Basil Eleby admits to struggling with addiction but, the once-homeless man, says he did not ignite the fire that lead to the collapse of a huge chunk of I-85 in Atlanta last spring. He has reached an agreement and will not be prosecuted for arson and criminal damage. Eleby will go through an 18-month diversion program for his addiction. It will be through Fulton County’s Behavioral Health Treatment Court, and his completion is crucial in determining whether the two felony charges against him will remain. If he doesn’t complete the program, Eleby could be sentenced to 20 years in prison for arson in the first degree, and 10 years for criminal damage to property.
Eleby said, following Friday’s appearance in Fulton County Court, “There are so many people out there who still are where I was a couple of months ago, out in the cold, out in the rain, and they feel they just don’t have anywhere to go.” That’s among the reasons Eleby, is helping Sankofa United Church of Christ and Nation of Islam Mosque #15 collect winter coats and blankets through Christmas.
Sankofa Pastor, Rev. Derrick Rice, is among those who have claimed all along that Eleby is “just another man of color who was set up.” Others writing on social media, believe that politics is the reason Eleby is being given another chance. The highway was repaired in 6 weeks.
The winter coat and blanket drive will be held this Wednesday, December 13, 2017, beginning at 7:14pm at Sankofa United Church of Christ, which is located at 1187 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd Southwest in Atlanta.