A 32-year-old Olympia man pleaded not guilty to second-degree arson Tuesday in Thurston County Superior Court. He is accused of setting fire to a car in downtown Olympia.
Don A. Escarcega was arrested by Olympia police June 3 and is being held in the Thurston County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail. Court documents say Escarcega is transient.
An officer responded to the 100 block of Chestnut Street the evening of June 3 after a witness reported that they had seen a man set a car on fire, according to court documents. The officer found a black Ford Mustang, and noticed that the plastic mud flap behind the front passenger wheel of the car had been melted. There were some boxes on the ground under the mud flap.
The witness said he saw a man in a blue coat crouching behind the car, and that he saw smoke and flames coming from behind the vehicle.
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Another officer located a potential suspect at the Artesian Commons Park, and the witness identified him as the man who set the car on fire, according to court documents. Police identified the man as Escarcega, and found three lighters in his possession.
Judge Anne Hirsch has scheduled Escarcega’s trial for the week of Aug. 3.