EGELSTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A road rage incident early Tuesday led to a police chase near Muskegon and a crash that killed an innocent passerby and injured the suspect, the sheriff’s office says.

Muskegon County dispatchers got a report of the road rage case, which had started in neighboring Ottawa County, just after midnight. Muskegon County Undersheriff Ken Sanford said a deputy spotted the vehicles and followed them to a mobile home park on Carr Road north of E. Apple Avenue. When the deputy turned on his cruiser’s flashing lights, one of the cars stopped but the other took off. The deputy gave chase.

“He followed that vehicle onto Hall Road, still with the lights on, and the vehicle accelerated away from him. (The deputy) activated his siren and began to pursue the vehicle on Hall Road eastbound,” the undersheriff said. “They continued eastbound all the way to Maple Island Road. Our deputy was several hundred feet behind the vehicle.”

Sanford said it was about 2 minutes between the time the cruiser’s flashing lights were activated and when the crash happened.

The undersheriff said the suspect vehicle ignored the stop sign at Maple Island and hit a northbound car. The driver of that northbound car, a 53-year-old Twin Lake man, was killed.

The suspect driver, a 23-year-old Grand Rapids woman, was injured and taken to the hospital. Sanford said deputies were awaiting more information about her injuries.

“There is indication of alcohol being involved,” Sanford said. “Obviously once medical personnel arrived on the scene, there was smell of intoxicants from the driver. And obviously, we’ll do our investigation from there.”

He said criminal charges may be issued within the next few days.

The undersheriff did not release the suspect’s name nor the name of the man who was killed.

“Motor vehicles can become weapons very quickly, and this case demonstrated that,” Sanford said.

The undersheriff said the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office does not have a no-chase policy — it’s up to each deputy to decide when to chase someone. He said deputies are required to provide the reasons why and make decisions about whether to continue that pursuit after it starts.

“Is it safe to continue the pursuit? Is it not? Taking in all the environmental factors, that being traffic, speed, the ability of the driver, how well are they driving, the ability of the officer and how comfortable he is with the pursuit itself,” Sanford said.

In this case, Sanford said, the roads were dry and there wasn’t a lot of other traffic, it being the middle of the night and not a main thoroughfare like Apple Avenue.

He said the death of the innocent Twin Lake man could have been avoided if the suspect driver had simply stopped.

“Those are the dangers when people decide they’re not going to stop for the police and they’re going to do whatever they can to get away,” Sanford said. “It’s tragic.”