One of the cabins that caught fire. (June 5, 2014/FOX Carolina)
Mugshot of Edrick Norris Perego from June 5. (Source: Anderson Co. Sheriff's Office website)
Witness Harold Flowers said he rescued people from the building after a truck crashed into it. (June 5, 2014/FOX Carolina)
Fire officials said a car crashed into a building at the campground on Whitehall Road. (June 5, 2014/FOX Carolina)
Perego was denied bond on Friday. (June 6, 2014/FOX Carolina)
ANDERSON, SC (FOX Carolina) -
Anderson County deputies have charged a man with attempted murder and arson charges after a truck crash and fire near Lake Hartwell on Thursday afternoon.
The incidents left a hole in a restaurant located at a campground on Whitehall Road and two buildings totally burnt.
Lt. Sheila Cole with the Anderson Co. Sheriff's Office said Edrick Norris Perego, 87, was facing eviction when he drove the truck into the restaurant and set fire to the buildings about 1 p.m.
Those living in the area said Perego had a series of ongoing disputes with a landlord and with some residents in the community. A tenant of Perego's said he knew the suspect was not happy about the eviction that was coming when things began to unfold Thursday.
"I was getting ready to come through that [restaurant] door when we heard the truck from across the street, and then it went through the building," said Harold Flowers, a witness. "I was standing inches from it. I felt the impact and everything."
Flowers said a piece of wood was jammed down on the pickup truck's gas pedal as it plowed into the building, so he jumped into action.
"And then someone yelled the truck's on fire," Flowers said. "I go to the truck, I get in it, I take the piece of wood out of it. I slam it in reverse and I go across the street where it came from... and as fast as I could I plowed into the back of his truck."
While Flowers said Perego's other truck was damaged, he said he was able to flee the scene, but not before he is accused of setting the fires.
A nearby resident said his home was destroyed as the fire spread to his camper.
"Completely floored me, I didn't think he was going to do that," said James Morse, whose camper was damaged. "It's just an act of gross stupidity. I didn't think he'd do something like this."
Morse was left to find a new place to stay after the fire but said he has made peace with Perego.
"I forgive you," Morse said. "I know you had a problem, I forgive you."
Perego was later found in Oconee Co. and was taken to the Anderson Co. Detention Center Thursday night.
Sunday, August 31 2014 3:28 PM EDT2014-08-31 19:28:29 GMT
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