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Meet The Dirtbag Who Set Fire To I-85 In Atlanta Who Has 19 PRIOR Arrests

Meet The Dirtbag Who Set Fire To I-85 In Atlanta Who Has 19 PRIOR Arrests

The man accused of setting the fire that wrecked part of I-85 in Atlanta this week was smoking crack cocaine at the time of the blaze, newly obtained documents showed on Saturday. 

The fire collapsed a well-traveled stretch of I-85 — triggering millions of dollars in damage and wreaking havoc on traffic, potentially for months to come.

Wearing a navy jumpsuit, flip-flops and handcuffs, Basil Eleby reluctantly shuffled into a courtroom at the Fulton County jail for his first appearance hearing Saturday morning. After she was denied a request for her client to skip the hearing altogether, Eleby’s public defender used a green folder to try to hide Eleby’s face from the gathered media. 

Judge James Altman, meanwhile, announced that a new charge of first-degree arson had been filed against Eleby. He’d previously been charged only with first-degree criminal damage to property.

Altman set bond at $200,000, but said he’d considered an amount more “commensurate” with the damage inflicted.

“But in this case,” the judge said, “that would amount to hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Eleby, 39, shook his head vigorously when Altman mentioned the possibility of pleading guilty at a future court proceeding. But the suspect said nothing during the brief hearing.

Eleby and two others, Barry Thomas and Sophia Bruner, were charged Friday in connection with the fire. 

But Thomas and Bruner were only cited for criminal trespass. Eleby — who has been arrested 19 times since 1995, mostly on drug offenses, according to jail records — is facing far more serious charges. 



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