Driver in fiery gas station crash charged after striking house - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Driver in fiery gas station crash charged after colliding into house

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John Ward (Photo from Clarksville PD) John Ward (Photo from Clarksville PD)
Photo courtesy Clarksville PD Photo courtesy Clarksville PD
CLARKSVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Clarksville police say a driver who last month crashed into a gas station pump, igniting a fire that seriously burned a pedestrian, has now crashed a vehicle into a house. Tamera Scorpio and her two children were not home at the time.

"I pulled into the subdivision, and I came down the street. There were about 10 emergency vehicles in front of my home," said Scorpio.

John Ward was driving a Ford SUV rental vehicle Monday about 12:45 p.m. in the 3200 block of Twelve Oaks Boulevard when the vehicle left the road and collided into a garage, causing possible structural damage to the house's foundation, police said.

"Police said he had been under a lot of stress lately and had medical and personal things going on," said Scorpio.

Police said the cause of Monday's crash is under investigation.

Ward was also behind the wheel July 4 when an out-of-control Lincoln MKZ slammed into a gas pump at an Exxon station on South Riverside Drive in Clarksville, causing an explosion.

A pedestrian, Chris Porter, walking through the gas station parking lot, was unable to avoid a fireball caused by the explosion and proceeded to roll on the ground to extinguish flames on his legs.

Ward said he blacked out behind the wheel before the gas station wreck.

Porter, who was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in critical but stable condition, has since been released from the hospital to recover at home.

Tuesday, police arrested Ward at a Wilma Rudolph Boulevard hotel where he'd been staying on a charge of reckless driving. Police said they're still waiting on toxicology reports on both wrecks, but the reckless driving charge only applies to the crash at the home Monday.

"We requested for the Department of Safety to evaluate his driver's license," said Sgt. Chuck Gill of the Clarksville Police Department. "You need to remember, the only ones that can take a driver's license is the Department of Safety or a judge."

Before his arrest Tuesday, Ward repeatedly ignored requests for a comment by Channel 4 at his hotel room and by phone. While police said they're filling out paperwork to quicken the process of evaluating Ward's license, Ward's license is still valid.

"We can't stop him from driving until a judge tells us or the Department of Safety revokes or cancels his license," said Gill.

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