Basil Eleby, I-85 Bridge Collapse Suspect, Granted Bond, Ordered to Stay Away from Bridge

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The man accused of causing a portion of the I-85 bridge to collapse has been released on bond after pleading not guilty.

Basil Eleby pleaded not guilty to arson and criminal trespass Tuesday, April 18, and Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville ordered Eleby’s release on $10,000 signature bond, according to WSB-TV. Eleby, who is alleged to have smoked crack cocaine during the incident, is required to retain a substance abuse counselor and must stay 1,000 feet away from the I-85 bridge except for when meeting with his lawyers.

Eleby, who is homeless, had been held on $200,000 bond in the Fulton County Jail since the huge Thursday, March 30, fire erupted and rendered a portion of I-85 unusable. Eleby was accused of setting fire to a chair on a shopping cart that eventually spread onto PVC and fiberglass pipes stored under the interstate bridge.

Sophia Brauer and Barry Andrew Thomas reportedly were with Eleby at the time of the fire and were originally charged with criminal trespass, as previously reported.

Last week, Eleby’s defense was taken over by four prominent Atlanta attorneys.

His representatives established BasilEleby.org, which they tell WSB-TV has led to additional witnesses they’re planning to use in the case.

“I think all of the lawyers received emails from volunteers, from people who believe they can serve as witnesses,” defense attorney Mawuli Davis tells WSB. “So, we think the work of the coalition has really helped us gather information that we think will be very helpful down the road.”

Eleby was released from jail Wednesday afternoon.

Eleby is due back in court for a status hearing Friday, June 16.

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