PEKIN — A plea agreement Monday kept a Creve Coeur man out of prison for making meth in his trailer home that caught fire in the process.
Ronald Watters, 61, instead was sentenced to 180 days in the Tazewell County Jail and four years of probation with his guilty pleas to manufacturing methamphetamine and possessing the materials to do so.
The meth production charge was reduced from a Class X level, which requires a minimum six-year prison term, after bank records revealed Watters, and not his son, owned the home he shared with his wife, said defense attorney James Bradshaw.
Watters, a retired carpenter, had no prior felony record.
Watters accidentally ignited the fire in the Cedar Ridge Estates trailer shortly before dawn last Feb. 26. He and his wife escaped without injury.
As they watched the flames grow, Watters told his wife not to call 911 because he had started the fire while cooking meth, stated a prosecutor’s court affidavit. The fire was reported, but too late to save the structure.
Watters told his wife they had to leave before police arrived and then left the village without her, the affidavit stated. He was arrested nine days later when he fulfilled his promise to turn himself in after police made contact with him.
He will begin his jail term in July. With credit for 25 days in custody before his release on bond and day-for-day term reduction, he’ll serve 77 more days.