Police Reports

Handcuffed suspect starts fire in back seat of police cruiser

A Craftsbury man is facing arson charges after starting a fire in the back seat of a police cruiser, state police say.

Just before 5 pm on January 9, the Vermont State responded to dispute at an Apple Drive, Craftsbury home. After troopers found Donald Billow on Wild Branch Road, he was handcuffed and detained in the back seat of a state police cruiser. Troopers spoke with the complainant and other witnesses and concluded Billow, 42, of Albany threatened an ex-partner of his and her family with a firearm. Billow had driven to the residence and was presenting indicators of impairment and also was found to have a criminally suspended driver’s license, police say.

While troopers were still on scene investigating, they observed smoke coming out of the cruiser in which Billow was detained. Troopers rushed to the cruiser, opening the rear door and found an open flame on the passenger seat next to where Billow was seated. Billow was quickly removed, and the fire was extinguished. Billow was transported by ambulance to North Country Hospital in Newport and treated for smoke inhalation. He was later released from the hospital and transported to the Vermont State Police – Derby Barracks for processing.

While at the barracks, troopers reviewed the in-car camera footage and found that Billow, while handcuffed, intentionally started the fire in the cruiser with a lighter. Billow did not sustain any burns as a result of the fire.

Arson charges are pending further review from an arson investigator. Billow was jailed at Northern State Correctional Facility and held without bail pending a Tuesday, Jan. 10 court appearance in Newport.

Categories: Police Reports

2 replies »

  1. Sounds like some serious mental health issues here. But what does VT have for treatment options now?

  2. So police are now not frisking detainees before cuffing them? Is this some kind of new progressive law phil scott signed off on?

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