NEW BLOOMFIELD, Pa. (AP) - A man loaded the interior of his
station wagon with open buckets of gasoline and lit the car on
fire, sending the vehicle into flames as it barreled toward town
square, authorities said. The driver was killed.
Authorities believe the man in the car was driving toward the
workplace of his wife, who was trying to divorce him, the coroner
said Saturday.
No one else was injured Friday by explosions from the car, which
came to a stop after hitting an unoccupied vehicle, then pushing
another.
Several people tried to help the driver but were driven back by
smoke and flames that burned nearby road signs and melted other
cars' tires.
Perry County Coroner Michael Shalonis on Saturday did not
identify the man killed, saying he was waiting for dental records
to make a positive identification. But he said the man is believed
to be a 44-year-old New Bloomfield man whose wife works at a
pharmacy in the square.
"He lit himself off 50 feet too soon; he came within 30 feet of
the pharmacy," Shalonis said.
The man believed to have been driving had been served with
divorce and custody papers Friday morning.
Shalonis said the car contained at least six 3Ĺ- or 5-gallon
buckets filled with gasoline, and police were reviewing
surveillance tapes of nearby gas stations to try to determine where
they were filled. Authorities do not know how the gas ignited, he
said.
Authorities are acting on the assumption that the man was trying
to kill himself and perhaps his wife, Shalonis said.
"There was no other reason for him to have that much gas in the
car, especially open containers, and he was heading the wrong way
on the street," Shalonis said.
New Bloomfield is about 110 miles west of Philadelphia.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)