Fiery crash traps Circle K clerk as careening car smashes into gas pumps

Flames trapped a store clerk early Monday when a car crashed into the fuel pumps and hit the building.

Just before 2 a.m. at the Circle K at 3802 Northside Drive, a 2014 Toyota Camry hit the curb at the Elnora Drive entrance, clipped the landscaping and hit a fuel pump.

“It’s amazing no one was killed,” said a man waiting for a work crew to begin repairs at the convenience store next to The Wellness Center, Navicent Health.

Bibb County sheriff’s Deputy Scott Rickert was patrolling nearby and witnessed the accident.

The pump was torn from the fuel island and smashed into the front corner of the building where it erupted into flames.

The clerk, working inside the protective glass compartment, could not open the door to escape.

Bibb County deputies patrolling the area responded immediately.

Rickert pulled the clerk over the counter and out of the window of the cashier’s compartment, said Macon-Bibb Fire Battalion Chief Todd Alligood.

Another deputy chased and apprehended the fleeing driver, Howard McKinney III, of Stockbridge, who was charged with driving under the influence.

McKinney smelled of alcohol, admitted he had a few drinks earlier and failed a field sobriety test, according to the arrest report.

McKinney was taken to Coliseum Northside Hospital and gave the nurse permission to try one time to draw his blood.

The nurse was not able to get a vein on the first try, and McKinney refused to be stuck again, the report noted.

A Circle K manager on site was not able to comment, but it appears the store could be closed for weeks.

Northside Drive was blocked for a couple of hours and a fire crew watched the building overnight.

The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the crash.

Liz Fabian: 478-744-4303, @liz_lines