APD: Hotel guest set fire to escape hallucination | Local News

A Springfield, Tennessee man is behind bars in Limestone County after damaging hotel property and setting fire to his room, all in an alleged attempt to escape people who he says he entered the room through the air conditioning unit and the shower, according to the records.

Athens Police say officers were dispatched to the Budget Inn on US 31 around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday after a fire was reported. Once there, an officer spoke to the hotel owner, who said the person responsible for the fire ‘took off on a red motorbike’ towards the Circle K convenience store, according to a report. incident filed Tuesday.

The room was registered in the name of one Robert Reginald Ledbetter, 44, according to the report. Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson said Officer Jeffery Dailey found Ledbetter and the red motorcycle at Circle K, and after Ledbetter agreed to return to the hotel with Dailey, he began to share his story behind the fire.

“Robert told me someone tracked him from Nashville,” Dailey wrote in his report, adding that Ledbetter claimed he filed a report with Nashville law enforcement. “Nashville Metro Police have no record of Robert filing a report.”

Ledbetter went on to say that he thought he saw the person following him attempt to enter his hotel room from the air conditioning unit, according to Dailey, so he piled all of his furniture against the door. Ledbetter then suspected someone was trying to get in through the shower, so he “threw his microwave and refrigerator into the tub,” the report said.

After putting the hotel items in the tub, he told officers the door wouldn’t unlock, so he “attempted to melt the window by igniting a sheet tied to a curtain rod”. Officers said this led to the curtains catching fire, and Ledbetter continued his alleged escape attempt by ripping up drywall from a spot near the window.

“Robert attempted to burn the inside of the wall in (an) attempt to escape his hallucination,” Dailey’s report states. “Robert told me he used his motorcycle helmet to break the window. Robert’s motorcycle helmet had dents and scratches consistent with the use described.”

However, officers found no evidence that the door was tampered with or that anyone attempted to remove the air conditioning unit in order to enter the hotel room. Dailey said the shower was backed by a solid cement wall and noted that the hotel owner had agreed to review the hotel’s security cameras “to confirm there was no one there. outside”.

Meanwhile, Ledbetter was arrested for first-degree arson and second-degree criminal mischief. He was booked at the Athens Police Department before being transferred to Limestone County Detention Center, where he remained on Tuesday evening. Records show bail was set at $1,000 for the criminal mischief charge, but not set for the arson charge.

Kasandra J. Stone