CHICAGO (CBS) — A suspected drunken driver who police said crashed his car in Will County in November is now charged with burning down a former friend’s shed.
The Will County Sheriff’s police started investigating Anthony Dvorak, 35, in the arson after they found him with burned feet.READ MORE: Pfizer Says COVID-19 Vaccine Works In Kids Ages 5 To 11; Will Seek U.S. Authorization
Dvorak is charged with arson and criminal damage to property and was also cited for driving under the influence, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, and operating an uninsured motor vehicle, according to the Will County Sheriff’s office.
At 11:05 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8, sheriff’s deputies were called to the 9500 block of Pauling Road in the Will County community of Manhattan, after learning that a 2017 Chevrolet Silverado had hit a utility pole. The driver, Dvorak, was found injured in a nearby field and was taken to Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, police said.
Dvorak had suffered facial bruising, a fractured nose, and a cut above his eye, but also had severe burns on his feet, police said. At the time, he was charged with drunken driving and ticketed for other driving violations, police said.
Deputies talked with witnesses at the scene, who said they saw Dvorak crashed into the pole after they earlier spotted him with no shoes on, and with burned feet, as he tried to walk away. But the Silverado was not on fire and there was no fire anywhere around it either, police said.
The vehicle was later towed and searched, and police found a handheld torch and a small lighter.READ MORE: Three-Car Crash In West Rogers Park Shatters Nearby Bus Stop
That same evening at 11 p.m., a husband and wife had called police from the 11000 block of Pauling Road. They said their pole barn, or shed, was on fire, police said.
Manhattan and Peotone fire crews had already put out the fire when police arrived. The homeowners told police that shortly after they saw their shed on fire, they got text alerts from Green Garden Township about an accident nearby – and also saw Facebook community page photos showing a Silverado had hit a pole, police said.
The couple thought the vehicle belonged to Dvorak, and told police recently had a falling out with Dvorak after having had previous problems with him, and had decided to end their friendship with him.
On Monday, Nov. 9, sheriff’s detectives met at the Pauling Road residence with fire investigators, and an Illinois State Police K9 officer named Phantom sniffed a flammable liquid at the scene of the shed fire. The Illinois State Fire Marshal concluded that the fire was set outside the service door and traveled into the shed.
The combustible substance had a smell like gasoline and was ignited by an open flame, police said. Charred fabric and other items were collected as evidence.
Estimated damage to the shed and its contents amounted to $300,000, police said.MORE NEWS: Historic St. Paul Lutheran Church In Suburban Beecher Burns Down In Fire
A warrant was issued for Dvorak’s arrest, and he surrendered to police in Frankfort this past Friday. He was out on bond as of Monday.