Police: Decatur man accused in fires threatened female, led authorities on chase

Marian Accardi, The Decatur Daily, Ala.
·2 min read

Apr. 7—The female victim of two fires Tuesday was threatened by the man accused of starting the blazes, and he led authorities on a vehicle chase before his arrest, police said in a release today.

Decatur police and Decatur Fire and Rescue responded Tuesday morning to a house fire at 1009 Hillwood Drive S.W. and a car fire at La Quinta Inn at 918 Beltline Road S.W. in Decatur.

Police said that officers made contact at La Quinta Inn with the victim, who said Bernard Obrian Driskell, 35, was making threats to harm and kill her. During the investigation, Driskell was developed as a suspect in setting both fires, according to police, and officers located him later that day driving in Northwest Decatur.

After a vehicle pursuit, resulting in no injury or property damage, Driskell was arrested and found with a firearm and a quantity of cocaine, police said.

Decatur police Capt. Jeremy Hayes, who was at the scene of the house fire Tuesday, said "the occupant was not staying there. The occupant was staying in a local hotel. After (the suspect) set the home on fire, he went to the local hotel and set the victim's vehicle on fire."

Officers initially charged Driskell with possession of a controlled substance and numerous misdemeanors: attempting to elude, reckless endangerment, driving while revoked, running a stop sign, reckless driving and speeding, and transported him to Morgan County Jail.

Police said that after further investigation, officers obtained probable cause to charge Driskell with two counts of second-degree domestic violence, second-degree arson and certain person prohibited to possess a firearm.

Driskell, whose address was listed as the Hillwood Drive residence on jail records, is being held in lieu of $152,800 bail.

marian.accardi@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2438. Twitter @DD_MAccardi.