Home News Local News Pursuit ends in explosion as fleeing vehicle hits gas pumps

Pursuit ends in explosion as fleeing vehicle hits gas pumps

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A charred fuel pump at the Bell Gas station at 1815 Southeast Main Street in Roswell Monday afternoon. The pump was damaged when a pickup truck being pursued by a Chaves County sheriff's deputy crashed into two pumps, leading to a fire. The suspect fled the scene and a female gas station employee sustained burns from the fire.

A suspect remained at large Monday afternoon after leading local law enforcement on a chase that culminated with him crashing into gas pumps at a local gas station, resulting in an explosion that left one woman with severe burns.

The suspect was described by Deputy Jeremy Parmer of the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office as a slim Hispanic male. Parmer declined to release the name of the suspect citing the ongoing nature of the investigation.

The pursuit began shortly before 6 a.m. Monday when Roswell police attempted to initiate a traffic stop on a stolen vehicle in the area of Third Street and Orchard Avenue, Todd Wildermuth, public information officer with the Roswell Police Department, said.

Parmer, who was involved in the later part of the pursuit, identified the vehicle as a Ford F-250 super duty pickup.

Wildermuth said when the officer tried to make a stop, the suspect fled in the pickup, driving recklessly at high speeds and ignoring traffic signs and signals amid the early morning traffic. The officer canceled the chase in accordance with Department policy designed to maintain public safety.

Shortly thereafter a Chaves County sheriff’s deputy began pursuing the pickup into south Roswell. The chase ended when the driver rammed into two gas pumps — one containing diesel and the other propane — at the Bell Gas Station on Southeast Main Street, leading to an explosion that fully engulfed the pickup, Sheriff Mike Herrington said.

A female employee at the gas station who was outside when the pickup collided with the pumps received third degree burns to her arms. She has since been transported to a hospital in Lubbock for treatment, Herrington said.

Within about 15 to 20 minutes, the Roswell Fire Department had the fire extinguished, Wildermuth said.

The driver of the pickup fled the scene and is still at large, Parmer said.

People with information about the whereabouts of the individual should contact the Sheriff’s Office at 575-624-6500.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext, 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.