An officer being in the right place at the right time may have saved a Colquitt County woman’s residence from going up in flames last week, and led to her estranged husband’s arrest.
Prior to a deputy investigating a truck in the roadway, during which he discovered a fire set in Brenda Vargas’ garage, Moultrie police were called to Huddle House at 11:30 p.m. July 14. At that time Vargas reported that David Manuel Vargas had come into the restaurant and used vulgar language toward her, despite her having a court order prohibiting him from being around her.
She told the officer about the protective order, police reports said, but was unable to provide documentation for the court order so the officer informed her of civil remedies she could pursue later.
At about 2:25 a.m. July 15, a sheriff’s deputy noticed a 2007 Chevrolet 2500 and trailer parked partially in the roadway in front of Brenda Vargas’ residence in the 700 block of Georgia Highway 133 South.
The officer, finding no one in the truck, went to the house where he found David Vargas and discovered that a box and bag had been set on fire inside the garage, Brenda Vargas said. After having David Vargas put out the fire, the deputy noticed that he smelled strongly of alcohol.
Additional investigation showed apparent fresh scratch marks around the door, she said. A container of alcohol, apparently to be used as an accelerant, was found near the fire.
“The box and everything that was on fire was sitting just outside the door,” she said. “If the deputy had not showed up when he did my house would have burned down.”
Brenda Vargas, who was not at the residence at the time the fire allegedly was set, said she has had a protective order prohibiting her husband, whom she is in the process of divorcing, from being around her since March 16.
David Vargas, 47, 612 Sixth St. S.W., was charged Sunday with criminal attempt to commit arson, criminal attempt to commit burglary, stalking, driving under the influence, tail lights required and expired tag or decal.
He was released Monday on a $17,000 bond.
He was charged in May with making harassing phone calls to Brenda Vargas, and in June with driving under the influence after he refused a test and resisting arrest.
The stalking charge is related to the earlier incident inside the restaurant, sheriff’s investigator David Corona said. That case was combined with the incident that occurred at Brenda Vargas’ residence.
Brenda Vargas said that since the order against her husband was signed she did accept a ride with him one day as she was walking because it was raining.
That action should not have any impact on the protective order or nullify it, Assistant District Attorney Brian McDaniel said.