State

Man tries to set himself on fire following police chase in Gaston County

GASTONIA, N.C. (WSOC) - Authorities in Gaston County arrested a man who they said tried to set himself on fire following a police chase which ended in Gastonia overnight.

Gaston County police told Channel 9 that around 2 a.m. they spotted a car wanted in connection with a previous arson in Dallas on Wednesday.

READ MORE from ABC affiliate WSOC here.

After a 5-mile chase, Christopher Watkins stopped in the middle of Bessemer City Road near Ross Road.

That's when deputies said he set the inside of his car on fire and doused himself in flammable liquid.

Officers were able to tackle him before he caught fire, and took him into custody.

His name has not been released.

“I’ve been here 17 years. I have never heard anything like this,” said Gaston County Police Sgt. J.T. Avery. “It’s very unusual, very scary.”

Police said the man will face several traffic charges and possibly an arson charge for setting the car on fire.


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