Man arrested at scene of explosion pleads not guilty - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Man arrested at scene of explosion pleads not guilty

Ricky Jones Ricky Jones

By Larry Shields - email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The man arrested December 23rd at the scene of a big explosion at a gas station on Dixie Highway appeared in court Friday where he entered a not guilty plea.

Steven Askew was charged with wanton endangerment and criminal mischief after witnesses said he used a chain saw to cut into a gas pipe at an old gas station at the corner of Standard Avenue and Dixie Highway Thursday afternoon.  The chain saw created sparks which ignited gas fumes, causing the explosion.  Police say Askew was attempting to steal the metal pipe.

Askew appeared before Jefferson District Court Judge David  Holton, II Friday morning.  Holton ordered Askew held on $50,000 bond.  He will be back in court on January 3rd.

The explosion tossed a pickup truck into the air that then came crashing down with enough force to form a crater that partially swallowed the vehicle.

Neighbors say they felt the earth shake.

Ricky Jones was crossing the street not far from the gas station when he was jolted by the explosion.

"I went to step on the street to cross, and just kablooey!" Jones said. "I mean the whole thing - the truck, the concrete, everything - went up so high it went out of sight and then it just came back down."

Jones says the blast threw him into the air along with the truck, causing Jones to fear the worst.

"He went up in the air and came back down, and I thought he was hurt," Jones said. "I was going to call the ambulance, but as I got closer, he got up and ran."

Copyright 2010 WAVE News. All rights reserved.

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