Man arrested for lighting tarantula-fed fire
CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — A Carlsbad man who burned a tarantula that crawled away and sparked a grass fire has been fined and sentenced to jail time.
Derrick Faulkner, 20, pleaded guilty Thursday to improper handling of a fire in connection with the grass fire that occurred July 1 north of Carlsbad.
Magistrate Walter Parr fined Faulkner $500 and sentenced him to 180 days in jail with all but 10 days suspended.
Faulkner was caught trying to speed away, deputies said.
was trying to set a tarantula on fire when it crawled into the tall grass and started the fire.Parr agreed to suspend the fine if Faulkner earns his general education diploma within 60 days.
Eddy County Sheriff Kent Waller says deputies heard the fire call moments before they saw a black Dodge Intrepid speeding away from the fire. The car was stopped and deputies spoke to the four people inside, including Faulkner, Waller said.
According to a criminal complaint, Faulkner told deputies he was trying to set a tarantula on fire when it crawled into the tall grass and started the fire. He said he tried to put out the fire, but was unsuccessful, so he ran back to the car and he and the other occupants sped away. The complaint alleges Faulkner and the others did not call the fire department to report the fire, although two of the four people in the car had cellular phones.
The fire threatened a number of ranch structures in the area, the complaint states.