Funeral director who crashed while drunk no longer licensed

Thursday, June 6, 2019
Local responders gather around a funeral home van following a May 2017 crash off of Interstate 70. On Thursday, Matthew Fitzhum had his funeral license revoked in part due to being drunk at the time of the crash.
Courtesy Indiana State Police

INDIANAPOLIS — A Clinton funeral director whose 2017 crash in Putnam County made headlines had his state license revoked on Thursday.

Scott L. Miley reports in the Tribune-Star that the State Board of Funeral and Cemetery Service on Thursday ruled that Matthew Fitzthum, 52, “showed professional incompetence in two separate cases filed against him by consumers.”

One of the cases filed involved the May 2017 crash, which was reported by the Banner Graphic.

In that instance, a 72-year-old Clinton woman passed away on May 16, 2017 in Indianapolis. Fitzthum was hired to transport the body to his office for cremation.

Shortly after 1 p.m. that day, Indiana State Police were called to the westbound lanes of Interstate 70, about two miles west of the Putnamville exit, where a van had gone into the median and hit a tree.

The woman was in a body bag that had been strapped to a gurney. The gurney overturned and her body was harmed.

Fitzthum was subsequently found to have had a BAC of .273 at the time — more than three times the legal limit. He admitted to police that he drank a pint of whiskey about an hour before the crash and had consumed beer. Two open beer cans were found in the vehicle, according to court documents.

Opiates were also reportedly found in his system.

Fitzthum later entered a guilty plea to driving with a BAC of .15 or more and was sentenced to a year in the Putnam County Jail with 355 days suspended.

In the second complaint, Miley reports, a 63-year-old Staunton man and Fitzthum entered into an agreement in September 2016 for a pre-need funeral contract and set up a $1,232 trust fund.

However, no money was deposited into the trust, Miley wrote.

Fitzthum closed his Clinton business in 2017. Reports surfaced at about the same time that his license to handle remains may have expired in December 2016.

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  • What a disgusting man. He should have had to serve all of his sentence.....355 days suspended????? Shame on the judge who suspended his sentence. Hopefully the families will file a civil case.

    -- Posted by Queen53 on Fri, Jun 7, 2019, at 4:35 PM
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