Police and fire briefs for Sept. 27, 2013

Fire causes damage at downtown clothing store

If some suits and ties at the Bates & Thigpen men’s apparel store on Third Street downtown smelled smoky Thursday morning, blame a Wednesday night fire that started in a storage and maintenance room behind the retailer.

Firefighters were able to contain the blaze to the store room and portions of the attic, but store owners estimated smoke damage to their inventory at $75,000, the Fire Department reported.

No injuries were reported.

Workers at the adjacent City Bar first noticed the fire, Fire Department spokesman Curt Monte said.

Firefighters arrived on the scene at 10:42 p.m., temporarily closing Third and Lafayette Streets as they deployed four pumper trucks, one ladder truck and two support vehicles.

The fire was under control at 1:10 a.m. Thursday.

The Fire Department estimates building damage at $200,000 and contents damage at $125,000.

The cause of the fire is unknown and remains under investigation, Monte said.

The storage and maintenance room is not owned by Bates & Thigpen.

Alleged escape attempt brings more counts

A West Baton Rouge Parish Prison inmate who attempted to escape after receiving medical treatment Sept. 13 faces additional counts in East Baton Rouge Parish, an affidavit says.

East Baton Rouge Parish deputies booked Kent Joseph Lewis, 22, 9522 Sullivan Road, Baton Rouge, into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Wednesday on counts of simple escape, resisting an officer with force and damage to property, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

With hands cuffed and legs shackled, Lewis allegedly kicked out the window of a West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office vehicle in which he was supposed to be transported from Our Lady of the Lake hospital back to the West Baton Rouge Prison on Sept. 13, the affidavit says.

Lewis was grabbed by a deputy almost immediately after crawling out of the vehicle. The deputy struggled to contain Lewis, who was soon secured with assistance from hospital security employees, the affidavit says.

Deputies: Drunk man crashed car into house

East Baton Rouge Parish deputies arrested a 43-year-old man accused of driving over several mailboxes and crashing into a house Wednesday afternoon after drinking tequila.

Deputies booked Eugenio Valdes-Cuellar, 15426 Woodwick Ave., Baton Rouge, into Parish Prison on counts of first-offense DWI, reckless operation and aggravated and simple damage to property, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Valdes-Cuellar submitted to a breath test following the crash, in which he registered a 0.337 blood alcohol content, or BAC, the affidavit says.

A blood-alcohol content of .08 is considered to be the level at which a person is deemed to be driving drunk in Louisiana.

A witness told deputies that a car driven by Valdes-Cuellar struck two mailboxes, a basketball pole, a fence and a house.

Valdes-Cuellar told deputies that “he had consumed one glass of tequila and nothing more,” the affidavit says.

Investigators found an empty bottle of Jose Cuervo tequila on the driver-side floorboard of Valdes-Cuellar’s vehicle, the affidavit says.

Two others booked on DWI counts

In addition to Valdes-Cuellar, authorities arrested at least two other people suspected of driving while intoxicated in East Baton Rouge Parish and booked them into Parish Prison between 2:30 p.m. Wednesday and 2:30 p.m. Thursday, booking records show.

Those booked and the counts against them:

Anthony Levi, 29, 954 Bellhave Tree Drive, Baton Rouge, first-offense DWI, simple obstruction of a public highway and driver’s license suspended or revoked.

Ryan Weigand, 31, 13415 Buckley Ave., Baton Rouge, first-offense DWI, reckless operation and failure to signal while turning.

Compiled from staff reports. To talk to a crime reporter at The Advocate, call (225) 388-0369.