Hazel Park man pleads guilty to attempted vehicle arson

Police not sure why suspect was also covered in gasoline

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published September 25, 2013

HAZEL PARK — A man accused of drenching his vehicle in gasoline and trying to set it ablaze has pled guilty to the deed and now awaits his sentencing.

Patrick Paruszkiewicz, 46, of Hazel Park, is scheduled for sentencing at noon Oct. 15. At press time, he remained in Oakland County Jail. He will be assigned a public defender at his sentencing.

His conditional bond order, should he pay $2,500 cash bond or surety, is no alcohol or narcotics; no possession of a firearm or dangerous weapon, including flammables; and no contact with the other person involved. He is also subject to random drug and alcohol screenings.

Paruszkiewicz was arraigned by Magistrate James Patrick Brennan in Hazel Park 43rd District Court Sept. 2, charged with a misdemeanor count of arson/preparation to burn property, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

The original incident occurred Sept. 1, in front of the suspect’s home in the 400 block of West Mahan. Police responded to a call from the suspect’s girlfriend around 4:15 p.m., arriving to find the suspect allegedly standing by his 1998 Nissan Pathfinder, his hands inside the vehicle.

When he withdrew from the vehicle, police say they saw what appeared to be a charred box of cigarettes in his hands. A yellow lighter was lying on the windshield. When the suspect showed his hands, police moved in and arrested him.

Police said they could smell gasoline emanating from the vehicle. They said it appeared the suspect procured a can of gasoline from the backyard of the house and poured it all over the passenger side of the SUV. He then attempted to use the burning cigarette box to light it all on fire.

Police found the can on the front porch, where the suspect’s girlfriend had placed it after wrestling it away from him.

The girlfriend had been yelling at him to stop. Prior to police arrival, she had called her ex-husband, who showed up at the scene with a fire extinguisher and allegedly sprayed both the suspect and the vehicle to keep a fire from starting.

“It sounds like the boyfriend and girlfriend had been together for several years,” said Hazel Park Police Lt. Brian Buchholz. “I know the suspect had been drinking for quite some time. They had been having an argument, and according to the girlfriend, at some point, he just lost control.”

Police say it’s possible the man may have intended to hurt himself.

“The gasoline was in the passenger area of the car — that’s where he started to douse it. But he also had it on himself,” Buchholz said. “We don’t know if he was thinking to light himself on fire, or if he was just messy and got it on himself.”