FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The fatal crash involving a man who was chasing his wife near New Haven Sunday night was ruled an accident, according to the Allen County Coroner’s Office. The coroner has identified the Fort Wayne man as George Collins, 54.
Sheriff’s department spokesperson Corporal Jeremy Tinkel said the single-vehicle crash happened at Paulding Road and Minnich Road near I-469 around 10:30 p.m. According to the sheriff’s department, Collins was driving a van when he crashed. Collins was pronounced dead at the scene.
Authorities said it began as an argument between the married couple near the corner of Dunkelberg Road and Ashton Pointe Boulevard in southern Allen County. The wife is said to have jumped in an SUV with her daughter and drove off in an attempt to diffuse the argument. Collins hopped in a van and began chasing them, according to police.
“She confirmed that she was traveling, trying to get away from him at a high rate of speed,” said Adam Griffith with the Allen County Sheriff’s Dept. “Speeds reaching close to 100 miles an hour.”
The chase went about 12 miles before Collins lost control and was thrown from the van. The Allen County Coroner’s office said the husband wasn’t wearing his seat belt and died at the scene.
The wife, who was talking with police on the phone, heard the crash.
“The female involved was very upset, obviously shaken up from the whole incident,” Griffith said. “But the rest of the news took a toll on her as well.”
To try to understand why the wife would drive so fast to get away from her husband, NewsChannel 15 looked up Collins’ record. He has a history of violence. Collins pleaded guilty to a battery case, strangulation, and invasion of privacy in the past six years.
“It’s a tough spot. She did obviously the right thing to try and diffuse the situation but then she put herself in a situation where she didn’t know where she was and we wanted to help,” Griffith said. “We encourage people, just like the dispatchers did last night, to get to a place where public safety officials or police officers may be.”
The Allen County Coroner’s Office has ruled the death an accident. Investigators said speed is a likely factor in the crash and will await further tests to determine if alcohol was also involved.