A driver who Portage Police said was fleeing a traffic stop early Wednesday
morning crashed head on into an oncoming vehicle on Willowcreek Road, in an
accident which killed both himself and a passenger in the other car.
Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris identified the deceased driver as Simon
Moffat, 40, of Portage; and the deceased passenger in the other vehicle as
Karina Gonzalez, 33, also of Portage.
According to police, at 2:54 a.m. an officer observed a gray Nissan Altima--later
discovered to be driven by Moffat--exit the drive-through at the McDonald’s
on U.S. Highway 6 at a high rate of speed. The officer was then informed by
a McDonald’s employee that the Nissan’s driver “was acting strange, possibly
intoxicated,” prompting the officer to follow the Nissan, which by this time
was northbound on Willowcreek Road from Veterans Ave., police said.
The officer followed the Nissan through a green light at the intersection of
Willowcreek Road and U.S. 6 and tried to perform a traffic stop, police
said, but the Nissan’s driver ignored the activated emergency lights and
siren and instead continued northbound on Willowcreek Road and past Marbella
The Nissan’s driver then “suddenly swerved” left of the center line, crossed
both southbound lanes of traffic, hit the raised curb, and straightened,
only to drive “directly into an oncoming vehicle,” a Chevrolet Malibu whose
passenger was Gonzalez.
Police called the crash “violent” and said that a fire started in the
Nissan’s engine compartment.
Both Moffat and Gonzalez were pronounced dead at the scene and Harris told
the Chesterton Tribune today that Gonzalez died of multiple blunt
force trauma. An autopsy on Moffat was scheduled for this morning.
The male driver of the Malibu was airlifted to a South Bend hospital, police
Willowcreek Road was closed for several hours following the crash.
“We do not know at this time why the driver of the Nissan failed to
initially stop and are saddened by the outcome of this encounter,” Portage
Police Chief Troy Williams said. “The investigation continues.”