PORTAGE | Police said they were attempting to stop a suspicious driver early Wednesday when the man fled northbound from U.S. 6 on Willowcreek Road and crashed into an oncoming car -- killing himself and a female passenger in the other vehicle.
The deceased driver was identified as 40-year-old Portage resident Simon P. Moffat, according to Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris.
The woman, who was also pronounced dead at the scene, was Karina Gonzalez, 33, of Portage, Harris said.
The driver of the second vehicle, Rogelio Gonzalez, was airlifted to Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center in South Bend, Harris said.
A Portage police officer reportedly saw a gray Nissan Altima drive off at a high rate of speed from the McDonald's drive-thru window on U.S. 6 at 2:54 a.m. The officer drove to the window and was told the driver of the Altima had acted strange and was possibly intoxicated.
The officer caught up with the Altima in the northbound lanes of Willowcreek Road at U.S. 6 and initiated a traffic stop when the light turned green, police said. The Altima accelerated rather than stop and, after passing Marbella Avenue, suddenly swerved to the left into the southbound lanes and into the path of an oncoming Chevrolet Malibu.
The crash resulted in a fire in the engine compartment of the Altima, police said.
All three people had to be extracted from the vehicles, police said.
The crash closed Willowcreek Road for a few hours while police investigated and the scene was cleared of debris.
Police are uncertain why Moffat did not stop his vehicle, but an autopsy is planned for Thursday.