Public Safety

Man accused of setting fire inside a police cruiser in Craftsbury

Albany resident Donald Billow, 42, was taken to a hospital Monday afternoon after he allegedly lit the inside of a police cruiser on fire after being detained, according to a press release from Vermont State Police. 

State police had responded to a 911 call reporting a dispute on Apple Drive in Craftsbury. After interviewing witnesses and the caller, state troopers took Billow into custody on charges that he threatened an ex-partner and her family with a gun, and placed him in the back of a police cruiser. 

Police soon spotted smoke drifting out of the police cruiser, and they rushed to get Billow out of the car and douse the flames, the press release stated. After reviewing in-car camera footage, troopers alleged that Billow intentionally started the fire with a lighter while he was handcuffed. An arson investigator is deciding whether to file arson charges, the press release said. 

Troopers also found that Billow had driven to Apple Drive, despite having a suspended license and showing signs of impairment, according to the press release. He’s now charged with first-degree aggravated domestic assault, driving under the influence, impeding police, unlawful mischief and driving after license suspension.

Billow was treated for smoke inhalation at North Country Hospital in Newport but did not “sustain any burns as a result of the fire,” the press release said. He was then taken to the state police barracks in Derby for processing. He was held without bail at Northern State Correctional Facility, and was scheduled for arraignment in Newport Tuesday at 12:30 p.m.

An email inquiring about the result of the plea, sent to the Orleans Unit of the Vermont Superior Court on Tuesday, was not immediately answered. 

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Dominic Minadeo

About Dominic

Dom is a senior at the University of Vermont majoring in English. He previously worked as a culture reporter for the Vermont Cynic and as an intern for the Community News Service at UVM, where he held the position of Deputy News Editor of the Winooski News.


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