Columbus native killed in 3-vehicle accident


For The Tribune

A Columbus native was killed over the weekend in a southern Jennings County traffic accident that involved three vehicles.

Michael D. Mathis, 46, was pronounced dead at the scene of the 9:52 p.m. crash Saturday on State Road 3, between county roads 650 South and 700 South, according to a press release from the Jennings County Sheriff’s Department.

When first responders arrived at the crash scene north of Commiskey in Lovett Township, Mathis was discovered trapped in the passenger side of a 2010 Chevy Impala, the release stated.

Although investigators were informed the deceased man was originally from Columbus, his driver’s license had a Greensburg address, Jennings County Sheriff Gary Driver said.

Most recently, he had been staying in a motel room in the Seymour area where many of his belongings were later recovered, the sheriff said.

Mathis was in a northbound car driven by Christopher Boggs, 21, of North Vernon that veered into the southbound lanes, the release stated.

Evidence was found that indicates alcohol use may have been a factor in the crash, Driver said.

“But nothing has been ruled out and the case remains under investigation,” he said.

When a southbound 2004 Mercury Mountaineer — driven by Amanda K. Helton, 32, of Deputy — collided with the Impala, it smashed into the front passenger side where Mathis was sitting, according to the release.

The impact caused Helton’s SUV to spin around, and her Mountaineer was struck by a 1995 Toyota pickup truck — driven by Patty S. Daugherty, 69, also of Deputy — that was heading south just behind Helton’s vehicle.

Besides the driver, other occupants of the SUV were identified as front passenger Robert T. Helton, 38, and the couples’ 3-year-old daughter, who was in her car seat behind the front passenger, the release stated.

After all injured persons were first taken to St. Vincent Jennings Hospital in North Vernon, both Boggs and the three-year-old girl were later transported to Indianapolis hospitals, the release stated. Their conditions were not immediately available.

Two Indiana State Police crash scene re-constructionists were called in to assist Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Allen Ritchie in the investigation, the release stated.

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