Alexander man who caught fire following October police pursuit pleads guilty to fleeing charge

Arkansas State Police troopers use a fire extinguisher on Christopher Gaylor, 38, in North Little Rock in this image taken from dash-camera footage recorded on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022. (Image courtesy Arkansas State Police)

A 39-year-old Alexander man accidentally set on fire by a state trooper following an October pursuit in Pulaski County pleaded guilty to felony fleeing on Monday in exchange for a sentence of seven years on probation.

Christopher Shane Gaylor’s fiery encounter with troopers was the subject of a widely circulated police-camera video last year. The recording shows Gaylor, driving a black sports bike with no license plate, fleeing from Trooper Joseph Killian shortly after 1 a.m. about two weeks before Halloween.

The pursuit started on Asher Avenue in Little Rock, near the South Pine Street intersection. Gaylor, who was on parole at the time, reached about 100 mph while running two red lights. The helmeted biker next turned east onto Wright Avenue, then got on Broadway Street before turning onto Interstate 630 East, according to an arrest affidavit. The video shows Gaylor occasionally looking over his shoulder at his pursuers.

On the highway, Gaylor reached 93 mph until he got to Interstate 30 East where his speed hit 120 mph as he switched between all three lanes, the affidavit states.

Gaylor turned onto Interstate 40 eventually exiting onto Camp Robinson Road in North Little Rock where he turned into the Kroger mall parking lot. As the pursuing troopers tried to block the motorcycle, Gaylor started driving on the walkways of the strip mall.

He next drove onto Allen Street then Chandler Street where he laid down the bike while pulling into a grassy driveway between two houses. Gaylor ran but was shot with an electric stun gun by Trooper Austin Duncan who had joined the pursuit.

The first shot had no effect so Duncan used the stun gun again, which ignited a gallon of gasoline that Gaylor was carrying in a backpack. The video shows a trooper chasing the fleeing biker into the roadway while shouts of “get on the ground, get on the ground” can be heard.

Suddenly Gaylor falls to the ground and explodes in flame. The trooper jumps back with one arm extended, dropping the stun gun. The officer then runs back and off camera as someone yells, “He’s on fire! He’s on fire! Get an extinguisher!”

Gaylor, still burning, gets to his feet and begins stumbling forward, leaving a trail of fire in his wake. A second trooper who had run up toward the burning man at first moves in front of Gaylor as if to head him off then retreats as the man waves his burning arms before collapsing barely visible in an inferno.

Still engulfed, Gaylor rolls on the ground a few times before getting back on his feet, still ablaze. He takes three steps then falls to the ground. He rolls five times while screams can be heard as the troopers return with a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. The entire ordeal lasted about 19 seconds.

Gaylor was hospitalized for his injuries, with the troopers obtaining an arrest warrant for fleeing, a Class C felony that carries a 10-year maximum sentence. Records don’t show how long Gaylor was in the hospital but court records show he was arrested on the warrant in the Saline County jail on May 25.

Gaylor, who has prior convictions for drug possession, had been charged there with felon in possession of a firearm stemming from an April 2021 arrest in Alexander by police Officer Brandon Huckaba. He pleaded guilty in Saline County Circuit Court to the Class D felony charge earlier this month in exchange for a five-year suspended sentence

Monday after three months in the Pulaski County jail, Gaylor pleaded guilty to the fleeing charge in his first appearance in Pulaski County Circuit Court in exchange for probation in a plea agreement negotiated by deputy prosecutor Molly Hines and defense attorney Camille Wright.