MESOPOTAMIA - A 55-year-old Annapolis, Md., man remained in Trumbull County Jail on Tuesday on charges of burglary and drunken driving while sheriff's office detectives continue to try to link the man to a fire early Monday that destroyed a barn and caused damage to a house on the same property.
The state fire marshal already has reported that both buildings are considered arson and were deliberately set at the home of Patricia Russo, 8441 Parkman Mesopotamia Road.
Russo's ex-husband, Scott Haendel of Maryland, surprised Russo by showing up at the home about 6:30 a.m. Monday while Russo was having a cup of coffee on her front porch, according to sheriff's reports.
Russo told deputies Haendel left and she got ready and left for work, only to get a call later in the morning that her barn was on fire.
Deputies got at least one statement from a neighbor, who flagged down a taxi to use the phone and call 911 to report the barn fire. At nearly the same time, the neighbor said she saw Haendel walking out of the home with something under his arm, reports state.
It was later in the morning that other deputies said they found Haendel on the same road the fire started with his 1998 Chevrolet with Maryland license plates stuck in a ditch, reports state.
Deputies said they smelled alcohol on his breath while he was still behind the wheel of the car. A deputy said that Haendel tried to leave the scene of the crash with a black bag that he then used to try to block shots from a Taser.
The deputy said in a report that after the Taser didn't phase the motorist, he then used an arm bar technique to take down Haendel and handcuff him.
Haendel, according to reports, told the arresting deputy that five deer ran in front of his car, causing the accident, and that he knew no one who lived on the road.
Haendel, who reports described as a former volunteer firefighter, refused any medical attention and tested 0.153 percent alcohol content on a Breathalyzer before he was taken to jail. A motorist is considered legally impaired at a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent or greater.
A deputy also found a lighter and and pocket knife on Haendel, the report states.
Deputies also confiscated the black bag that reports indicated was stolen property described as ''tree face art'' and a ''face sculpture.''
Newton Falls Municipal Court officials said Haendel faces the charges of burglary and operating a vehicle impaired, but was not expected to be arraigned until Thursday morning.
Arson investigators completed their examination of the fire scenes and said their investigation was ongoing.
Firefighters from Mesopotamia didn't notice the fire at the house until after they were fighting the barn fire that started just after 8:30 a.m.
"We concentrated on saving the house," fire Chief Joseph Pavlic said.
Pavlic said he does not know what started the fire in the barn. But the chief said the house fire is believed to have started in the home's living room, which is in the front of the house. The barn was located several hundred yards behind the home.
The house sustained moderate damage, according to reports.
Middlefield, Windsor, Bloomfield and Bristolville fire departments assisted in putting out the fires.