Man killed after hitting several vehicles, crashing into light pole during deputy chase

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The suspects? car, a Chrysler 300, was demolished when it hit the light pole. The driver, Eric Deshaun Willis, 32, was killed. (KFSN)

The suspects' car, a Chrysler 300, was demolished when it hit the light pole. The driver, Eric Deshaun Willis, 32, was killed.

Willis was fleeing a sheriff's deputy who had spotted him speeding and pulled up behind him at a red light at Bullard and Palm.

"Just as he turned on his lights to make a traffic stop on this suspect the light turned green the suspect took off westbound at a high rate of speed. The deputy estimates that he got up to 100 miles an hour once the pursuit was initiated," said Tony Botti, Fresno County sheriff's Department.

Botti said the chase lasted only 30 seconds.

"Once he got to Bullard and West he saw the suspect crash into a minivan that was at the intersection, causing the car to spin out into a street light pole causing the crash."

Willis appeared to have died instantly.

The minivan Willis hit was totaled and the driver of the minivan suffered minor injuries.

Felix Reynaga was working in his ice cream shop when he heard the crash and saw the aftermath.

"We just looked outside our window, we just seen a car, you know, unfortunately wrapped around a pole-- debris everywhere. To see that literally outside our window was definitely shocking."

Botti said the deputy followed proper procedures.

"We gave him every chance to pull over and get a simple traffic violation for speeding; he's the one who chose to take it to the next level and evade us which cost him his life."

It is not clear why Willis fled, but a search of court records indicates he had a long criminal history. Over the past 10 years he had numerous arrests for domestic violence, assault with a deadly weapon, reckless driving, driving under the influence, and illegal possession of a firearm.

In searching the wreckage of Willis car deputies found a handgun

Because this crash happened in the city limits Fresno police are investigating.
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