Hoover Police Department released more information regarding the Sept. 8 car fire at The Park at Galleria Apartments on Wednesday, Oct. 21 which left one woman severely injured.
Evidence and interviews have led investigators to conclude the fire was caused by victim 26-year-old Natalie Pierre Williams’ actions, and there will be no criminal charges filed. She was severely injured in the fire and remains in the Trauma Burn Intensive Care Unit at UAB Hospital.
“This was just a sad, horrific situation from the beginning. We really didn’t know in the beginning where the evidence was going to lead us,” said Capt. Gregg Rector. “There were many people who were speculating and … the rumors were flying and the husband was actually getting accused of committing this act.”
Police report the crash, which occurred around 2 a.m., was not serious and caused minor damage to Williams’ vehicle. Natalie and her husband, Chasten Leigh Williams, acknowledged there was a verbal argument before the crash. Chasten walked away following the crash because of the argument, police said, and when he returned the car was in flames.
Chasten pulled his wife from the car. He was treated at UAB for minor burn injuries and later released.
Debris samples revealed there was an accelerant, gasoline, in the interior of the vehicle. There was also a wand style lighter found in the grassy area near the vehicle and the melted remnants of a two gallon gasoline container were found inside the vehicle.
Video surveillance from a nearby convenience store showed Natalie purchasing a lighter, gasoline container and a gallon of gasoline around 2:19 a.m., several minutes before the fire was discovered.
There were several phone conversations between Natalie and Chasten between 2:27 a.m. and 2:34 a.m., and the contents of those conversations are unknown. A 911 call reporting a car on fire came in at 2:34 a.m., and a 911 call reporting a car fully engulfed in flames came in at 2:38 a.m. Police and fire units arrived on scene at 2:39 a.m.
“We were fortunate that we were able to recover as much physical evidence that we did, and we were fortunate that we had the video evidence from the Kangaroo Express,” Rector said.
Rector said the video surveillance allowed police to ask the right questions and make a definitive ruling in the case. The investigation is now complete, and no more details will be released.
“It is the hope of the Hoover Police and Fire Department that the victim is able to have a full recovery,” Rector said. “We urge everyone to please offer encouragement and support, not judgment, to this family in their time of need.”