burglary reports

• Kierra Brown, 4364 Conifer Lane, Elkhart, told Goshen police someone stole her 2007 Ford Edge during the overnight hours Saturday. The car had been parked at the Ashton Pines Apartment complex and the Elkhart police had stopped and impounded Brown’s vehicle during the early morning hours before she had reported it stolen. Elkhart police provided suspect information for the auto theft report.

• Allen Spade, 11870 E. 750 North, LaGrange, told LaGrange County police someone damaged and stole several hundred feet of wire from his irrigation pivot around 6 p.m. Saturday. The case is currently being investigated by police and along with several other wire thefts in the area. Police are seeking the public’s help about information on the thefts.

• Marie Reisinger, 300 N. 982 West, LaGrange, told LaGrange County police someone stole the head light assembly from her lawn mower parked in her driveway sometime Saturday.

• Nicole L. Keenan of Goshen, told Goshen police someone took her wallet while she was at 1013 Lincolnway East, Goshen between 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 9:30 a.m. Sunday.

• Brooke Bleile, 912 S. 15th St., Goshen, told Goshen police someone possibly entered her residence while she was gone around 3:15 p.m. Monday.

• Angela Lemarr, 1101 West Ave., Goshen, told Goshen police someone attempted to enter her residence at 8 a.m. Monday.

• Goshen police were called to Wal-Mart Supercenter, 2304 Lincolnway East, Goshen in reference to a theft and the individuals left the store before the police arrived at noon April 1.

• An employee of Verizon Wireless, 7265 N. 300 West, LaGrange, told the LaGrange County police someone entered a cellular tower facility and removed copper from the facility. The metal was used for lightning suppression and the theft was not discovered until April 3.

• Ronald Tetzloff, 1880 N. 100 West, LaGrange, told LaGrange County police someone forced the front door open of the residence and stole a revolver, gas cards, jewelry, a laptop computer and checkbook at 5:38 p.m. Monday.

Vandalism reports

• Ronald Stebbins, 1006 N. Sixth St., Goshen, told Goshen police someone broke the windshield and rear window out of his 1996 Ford Ranger parked in his driveway between 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday.

• James Rupright of Goshen, told Goshen police someone vandalized the sidewalk at the corner of Chicago Avenue and River Avenue at 1:19 p.m. Monday.

Traffic arrest

Marcos Garcia-Guevara, 34, 718 Jefferson St., Goshen, was arrested by Goshen police on a charge of driving a vehicle with no valid driver’s license and identity theft during at traffic stop at Lincolnway East and Keystone at 10:17 a.m. Monday. He was incarcerated at the Elkhart County jail.