Man accused of I-85 bridge fire failed alcohol test, state says

Bridge collapse suspect's case returns to court

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — The homeless man charged with starting the fire that caused the Interstate 85 bridge collapse returned to court on Monday.

Basil Eleby has already pleaded not guilty to arson as it pertains to the March bridge collapse.

Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Nicole Carr reported that pre-trial services asked the court to issue an arrest warrant for Eleby based on violation of bond agreement. Eleby's defense told the court they disputed this claim.

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The judge ultimately agreed to keep him out of jail by making his bond conditions stricter.

Eleby has been out on bond since this summer.

The conditions for Eleby, who was homeless, have included seeking gainful employment, going through random drug-testing during his stay in unspecified housing.

He was also ordered to stay away from two places: The actual collapse site and anywhere the state’s witnesses may be.

Those witnesses include two other homeless people, who were originally charged alongside Eleby before offering their account of the fire, saying he’d smoked crack cocaine before lighting a chair on top of a shopping cart.

Since the collapse, Eleby has had a team of pro bono civil rights attorneys and a coalition that’s crowdfunded efforts for everything he’s needed in this process.