BEL AIR, Md. -
Surveying the charred siding that runs up the side of the two-story home, you might guess that lightning or a barbecue grill or even a Molotov cocktail may be to blame for the damage, but a drunk driver?
"Witnesses had reportedly seen a blue pickup truck had driven off the road and struck the corner of the home,” said Edward Hopkins of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, “Now the corner of the home that the suspect struck was the area where the utilities would come into the home from the street and other connections. Those utilities included electric, but also underground propane."
Police say the arc from an exposed feeder wire sparked gas from a ruptured line sending a fireball up the side of the home, but the alleged driver, later identified as 54-year old Michael Lee Smith, wasn’t ready to put on the brakes just yet.
"The suspect then backs up and as he back up he runs into the garage of another home hitting it with enough force to dislodge the garage from the structure and the foundation of the home,” said Hopkins, “From there we know he allegedly drove down into the backyard of the homes, turned around, drove back up and drove through their front yards and then eventually ended up leaving the scene going eastbound on East MacPhail Road."
A short while later, Smith drove past a deputy patrolling near his home on Cedar Lane who pulled over his Chevy Silverado and a bad night grew even worse.
A search of the car turned up suspected marijuana, which adds a criminal offense to a laundry list of traffic violations including leaving the scene of an accident, which set a house on fire.
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