An Eastern Shore man pumped gasoline into the car in which his estranged wife was sitting and then set it on fire Friday night, causing an explosion and sending both to the hospital, according to Maryland State Police.
An arrest warrant was issued for Pernell Clanton Jr., 47, of the 100 block of Forest Drive in Grasonville charging him with attempted first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, first-degree malicious burning, first- and second-degree arson, and two counts of malicious destruction of property over $500.
Clanton is under guard at Bayview Hospital, where he is being treated for injuries he sustained from the fire.
Police dentified the victim as Yolanda M. Clanton, 43, who was taken to a hospital for burns to her face and arm. Court records show that on Aug. 14 she was granted a protective order, which was made final Thursday, requiring her husband to surrender firearms and to stay away from their home and his wife's workplace.
At about 10:30 p.m. Friday, police from the Centreville Barracks responded to a call at a convenience store in the 100 block of Main St. in Stevensville and found a 2002 Dodge Intrepid engulfed in flames next to a gas pump. Yolanda Clanton told police that the pair had stopped for gas. When her estranged husband began pumping fuel while smoking a cigar, she said she told him he should not be smoking around the pumps, according to the release.
She told police that she was still seat-belted in the driver's seat when her husband removed the pump nozzle from the gas tank and began pumping gas into the car through an open rear window. According to the release, Pernell Clanton used a lighter to ignite the gas in the car, and she escaped the vehicle just as it exploded.
A nearby motorist was able to use the emergency cutoff switch to turn off the pumps. Crews from the Stevensville Volunteer Fire Department put out the fire. The car was destroyed but neither the gas pumps nor the store caught fire.
The investigation is continuing.