CALIFORNIA—On Saturday, March 20, three people were killed in a crash when a motorist in a high-speed chase with a Fresno police officer collided with multiple cars in Fresno. The driver has been identified as 20-year-old Francisco Portillo. The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office says one man in one vehicle, and two women in a second vehicle died as a result of injuries sustained.
According to reports, at 11 p.m. a Fresno County Sheriff deputy saw a black Chevy Camaro near Highway 41 and McKinley Avenue driving recklessly. The deputy tried to pull the Camaro over, but Portillo, took off at speeds over 100 miles per hour down McKinley.
After Portillo ran a red light at the intersection of McKinley Avenue and First Street, deputies backed off the chase. Moments later Portillo damaged several cars at McKinley and Cedar Avenues, which caused an explosion.
Before the Fresno Fire Department arrived, several deputies pulled out fire extinguishers to fight the flames spreading to six other cars. Lt. Israel Reyes indicated deputies tried to pull people out of the burning cars, but were unable to due to the intensity of the flames.
Authorities stated that Portillo and his girlfriend, who was a passenger in the Camaro, were taken to Community Regional Medical Center in critical condition. One other person was rushed to the hospital with serious injuries. Those killed in the crash have not yet been identified. Portillo could face charges related to vehicular manslaughter and felony evading, Lt. Reyes indicated.