VALPARAISO | A driver is dead and his passenger severely injured after a car skidded off an icy stretch of Joliet Road early Saturday and into a tree.
The Porter County Sheriff's Department identified the deceased as Michael Malone Jr., 22, of Valparaiso.
His passenger was Ryan Allison, 22, of Valparaiso.
Porter County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Larry LaFlower said the 1991 Dodge Stealth was westbound on Joliet Road near County Road 250 West when it began skidding on ice that formed from snow melt runoff that had refrozen during the night. The car left the pavement and struck a tree after rolling on its roof.
Police said an unidentified passerby called a 911 police dispatcher about 3 a.m. Saturday to report the wreck. He said he checked Malone, found no pulse and then drove Allison to Porter Regional Hospital.
The Valparaiso Fire Department and Porter County coroner's office arrived and Malone was pronounced dead at the scene. Allison was being treated in the hospital's intensive care unit.
A hospital nurse declined Saturday afternoon to comment on Allison's condition.
LaFlower said investigators have initially identified road conditions and speed as contributing factors and will be testing to determine if drugs or alcohol were involved.