Local News

Car slams into Raleigh gas station

Posted March 4, 2011 2:44 p.m. EST
Updated March 4, 2011 11:39 p.m. EST

— 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.

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.