A local small business owner acknowledged Monday that dumping tons of trash on a private driveway is not a “civil matter,” but a crime.
Drew Vice, 35, pleaded guilty to illegal dumping on private property. He’ll pay a $500 fine and court costs totaling $1,032 and serve a year of court supervision/
Vice, also a Pekin firefighter, had employees of his Dragon Dumps business dump more than 2 tons of construction refuse and other rubbish onto the driveway of Ed Tarpley’s home at 912 N. 12th St. on Sept. 11.
In a video he recorded of the event, Vice boasted he was turning Tarpley’s property into a “landfill” because Tarpley had not paid him about $2,550 in dumpster rental fees.
He later said he was simply returning garbage that Tarpley had not paid him to remove. Any legal issue arising from the act would be a “civil matter,” he said.
Two days later, after Tarpley called the police and the Tazewell County State’s Attorney’s office reviewed the case, Vice returned and removed the garbage.
The Police Department called Tarpley in advance. “They told me he was on his way and he’d be there in 10 minutes,” and he was, Tarpley said.
A police spokesman said Vice was not arrested the day of the dumping because the officer who responded to Tarpley’s call could find no state law or city ordinance that applied to the case.
State’s Attorney Stewart Umholtz replied that state law “clearly provides that a person cannot dump garbage on another person’s property without their consent.” The criminal charge was filed against Vice the following week.
While Vice targeted Tarpley’s home, it was Tarpley’s son, whose family siding business he now owns, who owed Vice for several dumpster rentals, though the elder Tarpley had arranged for them.
“Even if I owed the guy $1 million, you can’t throw a dumpster of junk on somebody’s driveway and get away with it,” said Chad Tarpley.
Vice said it would be a “waste of time” to sue the Tarpleys over his overdue bill issue in small claims court. Chad Tarpley said he won’t pay Vice after the dumping incident. That part of the business feud remains unresolved.
Vice’s conviction in the case won’t be formally entered in court records if he successfully completes his court supervision.
Follow Michael Smothers at Twitter.com/msmotherspekin