Car Flips In Cemetery Near Etna Green; Driver Can’t Be Found

A 2000 Mercury Sable wrecked through at least 10 tombstones in Wooden Cemetery near Etna Green shortly after midnight Monday. Police are looking for the driver. Photo by Gary Nieter

ETNA GREEN – Police do not know who the driver of the car was that crashed through at least 10 tombstones in Wooden Cemetery Monday night.

Kosciusko County Sheriff’s deputies responded at 12:12 a.m. Tuesday to Wooden Cemetery, located at CR 800W, just north of CR 100S in Harrison Township. The cemetery is diagonal from Harrison Center Church near Etna Green.

According to KCSO Public Information Officer Sgt. Chris Francis, a 2000 Mercury Sable appeared to be traveling south on CR 800W when it left the east side of the roadway and struck an REMC utility pole. The vehicle then crossed CR 100S and entered the cemetery, damaging the fence and several headstones.

The vehicle appeared to have overturned multiple times through the cemetery, the police report states. The driver of the vehicle was not found, however, the registered owner, John Mattson, 30, of 3104 E. Wooster Road, #2, Pierceton, was found walking west on CR 100S near the crash scene.

Mattson allegedly told police he left a bar in Warsaw, was too drunk to drive and requested that someone else drive him home.

Mattson then told police he could not confirm whether or not he was driving at the time of the crash.

Lutheran EMS medics on scene told police that seat belt markings on Mattson’s body indicated he was a passenger – not the driver – in the vehicle.

A breathalyzer test determined Mattson’s blood alcohol content was .18, and he was taken by ambulance to an area hospital for treatment of a chest fracture.

Emergency units checked the area, but were not able to locate the driver of the vehicle, Francis said.

Kosciusko REMC responded to replace the utility pole. Estimated damage is $50,000-$100,000.

Mentone EMS and Mentone Fire Department assisted at the scene.