DuBois Man Sentenced for Firework Incident
Derek R. Haight, 29, DuBois, pleaded guilty to possession of an explosive/incendiary device, criminal mischief, and recklessly endangering another person. Judge Fredric J. Ammerman was not happy with the original plea agreement and asked for Haight to serve 90 days in jail.
The charges stem from an incident in DuBois on July 25 at 10:49 a.m.when an explosion was heard near East Long Avenue. Police were able to hear the explosion at the police station onWest Scribner Avenue. Officers found a witness who reported seeing an unknown dark haired male wearing a black t-shirt, throw a smoking object from a porch at 117 East Long Avenue and past his window. He then heard the explosion. Several windows in a building on 101 East Long Avenue were shattered.
Attorney Gary Knaresboro who represented Haight explained the commercial firework used by Haight didn’t do what “it was supposed to do.” He also noted that Haight had already paid over $700 in restitution due in this case.
A former employer of Haight’s and his girlfriend spoke in support of Haight.
Haight then addressed the court stating that he didn’t “intentionally do harm” and said things got blown out of proportion after the cops arrived. He explained that his son loves fireworks.
Ammerman pointed out that Haight admitted he didn’t know what the firework was and that he could have seriously hurt both himself and the boy. He added that he was upset with how Haight acted with the police.
After this Ammerman sentenced Haight to 30 days to one year in jail and two years consecutive probation. He was fined $400 plus costs. Because of the felony explosive charge, he must submit to DNA testing at a cost of $250.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, after the explosion police contacted the occupants of 117 E. Long Avenue including Haight. When he appeared at the door Haight who has dark hair, was wearing a black t-shirt. He was sweating profusely from the forehead and answered questions after pausing for several seconds. He admitted to lighting off small fireworks the day before. When asked, he gave police the fireworks which included a bundle of large bottle rockets and some sparklers.
One of the officers tried to contact the other occupant of the apartment but Haight told him they could not talk to his girlfriend without a warrant.
Another officer took Haight outside to the porch in order for the witness to identify him. But the witness was unable to positively identify Haight. While on the porch this officer saw a spent “mortar fountain” firework. Later a cluster of burnt fuses were found.
While still investigating the scene, police heard a woman screaming in Haight’s apartment. They then forced entry into the residence. Haight was in the living room with a young male and an adult female was curled up in a fetal position on a landing. She was crying.
The woman was visibly distressed as police tried to interview her. When told they only cared about whether Haight had put his hands on her, she cried and stated “it doesn’t matter what I say. I can’t file charges against him. He’ll kill me.” While inside the kitchen, the officer saw another package of fireworks on the counter.
Haight was taken outside giving the woman the opportunity to collect any belongings before she left. Haight was then released from custody. He asked to go back into the residence to get a mint. Instead he went to a closet in the kitchen and attempted to conceal a firework device in his pants pocket. One of the officers saw a fuse exposed from the pocket and seized the device from Haight. It was a three inch titanium salute mortar fired firework which was labeled as a dangerous device for professional use only. Haight then admitted he had discharged the device which damaged the windows.