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Driver pleads not guilty in Chandler gas station fire accident

(MCSO Mugshot)

PHOENIX – A Chandler man whose car hit a gas station pump that set off a fire that injured a woman has pleaded not guilty to charges.

Clemente Torres entered his plea Thursday at an arraignment in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Prosecutors said the 21-year-old was driving impaired at the time of the Oct. 24 incident at Chandler Boulevard and Alma School Road.

Torres was booked on counts of aggravated assault, endangerment, leaving scene of a serious injury accident and criminal damage.

Authorities said Torres pulled up to a pump that was on the other side of his gas tank. He stomped on the gas pedal as he backed out, causing the car to slide.

A witness said Torres’ car crashed into another car and a pump, which caught fire.

A woman nearby who was filling her tank suffered second-degree burns.

Torres and a store clerk tried to put out the fire but when they failed, Torres ran away, Chandler police said.

He was found shortly afterward and taken into custody.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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