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Report: Driver Tried To Use Lighter After D.C. Crash

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The driver of a stolen vehicle that crashed into a downtown Washington office building was trying to use a lighter when police arrived on the scene, according to a police report.

“The vehicle’s front seat was wet with a liquid that smelled like gasoline,” and the driver “pulled a lighter out of his pocket and began sparking it,” according to the report.

Officers took the lighter away from Charles Ball, 32, of New Market who suffered minor injuries in the Friday night crash, the report said. A gasoline container was also found in the 2010 Jeep owned by Raquel Ceppi.

Maryland court records show Ceppi had a restraining order filed against Ball on the same day. The police report, meanwhile, says Ball was wanted at the time for a third-degree sex offense.

The Jeep drove through a full-length, plate-glass window, coming to a stop against a column in the building’s lobby. Ball has been charged with arson and other counts for the crash. Authorities have said they believe the driver intentionally crashed into the building less than a mile from the White House in the city’s business district.

Maryland online court records show court orders were filed earlier Friday prohibiting Ball from contacting Ceppi, going to her work place or her home.

The FBI joint terrorism task force also was notified and responded to the scene, according to the report.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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