ATLANTA -- The man charged in the fire that led to the Interstate 85 bridge collapse has been released from jail on bond.
Authorities accuse Basil Eleby of putting a chair on top of a shopping cart and setting it on fire while smoking crack cocaine under the I-85 bridge. He's charged with first-degree arson and criminal damage to property in the March 30 incident. (See the video of the collapse here)
The fire caused a portion of I-85 to collapse, which has created traffic headaches for thousands of drivers.
A group of high-powered attorneys have taken up Eleby's case, saying that the Georgia Department of Transportation has made the homeless man a scapegoat for the fire. People who know Eleby claim that he has the mental capacity of a 15-year-old.
On Tuesday, a judge granted a $10,000 bond to Eleby.
The bond came with a long list of conditions that include participation in a drug treatment program, bi-weekly drug screenings and maintaining housing and a job.
He is also ordered to stay 1,000 feet away from the collapsed portion of the I-85 bridge, unless accompanied by his legal team, and 200 yards away from any witnesses of the state. He cannot have direct or indirect contact with any witnesses.
Among other conditions of his bond, Eleby will undergo drug treatment at an alcohol and drug treatment program. He will live at the program and undergo mental health treatment, according to a representative from Michael and Michael Counseling and Counseling LLC who was at the hearing.
Eleby made bond and was released on Wednesday. One of his attorneys as well as a representative from the drug treatment program were accompanying him as he left the jail. He had no comment as he walked in the parking lot.
Attorneys for Eleby have said that they aren't conceding that he even set the fire. According to the attorneys, some witnesses dispute claims that Eleby started the fire.
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