About Our People Legal Stuff
Smoke billows from a section of an overpass that collapsed from a large fire on Interstate 85 in Atlanta, Thursday, March 30, 2017. Witnesses say troopers were telling cars to turn around on the bridge because they were concerned about its integrity. Minutes later, the bridge collapsed. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

A suspect in the Atlanta bridge fire reportedly talked about smoking crack before the fire


A suspect in the Atlanta arson that collapsed an Interstate 85 bridge reportedly discussed smoking crack cocaine at the time of the fire, court documents showed.

Basil Eleby, 39, was charged with arson. Two other people were charged with criminal trespass in the incident, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Eleby told officers he met Barry Thomas and Sophia Brauer beneath the bridge and discussed smoking crack but decided he would "consume the drugs by himself" and left before the fire started.

A suspect in the Atlanta bridge fire reportedly talked about smoking crack before the fire

WATCH | Here's a look at the massive fire.

Basil Eleby is escorted out into the courtroom by his public defender and two Fulton County Sheriff's office officers at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta on Saturday, April 1, 2017. Eleby, accused of starting a raging fire that collapsed a portion of Interstate 85 a few miles north of downtown Atlanta was charged with arson. The first-degree arson charge was added to a first-degree criminal damage to property charge Eleby already faced in connection with the fire Thursday evening that caused a heavily traveled overpass to disintegrate. Total bond was set at $200,000. (Henry P. Taylor/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, Pool)

Barry Thomas, one of the people charged with trespass, gave a conflicting report. He told police he saw Eleby put a chair on top of a shopping car and light a fire under it. All three people were reportedly homeless and lived near the bridge. 

In addition to the arson charge, Eleby faces a charge of criminal damage to property. Judge James Altman said he considered setting bond, currently at $200,000, at an amount closer to the amount of damage the fire caused.

"That would amount to hundreds of millions of dollars," Altman said, explaining his decision not to increase the bond.

Interstate 85, which USA Today reports carries 250,000 vehicles daily, was reopened on Saturday, though a timeline for the bridge's repair is not yet clear.

The biggest technology failures in recent history
Check out our list

Read Comments
Facebook Twitter Instagram Pinterest Linked In List Menu Enlarge Gallery Info Menu Close Angle Down Angle Up Angle Left Angle Right Grid Grid Play Align Left Search Youtube Mail Mail Angle Down Bookmark