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Illegal fireworks sale gets Pruitt time in jail

CHESAPEAKE – David Pruitt and his daughter, Vickki Bailey, will spend time in jail for selling fireworks near their Ohio River Fireworks store in Scottown where nine people died in a 1996 fire.

Friday, September 29, 2000

CHESAPEAKE – David Pruitt and his daughter, Vickki Bailey, will spend time in jail for selling fireworks near their Ohio River Fireworks store in Scottown where nine people died in a 1996 fire.

The two were scheduled to appear in Lawrence County Municipal Court today but pleaded guilty Monday to misdemeanor charges of illegally selling fireworks.

Judge Donald Capper sentenced Pruitt to six months in jail, with one month suspended, and a $500 fine, according to court records. Pruitt must give up the money and fireworks confiscated by sheriff’s deputies when they were arrested in July.

Ms. Bailey was sentenced to six months in jail, with four months suspended, and a $200 fine. She also must give up confiscated money and fireworks.

Both will report to the Lawrence County Jail on Monday, Capper ruled.

Investigators from the Ohio’s State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department arrested Pruitt and Ms. Bailey over the July 1 weekend.

Undercover officers had made purchases of fireworks from a pull-behind camper/trailer Pruitt was using for his business. The vehicle was parked within several hundred yards of his 1996 business.

Officials said then that the consumer fireworks purchased included such items as bottle rockets, Roman candles and firecrackers. Consumer fireworks can only be sold by fireworks manufacturers and wholesalers who possess a license.

Pruitt’s fireworks license was revoked by the State of Ohio after the fire in the Scottown store.

Proctorville resident Todd Hall was charged with starting the fire, found to be incompetent and later sent to a mental hospital in Ohio where he remains.

Lawrence County Prosecutor J.B. Collier Jr. said his office sought the maximum penalty during Monday’s sentencing.

"This is a guy who obviously knows how that (1996) tragedy affected this county, and he could be so insensitive, knowing it was illegal for him to sell fireworks," Collier said. "Our position from the beginning was to ask for the maximum penalty."

Pruitt had said he was going to take the case to trial because he had nothing to lose, then decided to enter a plea, Collier said.