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Innocent man killed in police pursuit laid to rest

James Williford, the 32-year-old who was hit and killed during a police pursuit through South Austin, was laid to rest Wednesday.

AUSTIN --Wednesday afternoon there wasa slow processiondown the aisle of Highland Baptist Church to JustaCloser Walk with Thee. It wasa walk the parents of 32-year-old James Williford thought they would never have to make, and a walk James' wife, Esther, is making too soon,saying goodbye to her husband of just a year and a half.

Each of us gathered here today were touched in some way by James, saidReverend Cheryl Kimble to the crowd of hundreds there to say their final goodbyes to Williford.

He was just so good to everyone, said Williford's sister-in-law Rose Seoanes. There's not a person that I've met that has said anything negative about him because he was just that good to everyone. It's really hard to see that he's gone because he was a great person.

He was a great person who his friends say was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Williford left work early on Friday June 15, after learning the night before that a friend was in hospice,diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer.

He was going to send a message to her, and then he was going to go deposit some money into her hospice account, said Williford's childhood friendPaul Toohey. Once again, he's always taking care of the people around him.

While he was going through the light at Pack Saddle Pass and Ben White Boulevard,a Ford F-250 pickup truckran a red light,slamming into Williford. Police say 37-year-old Reynaldo Hernandez, Jr.stole the truck from Barton Creek Square Malland lead police on a 90-second chase, reaching speeds of more than 90 mph.

Sadly, both Williford and his friend with cancer died Friday.

Williford's wife was too emotional to talk Wednesday,so her sister Rose read her handwritten note.

I know James would want to keep helping even after his death. SoI want to start a James David Williford Memorial Fund for innocent victims of crime, Rose read.

It's a way to remember a caring husband,devoted friendand giving neighbor to all he met.

Williford's family decidedthere was only one way to send him on. A fan of the Boston Red Sox Baseball team, Williford's body was taken out of the church as an organist plaid Take Me Out to the Ball Game.

Hernandez has been charged with murder. He is in the Travis County Jail with bond set at more than $1.2 million.

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