MORGAN COUNTY, Ind. — John Elliott, the husband of the late Morgan County Clerk Stephanie Elliott, has been charged in connection to the crash that resulted in his wife’s death.

John was charged with causing a death by operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated or with a controlled substance in the person’s blood, a level 4 felony, and one count of reckless homicide, which is defined as a level 5 felony.

Stephanie was killed in a crash that occurred on July 2 while John was critically injured. In addition to being the clerk for Morgan County at the time, Stephanie was also running as the Republican candidate for the Morgan County auditor in the November general election.

The couple was driving in a white pickup truck south of State Road 67 and State Road 39 south junction where State Road 67 switches from a four-lane highway to a two-lane highway.

The truck had driven off the roadway onto the eastbound side of State Road 67, crashing down into a nearby embankment and running into several trees.

Stephanie was pronounced deceased at the scene. John was transported by a Lifeline helicopter to St. Vincent Hospital.

The crash has been under investigation since then.

The buildup to the fatal crash

According to the probable cause affidavit filed by the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, law enforcement arriving on the scene were directed into a wooded area near the roadway by witnesses who said there were passengers still stuck inside the vehicle.

The documents describe locating a male and female inside the flipped-over truck, with the female appearing “unconscious laying on top of the male.”

The affidavit noted that John was restrained by a seatbelt while Stephanie was not.

Deputies attempted to communicate with the couple but both were unresponsive as John could only utter both of their names.

After Stephanie was removed from the vehicle and pronounced deceased, first responders removed John from the driver’s seat. John was described as having “blood all over him, as did Stephanie.”

While John was being treated at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis for his injuries, investigators completed a search warrant to draw John’s blood since he was involved in a crash causing serious bodily injury.

A witness, who was traveling in front of John and Stephanie’s truck, said they saw the truck drive across the median into the northbound lanes when traveling southbound on State Road 67 before the accident took place. According to this witness, the truck continued to veer to the left into a wooded area on the east side of State Road 67.

Another witness, who was driving behind John and Stephanie, corroborated those same details to officers on the scene.

Tire marks were also found in the area crossing the median between the crossover for Old State Road 67 and where the four-lane highway switches to two lanes.

The affidavit said an investigation revealed that the truck appeared to have reached around 10 feet in the air after inspecting branches and trees that were impacted in the collision.

During the crash, the vehicle came into contact with a culvert or creek bed before striking a tree and losing a tire. The vehicle then traveled another 30 feet or so, while still possibly airborne, before landing against a rotten tree.

Toxicology results

The affidavit said John was served alcohol at the Elk’s Lodge and Bynum’s Steakhouse before the accident.

John was contacted on Aug. 1 by investigators regarding the crash. John admitted that he consumed alcohol on the night of the crash when visiting Bynum’s Steakhouse and the Elk’s Lodge.

John also told authorities that he didn’t remember any details leading up to the accident and that he wasn’t sure what led to the fatal crash. He also said he wasn’t sure why Stephanie was not wearing her seatbelt at the time of the incident.

According to the affidavit, John stated that “he did not think that his alcohol drinking was a cause for his driving behavior.”

John denied taking any muscle relaxers prior to the accident when quizzed on whether or not he used any prescription medication.

However, John did admit to using marijuana and cocaine sometimes but denied taking either of the illicit drugs on the night of the crash.

The affidavit cites toxicology results provided by the Indiana State Lab on Sept. 22 that found cocaine and cannabinoids in his system on the night of the crash. The result also showed a .06 blood alcohol content level. Stephanie’s toxicology results found no cocaine or THC in her system.

When confronted with the findings, John said he used cocaine and THC gummies while on vacation the previous Thursday. He then explained that he and Stephanie may have shared a THC gummy before dinner on the night of the crash.

During a third conversation with investigators, John noted that Stephanie would drive when he was too impaired. John also claimed that he had driven safely while impaired before. John repeated that he consumed half a THC gummy the day of the crash before the couple went for dinner, claiming he used it for pain control.

Medical documents from St. Vincent Hospital offered no indication of any serious injuries or health concerns that could have contributed to the accident.

A search warrant was completed to obtain the airbag module, which contains vehicle information 5 seconds leading up to a crash.

The affidavit states that the vehicle was traveling almost 90 miles per hour with no visible signs of braking before crashing. The area around the crash is a 45 miles per hour zone.