Henderson Chase Leads to Gas Station Crash

"All I saw was smoke coming out, and then I, as I stood, the fire started coming out of the building.... I beat most of the fire trucks here.” Tony Gonnella said Saturday, as crews worked to put out the flames at his EZ Shop gas station.

Just after 11 AM Saturday, Henderson Police say 20-year-old Henry Dixon was threatening that he had a gun and was going to kill his family. Dixon was arrested in December for an attempted kidnapping.

Dixon was located at Murphy Oil on Barret Boulevard. Officers pursed Dixon on 41 North and then North Green Street. The chase was called off at Second and North Green Street because the area was too populated.

A few hours later, officers spotted Dixon at K-Mart. Police say he took off in his vehicle, hitting one of the officer’s vehicles.

Police shut down traffic at Clay and 41 South, saying Dixon was dodging multiple cars. Eventually, Dixon made his way down Airline Drive. Witnesses tell police he drove directly into the parking lot, first striking a gas pump, before crashing right into the building.

Incredibly, the two people inside managed to escape injury free.

"There was one customer in the building at the time, along with one of the employees. The customer reached over, grabbed the employee, drug her over the counter, trying to get her out of the building,” Henderson Police Officer Jennifer Richmond said.

“I can't say anymore about the cashier. She had the sense to push the emergency stop button on the way outside, and that kills all the electricity to the pumps, and things, so no gas could possibly get involved. And none did,” Gonnella said.

“Which saved further lives. Both of these people are heroes,” Richmond added.

Dixon wasn't done running. He took off on foot.

"He picked up a tree limb and attempted to swing at an officer, at which time that officer tazed him. He is now in custody,” Richmond said.

Gonnella said the next step is to meet with contractors, and figure out if the building is a total loss.

“I'm shaking like a leaf right now. I'm just, it's intense,” he said.

Gonnella and police say they’re amazed given everything that happened Saturday, everyone came out relatively unscathed.

 “He went around a lot of traffic at this very busy intersection.  It is a miracle that no one was injured either on the road ways or at the gas station itself,” Richmond said.

Gonnella added he’s hopeful the EZ Shop will be back open at some point.

Dixon faces charges of first degree fleeing in a vehicle, first degree wanton endangerment, and first degree criminal mischief.

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