A 38-year-old Biddeford man, who was killed in a motorcycle crash early Thursday morning, had been chased briefly by a police officer who tried to pull him over for speeding.

John H. Fontaine was driving a 2003 Harley-Davidson motorcycle at about 1:40 a.m. inbound on Brighton Avenue when he passed a Portland officer “at a very high rate of speed,” according to a news release from Lt. Clifford Strout.

The officer tried to pull over the driver but lost sight of the motorcycle as he approached Rosemont Corner, the release said.

The officer cut off pursuit and turned off his emergency lights and siren. Seconds later, other motorcyclists whom he saw stopped at Brighton and Stevens avenues alerted him to the crash at nearby Bradley Street.

Fontaine, who was not wearing a helmet, crashed into a tree, which caused his motorcycle to catch fire, the release said.

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