Investigators have released the name of the man who died Wednesday in a
fiery crash on U.S. Highway 20.
The Porter County Sheriff’s Police identified the victim as Morton Arnsdorf,
M.D., 69, a Beverly Shores resident and a prominent cardiologist at the
University of Chicago Medical Center.
According to police, at 5:32 p.m. Arnsdorf was eastbound on U.S. 20 when he
began slowing his 2007 SAAB to turn left onto northbound C.R. 300E. As he
slowed, he was rear ended by a 1996 Dodge Neon driven by a 17-year-old
Michigan City boy, police said.
The impact drove Arnsdorf’s SAAB across the center line and into the
westbound lanes of U.S. 20, where he was struck by an oncoming 2003 Mercury
driven by John Merrell, 62, of Portage.
The SAAB, with Arnsdorf in it, became engulfed in flames. Arnsdorf was
pronounced dead at the scene.
Coroner Robert Schulte told the Chesterton Tribune today that, while
he’s still waiting for the preliminary results of an autopsy conducted on
Thursday, he believes that the collision rendered Arnsdorf immediately
The 17-year-old driver of the Neon—whose name the PCSP has not yet
released—was airlifted to a South Bend hospital
“Alcohol is believed to be a contributing factor,” the PCSP said.
“Investigators are waiting on the toxicology results from the 17-year-old
old driver of the Dodge Neon. The investigation is continuing. The Porter
County Prosecutor’s Office is reviewing the case for charges.”
Merrell, whose Mercury Arnsdorf’s SAAB was pushed into, and a passenger in
the Neon, were transported for treatment to Saint Anthony Memorial Health
Center in Michigan City.
According to the University of Chicago Medical Center’s website, Arnsdorf
was a “nationally known cardiologist” who served as chief of the UC Section
of Cardiology for nine years, a master of the American College of
Cardiology—an honor bestowed on fewer than 50 cardiologists in the
nation—and an “accomplished researcher” whose interests included
arrhythmias, hypertension, and atherosclerosis.