Report: Home fire was caused by spontaneous combustion

Fire investigators determined the fire that destroyed a home Feb. 22 in the 100 block of Karen Drive was the result of spontaneous combustion.

The home was being renovated at the time of the fire. Workers were utilizing an oil-based stain inside the home. Officials believe the oil-based rags used in the application of the stain were not disposed of properly. The cause of the fire was ruled an accident.

It’s recommended that any rags soaked with oil-based stain, linseed oil, etc. should be stored or disposed of in a water-filled, closed metal container. They should be taken to a disposal facility or hung in a single layer outside to dry and disposed of according to garbage pickup service rules.

Trial of former Opelousas mayor delayed to summer

The felony trial of former Opelousas Mayor Reggie Tatum’s criminal case has been delayed until July.

Tatum was present at a Friday hearing in the St. Landry Parish Courthouse before Judge James P. Doherty, Jr., where his attorney, Frank Oliver III, filed a motion to quash the felony indictment against the mayor.

The motion to quash is based on several of his charges constituting double jeopardy.

Olivier also filed a motion to withdraw as counsel for Tatum, who will now be represented by his new attorney, Harry L. Daniels III of Baton Rouge, who was also present for today’s proceedings.

Tatum faces multiple charges of theft, forgery and malfeasance related to a nearly $13,000 overtime payment he received after the August 2016 floods. He’s also accused of forging time sheets for some council members.

Tatum’s new date for the hearing to dismiss the majority of the charges against him is set for May 30. Tatum’s felony trial is now scheduled for July 8, 9 and 10.

Driver arrested in high speed chase was out on bond for previous burglaries, vehicle theft

The vehicle involved in Thursday's high speed chase in Youngsville is suspected of being involved in three previous pursuits by several local law enforcement agencies, before Thursday's chase that ended with a suspect being taken into custody.

The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested Zachary Johnson, 25, in that chase. Deputies said the same car was involved in other chases in the past week in Vermilion, Iberia, and Lafayette parishes.

According to LPSO, the vehicle was stolen March 11 in Iberia Parish and was pursued by New Iberia Police until midnight that night when it passed into Vermilion Parish, when the pursuit was called off.

On March 13, the vehicle was pursued around 4 a.m. by Broussard Police with help from LPSO, before that chase was cancelled.

The third chase took place later that afternoon around 4:30 p.m., and it was also cancelled.

Johnson was charged in 2017 with aggravated flight from an officer when he refused to bring a vehicle he was driving to a stop after being signaled to do so by an LPSO officer, according to court records.

On Nov. 16, he was charged in Lafayette Parish with three counts of simple burglary and unauthorized use of a movable. Johnson was also arrested Nov. 26, 2018 on a warrant involving vehicle and camp burglaries in the Butte Larose area of St. Martin Parish.