Saturday, July 19, 2003

Teen charged in fireworks injury

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - Police have charged an 18-year-old man with aggravated arson, alleging he was among a group of pranksters tossing fireworks when one exploded inside a car, injuring a child.

Witness accounts of one of the men being in a wheelchair led police to Dewayne Talley, who used a wheelchair since he was shot in the back in November 2001.

Arson investigators said other eyewitnesses have been interviewed and more people could be charged in connection with the July 3 incident.

Markeisha Madison, 12, received third-degree burns on her back and left arm and was hospitalized for eight days.

Her mother, Tracy Madison, said the car was stuck in traffic from the city's downtown fireworks show, and street-corner revelers were tossing fireworks at the vehicles.

Suddenly, one of the fireworks came whizzing through the open driver's window of the car.

Markeisha, seated next to her mother, squirmed against the seat trying to put out the flames.

Talley's mother, Rebecca Griffin, said her son was at a neighborhood market that night when some of his friends started shooting fireworks into the air. "He said he wasn't shooting at anybody," Griffin said. "I'd like to know what kind of evidence they have."

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