Destruction estimates in the thousands
Two Izard County men face felony charges after allegedly going on a spree of destructive behavior that resulted in thousands of dollars in damages Jan. 19.
Jason Sherrell, 20, and Michael Kulczycki, 24, both of Melbourne, face criminal mischief charges involving destruction of property for current and past offenses after the men gave statements admitting their guilt, according to Izard County Sheriff Tate Lawrence.
At approximately 1 a.m. Jan. 19, Izard County Deputy James Humphrey said authorities received a call regarding a fire at the Violet Hill campus of the Izard County Consolidated School District as well as the destruction of several signs along state Highways 9, 56, 58 and 69.
Deputy Charley Melton responded to the fire call. When he arrived at the scene, it was apparent that someone had started a fire by either driving or rolling a school bus through the door of the bus garage, Humphrey said.
As Melton was inspecting this destruction, Deputy Richard WIlliams went to examine the severity of the road signs' damages, Humphrey said. Williams reported four destroyed signs and a fifth with damages. Workers with the highway department also reported five more ruined signs near the state Highway 58 and 69 intersections, according to Humphrey.
At approximately 2:40 a.m., Humphrey said, he and Melton stopped a suspicious vehicle. He said they became wary of the 2005 GMC truck after it passed by the Violet Hill campus multiple times while the two were investigating the fire.
As the two approached, Humphrey not only identified Sherrell and Kulczycki inside the vehicle, but he also noticed the vehicle's tires matched the pattern of the tire impressions left where the signs were destroyed in Brockwell, he said.
After questioning the men, Humphrey said, Sherrell confessed that he caused the damage to the signs at Brockwell, saying he had "destroyed a sign or two."
Kulczycki also "remembered they hit a couple of road signs just for fun," according to Humphrey.
Around 9:30 a.m., Humphrey said, he was informed that there had been a large amount of damage done to the Izard County Fairgrounds and Old Melbourne City Park.
At the city park grounds, there were marks where someone had spun their tires, and a small rock building had been heavily damaged, Humphrey said. Likewise, there was much damage at the fairgrounds. Humphrey said it appeared someone had driven their vehicle through a gate, driven into a roll-up door on the front of a tractor shed and driven into a ticket stand, pushing it through a fence.
At both scenes Humphrey took photographs of the damage; at both places the tire tracks appeared to match the tracks left near the road signs, according to Humphrey.
After examining all of the damages, Humphrey questioned Sherrell. He said Sherrell admitted to causing the damage to the fairgrounds the night before and to damaging the old city park a week earlier.
Sherrell also said he and Kulczycki were involved with the destruction at the bus garage, according to Humphrey. Sherrell said he drove Kulczycki and himself to the bus garage; Kulczycki drove the bus into the door, but they did not start the fire.
Following Sherrell's comments, Humphrey questioned Kulczycki.
Kulczycki said he had been with Sherrell while he caused the damage at the fairgrounds and at the bus garage, Humphrey said. However, Kulczycki said he was not responsible for driving the bus into the garage door. Kulczycki told Humphrey Sherrell drove behind the bus and hit it with his truck, pushing it through the garage door.
Following the two suspects' interviews, Sherrell also confessed to causing damage at the Cooper's Hawk Golf Course and at the North Central Education Coop Oct. 15, 2006, Humphrey said.
In addition to the men's criminal mischief charge, Sherrell also faces multiple charges for prior destruction of property offenses. In all Sherrell admitted to involvement in over $28,000 worth of damages; he faces six felony charges.
Both Sherrell and Kulczycki were released from the Izard County Detention Facility after posting their $40,000 and $20,000 bond, respectively.
As of press time a court date had not been set.