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Car slams into Raleigh gas station

Posted March 4, 2011

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— A car slammed into the pumps, causing a fire at a gas station at West Peace and St. Mary streets in Raleigh on Friday afternoon, authorities said. 

Police said driver Laura Avery Gillespie, 18, of Raleigh, was making a right turn from St. Mary Street on to Peace Street when a lanyard hanging from her rear-view mirror got tangled in her steering wheel, causing her car to crash into the gas pump at the Exxon station, 624 St Marys St.

viewer fire photo Car slams into Raleigh gas station

Police said an SUV was sitting at the gas pump when the wreck happened. Both vehicles caught fire. 

Susan Oakley, the driver of the SUV, was inside the convenience store at the time. 

"I was purchasing something at the gas station, and the next thing I know, I am walking out and the car is in flames," she said. "My friend was in the car. I was hoping she could get out because she looked terrified." 

Witness Todd Pratt said the woman jumped out of the car almost immediately. 

"I saw some of the flames shooting around the cars, a loud bang and some more black smoke," he said. 

No injuries were reported and no one was charged with a crime.

Broughton High School, which is located across from the station, was evacuated briefly as a precaution, Wake County schools spokesman Mike Evans said. The school was able to release students on time at 3 p.m.

Evans said other nearby schools had already released for the day and were not affected. 


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  • solarflare40 Mar 9, 2011

    bad car!

  • EverythingTicksMeOff Mar 7, 2011

    Wow, that's amazing. You can have something hanging from your mirror that prevents you from steering your car, (and evidently from using the brakes) and you can crash into a car and a gas pump and start a great big fire, and it's OK! No problem! No charges! Oh whoops!

  • EverythingTicksMeOff Mar 7, 2011

    rebeccaedwards16, that comment about "no possible charges" was added to the article after it was initially published and after comments pointed out to WRAL that there was no mention of charges.

    In fact, the article has been updated a second time to indicate that no charges were filed. It would help if WRAL identified corrections/changes to articles.

  • emeraldangeleyes Mar 4, 2011

    There was no word on possible charges. says so in the article. its a miracle no one was hurt

  • littlebobeep Mar 4, 2011

    There already is a ban on anything hanging from your mirror, not that you'd know from most of the cars I see driving around.

  • heboydiv Mar 4, 2011

    store is open now.

  • Desiderata Mar 4, 2011

    Check her phone records,,,bet she was texting!

  • epclark Mar 4, 2011

    Holy! I would hate to see her monthly insurance bill after this. That is if she can get in the first place.

  • EverythingTicksMeOff Mar 4, 2011

    Er, isn't it illegal to hang things from you mirror? Silly girl. And yes, what about using the brakes?

    And WRAL, you didn't mention if any charges were filed. Were there?

  • whyalltheproblems Mar 4, 2011

    wow...it really is a miracle nobody was killed or hurt. scary to think of what could have happened. my kids are in the car all the time when I or my husband are pumping gas. so scary, but very grateful no injuries.