A police chase involving a suspected DUI driver in central Fresno on Thursday ended in a fiery crash near Fresno City College, Fresno police said.
A black Ford F150 pickup was spotted by a motorcycle officer driving erratically on southbound Blackstone Avenue, near Princeton Avenue, around 2:29 p.m., Lt. Joe Gomez said. The pickup appeared to be driving too fast for conditions and the driver, who was not wearing a seat belt, almost rear-ended a stopped vehicle.
The driver, later identified as Donald Whitley, 37, sped away from the motorcycle officer after stopping for a brief moment on Effie Street near Harvard Avenue, Gomez said. The motorcycle officer gave chase as Whitley drove through several stop signs down Effie Street, including one on Clinton Avenue.
Whitley collided head-on into a utility pole near Effie Street and University Avenue after speeding through the Fresno City College parking lot adjacent to Ratcliffe Stadium, Gomez said. The pickup had several containers of pool supply chemicals in the truck bed and they ignited after the crash.
He was arrested at Effie Street and Home Avenue after trying to escape the crash, Gomez said. Whitley was taken to Community Regional Medical Center for treatment of lacerations on his left hand from jumping a barbed-wire fence.
The chemical fire was put out by Fresno Fire Department’s hazardous materials unit, Gomez said. Whitley was arrested for suspected DUI, hit-and-run and evading a police officer. He will later be booked into the Fresno County jail.