Goshen News, Goshen, IN

August 31, 2013

Train death ruled a suicide


— A Fairfield High School senior was struck and killed by a train early Friday morning in Millersburg. The Elkhart County coroner has ruled the death a suicide.

Dead is Matthew M. Simmons, 17.

Police indicated Simmons was struck by the train at 12:34 a.m. Friday at the tracks near Jefferson and Lincoln streets in Millersburg.

Coroner John White said the cause of Simmons’ death was blunt force trauma, and the manner of death was determined to be suicide. He said toxicology results are pending, but those results won’t change his ruling.

White also said information was found in Simmons’ vehicle indicating he had a 4.0 grade-point average, and that he was on the varsity wrestling team at Fairfield.

Fairfield school superintendent Steve Thalheimer said a crisis team assembled at the high school Friday morning, and Simmons’ death was announced to the staff. Seniors were then called to the auditorium and told of their classmate’s death.

“It’s been a blow to staff and students, which lots of people wondering, ‘Why?,’” Thalheimer said, later adding “(Simmons) was a very bright student who held a great deal of promise, is what I keep hearing from everyone today.”

The superintendent said counselors, clergy and mental health professionals were at the school to help. Thalheimer also said students are looking out for each other, and Fairfield staffers are attending to the pupils’ needs.

Millersburg Town Marshal Keith Hathaway said the investigation into the suicide is continuing.