Newberry Deputies Allege Man Committed Arson To Retaliate For Traffic Ticket
Authorities in Newberry County say that a man irate about a traffic ticket has now been charged with arson after investigators say he burned an abandoned house in retaliation for the traffic ticket.
Early Saturday morning (1215am), a Newberry County Deputy observed a vehicle traveling 88 in a 45 mile per hour zone. The deputy stopped the vehicle, which was traveling on CR Koon Highway very near the Sheriff’s Office, and issued the driver of the vehicle a traffic citation for the speeding violation. The violator become extremely agitated with the officer during the stop but was released without further incident.
The driver of the vehicle was identified as David Douglas Proctor, 34, of 51 Deer Hollow Lane, Newberry, SC.
Investigators say that when the deputy got off work later that morning, the suspect followed him home and began continuously riding by the officer’s house. The officer went back out and located the suspect and advised him that if his actions were about the traffic summons that he could appear in court to contest it and that his actions were not appropriate. The deputy then filed an incident report about the suspect’s actions as a precautionary measure in case the suspect continued his inappropriate actions toward the officer or possibly his family about the summons.
Investigators say that the suspect continued to vent to others that he was extremely upset about the ticket and that he would get even with the officer and Newberry County.
On Sunday morning December 19, Silverstreet Fire Department, Friendly Fire Department and Newberry Rescue Squad all responded to a working house fire in the Silverstreet community, which was a total loss. There were no injuries associated with the fire but the fire was suspicious because the house was abandoned without power. The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office and the fire departments then launched an investigation to the incident.
Investigators then received information that Proctor was bragging that he was now even with Newberry County because it cost them at least the $450 for his traffic ticket to send the emergency vehicles and manpower to the fire.
Investigators say that they have been able to use witness statements and evidence to link the suspect to the arson leading to the arrest of Proctor Wednesday afternoon and charged with Arson 2nd Degree.
“This is an extremely scary mindset toward law enforcement,” said Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster. “While we understand that some people are extremely upset with government right now, targeting a law enforcement officer for simply doing his job is never an acceptable form of protest.”
“Although it appears that the intention was to get even with law enforcement and the property was abandoned, this act put our firefighters and rescue personnel at risk. Anytime the fire equipment is rolled those personnel are at risk,” said Sheriff Foster. “Law enforcement faces budget cuts, no raises and the increased tensions that come with tough economic conditions just as everyone else. Just because we are the only government service that functions 24/7 and are arguably the most visible form of local government does not mean we should become targets of such actions,” Foster concluded.
Investigators say that they appeared at the suspect’s bond hearing and provided the magistrate with substantial information as to the suspect’s actions toward the officer involved as well a genuine concern that the suspect could be a danger to himself and others. The magistrate denied the suspect bond. He remains in custody as of this release.