Cops: Speeding car slams into gas pump, bursts into flames
CASSELBERRY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -
A man accused of crashing his speeding car into a Casselberry gas pump early Friday, engulfing it in flames, is expected to make a first appearance before a judge this afternoon.
Joseph Jerome Coon, 27, of Fern Park is charged with reckless driving, hit-and-run leaving the scene of a crash involving property damage and driving with a suspended license.
Casselberry Police say that just before 2 a.m. Friday, an officer saw a car speed through a red light on southbound S.R. 436 at Sausalito Boulevard and pursued it.
The officer saw the Volvo speed toward Howell Branch Road and turn on his patrol car's light.
As the Volvo tried to make a right onto Howell Branch, it lost control, police say. It jumped a curb and entered the parking lot of BP gas station on the corner.
The car then struck a gas pump and burst into flames.
Two men got out of the car, police say. One exited the drivers side door and ran toward a nearby apartment complex. The BP store clerk said the other man casually walked out of the car.
"I was thinking about the guy who was in there. but the minute he hit the pump, he just walked out like it was nothing," Cesar Valencia said.
Valencia said he saw the fire and quickly shut off the gas pumps.
"I just saw the gas pump, and the emergency button and hit it and ran for my life after that," Valencia said.
Police say the man who ran off returned shortly later was the car's driver and later identified him as Coons. The passenger told police he was getting a ride from Coons from an Orlando bar when the car suddenly accelerated and slammed into the gas pump.
The BP store is open while repairs are made and the investigation continues.