Man accused of setting woods on fire to avoid arrest faces more charges

William Robert Young
William Robert Young

A man said to have started fires in woods to avoid apprehension burned about 10 acres, Chief Ricky Davis of the State Fire Marshals Office said.

William Robert Young, 36, of Perkinston, now faces six counts of arson, with each count punishable by one to two years in prison, Davis said.

“The fire was confined to one general area,” he said.

Young used a cigarette lighter to start a series of fires in Stone County as an attempt to avoid arrest Tuesday after fleeing Harrison County deputies, Sheriff Troy Peterson said.

Deputies had tried to stop Young because the vehicle he was driving did not have a license plate, Peterson said. Young reportedly accelerated, driving through northwest Harrison County and into Stone County with a female passenger. Officials said he stopped his vehicle on a dead-end dirt road and ran into woods.

Stone County deputies set up a perimeter and it took a couple of hours to catch him, Stone County sheriff’s Lt. Ray Boggs said.

The blaze was put out before it could spread farther.

Harrison County investigators arrested Young on a felony evasion charge after his capture around Ridge Road and Coot Saucier Road.

The State Fire Marshals Office joined the investigation and filed the arson charges Wednesday morning.

Young was being held on a $250,000 bond at the Harrison County jail on the evasion charge.

He has no bond on the arson charges pending a court hearing in Stone County.

His passenger, Casee Danyel Swetman, has been released from the Harrison County jail on a $500 bond. She was arrested on a charge of resisting arrest.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews