The Will County Sheriff’s Office has announced the arrest of a 36-year-old Manhattan man in connection to charges of Arson and DUI.
On November 8th of 2020 at 11:05pm, deputies were dispatched to the 9500 block of Pauling Road, Manhattan, where they located a 2017 Chevy Silverado that had struck a utility pole. The injured driver, identified as Anthony Dvorak, was observed in a nearby field and was brought back to the scene. Frankfort Fire personnel arrived on scene and transported him to Silver Cross Hospital. He was treated for severe burns on both of his feet, facial bruising, a fractured nose and a cut above his eye. Deputies charged him at the hospital with the DUI and the other driving violations.
Deputies spoke with witnesses near the scene who stated that they observed the accident immediately following it and observed Dvorak with no shoes and burns on his feet while struggling to walk away from the accident. Deputies found no sign of a fire in or around the Silverado. The vehicle was towed and during a later search, a handheld torch and a small lighter were recovered.
The same evening, at 11:00pm, 911 dispatch received a call from a husband and wife who live in the 11000 block of W. Pauling Road. They stated that their pole barn was on fire. Upon deputy’s arrival, Manhattan and Peotone Fire were already on the scene and had extinguished the fire. During an interview with the homeowners, it was relayed that shortly after they saw their pole barn on fire they began receiving text message alerts from Green Garden Township regarding a power outage caused by an accident nearby. They also received Facebook community page photos from neighbors regarding a Chevy Silverado that had struck a utility pole. The couple believed they recognized the vehicle as belonging to Dvorak. They stated to deputies that they had recently had a falling out with Dvorak, had previous issues with him, and had cut ties with him regarding their friendship.
The next day, Sheriff’s detectives met at the W. Pauling Road residence along with Manhattan Fire Department, Illinois State Fire Marshal, Kevin Smith, and Illinois Special Agent/K-9 Handler, Michael Kuban with K-9 Phantom. Fire Marshal personnel conducted a thorough investigation and while ‘Phantom’ was conducting an open-air sniff of the pole barn he alerted to probable presence of an ignitable/flammable liquid. Based on the fire marshal report, the fire was started outside the service door and traveled into the pole barn the combustible substance had an odor such as gasoline and was ignited by use of an open flame. Charred fabric and other debris was collected by deputies and processed for evidence. Estimated damage to the barn and its contents is $300,000.
After several search warrants were secured and evidence processed, an arrest warrant for Anthony Dvorak was issued on Feb. 11, 2021. Bond was set at $250,000 and Dvorak turned himself into the Frankfort Police Department on Feb. 19, 2021. Dvorak is facing charges of arson and criminal damage to property, both Class 2 felonies. He was also cited for DUI, improper lane usage, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and operating an uninsured motor vehicle.