A man who deputies saw leaving the scene of a vehicle fire in Golden Gate on Tuesday was arrested and charged with arson.
Deputies also found a gas can and lighter in Tejada’s vehicle, along with receipts for the items, reports said.
Tejada, 821 7th St. S.W., is charged with second-degree arson, a felony.
Arrest reports gave this account:
A deputy patrolling Golden Gate came upon a vehicle on fire on Santa Barbara Boulevard at 27th Court Southwest around 1:47 a.m.. The deputy noticed a Ford truck with its lights on leaving the scene and became suspicious.
After confirming that no one was inside the burning vehicle, the deputy attempted to locate the truck. The deputy spotted the truck at the intersection of of 55th Terrace Southwest and Coronado Parkway. When the deputy approached the intersection the driver of the truck sped off.
The deputy activated the emergency lights on his cruiser and attempted to make a traffic stop in the 2700 block of Santa Barbara Boulevard, but the driver kept on going. The driver pulled over on Golden Gate Parkway.
As the deputy approached the truck, he noticed a gas can in the truck bed. The driver, whom the deputy identified as Tejada, smelled strongly of gasoline. Tejada told the deputy he spilled gas on himself while putting it in the gas can in the bed of the truck.
When the deputy asked him why he was in the vicinity of the burning car, Tejada replied, “I wasn’t and I don’t know.”
A search of the truck turned up an empty container for a “diamond” lighter and also an empty package for non-slip gloves. When the deputy asked him if he smoked, Tejada replied no. Deputies also searched Tejada’s pockets and found receipts for the gas can, lighter and gloves. He also had $4,100 cash in his wallet.
In addition to arson, Tejada was charged with felony driving on a suspended license. He has three prior convictions for driving on a suspended license, reports said.