Craig man charged with arson


A Craig man is charged with fourth-degree arson after an early Saturday morning incident that sent his vehicle into flames, the Moffat County Sheriff's Office reported.

Michael Hayes, 23, of Craig, also is being charged with the contribution to the delinquency of a minor and a violation of a court order not to consume alcohol.

He is in police custody at Moffat County Jail. Bond will be set after a judge hears the case today or Tuesday.

Craig Fire/Rescue received the report of a vehicle fire at 321 Moffat County Road 31 at about 2 a.m. Saturday.

Cpl. Courtland Folks of the Moffat County Sheriff's Office said that one person tried to flee the scene but was caught.

Folks said police interviewed eight people at the party, one of whom was younger than 18. The other seven interviewed were between 18 and 23 years old.

Hayes was the only one arrested.

Folks said Hayes threw a party at his parents' home. Hayes' vehicle, a 1993 Mercury Topaz, was towed by another car over a bonfire the partygoers had started, Folks said.

The fire department used an entire tank -- 950 gallons of water -- to put out the fire, Deputy Fire Chief Bill Johnston said.

Hayes' charge of fourth-degree arson is based on the amount of alcohol involved, the fact that there was a minor present and the fact that the fire was not under control.

The car was 10 yards away from a propane tank that runs lines to the house, Folks said.

"There was a high possibility that the propane tank could have taken out the house," Folks said. "It is an issue of reckless danger.

"This is a good example of what happens with minors and alcohol and what happens when a party gets out of control. Eight lives were put in danger, not to mention the fire and police forces that showed up."

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