NORTH LIBERTY –St. Joseph County police have released the names of the two people killed in a head-on collision near North Liberty late Saturday night.
Just after 10 p.m., police were called to the 64700 block of State Road 23 at Osborne Road. According to Sgt. William Redman, an off-duty county officer arrived on the scene almost immediately.
Evidence shows 34-year-old Jeremy Lawton of South Bend (formerly of North Liberty and Walkerton) was heading north on SR 23 when he tried to pass another northbound vehicle. That's when Lawton's Chevy Lumina collided with a southbound Honda Accord, driven by 69-year-old James Menges of Walkerton.
Police say it appears Menges tried to avoid the collision but couldn't.
Both men were trapped in their cars. Police say Menges died immediately and Lawton passed away on the scene nearly an hour after the wreck.
After running an Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles check, police learned Lawton was an habitual traffic violator and failed to have a valid state driver's license.
Neighbors in the area helped emergency crews by using a fire extinguisher and a garden hose to control the fire until firefighters arrived.
The St. Joseph County Sheriff's Department continues its probe into the crash and is asking anyone with information to call the department at 235-9611.