A young Pekin man faces a felony charge for allegedly helping dispose of 553 vehicle tires by dumping them along rural roads.
Brandon Hardt, 19, and two 17-year-old youths used that solution in May to solve the problem of how to get rid of the used tires that one of the youths had hoped to sell for several dollars apiece as a side business, a prosecutor’s court affidavit stated.
If convicted of the charge of criminal disposal of waste filed last week, Hardt will pay with probation to up to three years in prison, and his share of the $3,300 cost to clean up the estimated four tons of rubber litter.
Along with Pekin, two townships, Cincinnati and Elm Grove, along with Pekin paid that cost in disposal fees and labor after the tires were found through early May along several roads, including 14th Street at Red Shale Hill Road, the affidavit stated.
The two youths, who were identified in the affidavit by their initials of C.T. and A.C., face prosecution in Tazewell County’s juvenile court.
C.T. had collected the tires for resale and stored them on shop space he’d rented on Manito Road, the affidavit stated.
“He was getting them from all over the place” from outlets willing to give them away for free, county Sheriff’s Capt. Tim Gillespie said after the three were arrested on May 12. “He must have been selling some or he wouldn’t have kept collecting them.”
The piles of tires, however, drew complaints from people living near the rented space, the affidavit said. When its owner told C.T. to get rid of them or be evicted, the tires soon disappeared, the affidavit stated.
After 245 tires were found on May 4 along Red Shale Hill and 14th, one of the men who had complained told police he suspected they came from C.T.’s shop. A security video camera at a nearby business caught images of a pickup truck and trailer loaded with tires leaving the shop and returning empty a short time later, the affidavit stated.
An officer found the two youths at the shop. A.C. told him he and Hardt helped C.T. dump the tires because he was “in a jam,” the affidavit stated.
Hardt later acknowledged dumping a “big load” of tires at the intersection, the affidavit stated.
Hardt’s charge does not cite other garbage, including car parts and household items, that Gillespie said C.T. admitted to dumping along a road between South Pekin and Townline Road at about the same time the tires were found.
Brandon, who has no prior criminal record, has remained free since shortly after his arrest and is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 20.
Follow Michael Smothers at Twitter.com/msmotherspekin