Woodford County

Officials close fatal crash investigation involving Fayette County prosecutor

Officials in Woodford County say they probably will never know what caused a fiery crash that killed Fayette County prosecutor Brian Mattone in May.

Versailles police closed their investigation "a couple weeks ago" after receiving toxicology reports that showed Mattone had not used drugs or alcohol before the wreck, officials said.

Despite an extensive investigation, "I don't think we'll ever be able to determine why he ran off the road," Versailles police Lt. Daniel Clark said.

Mattone, a first assistant county attorney, was driving his Toyota 4Runner east on Old Frankfort Pike shortly after 10 p.m. May 2 when the vehicle hit a tree, went through a plank fence and burst into flames.

He was killed on impact before the car caught fire, Woodford County Coroner Ronald Owens said.

Toxicology results came back last month, about 30 days after the wreck, he said.

"Everything was negative," Owens said. "He didn't have anything in his system."

The wreck raised questions from the start, officials said. Clark said there was no "roadway evidence," such as skid marks, that might have helped police figure out what happened before the wreck.

Police were unable to determine whether Mattone was using his cellphone, Clark said. The phone was destroyed in the wreck, and phone records were inconclusive, he said.

Clark said there was evidence Mattone was going faster than the 55 mph speed limit, but that didn't necessarily explain why his vehicle left the road. He said Mattone could have been tired; he had been biking in Frankfort that evening after working all day. But there was no way investigators could determine whether he fell asleep at the wheel.

It's unusual but not unheard of for the cause of a wreck to remain undetermined, Clark said.

Mattone had been second in command at Fayette County Attorney Larry Roberts' office since Roberts took office in 2006. Before that, he worked for Fayette County Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson.

Lee Turpin, who previously worked as the director of criminal prosecution, took Mattone's job as first assistant county attorney. Turpin said Mattone's co-workers would like to have known what caused the wreck, even though it wouldn't have changed the outcome.

"You wish you were there and knew exactly what happened," she said. But "it doesn't change the good person he was or the good things he did during his life, and it doesn't change how much we miss him."

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader