Seattle police say Nickolas Osborne used a lighter he apparently found on the floor of a patrol car to set fire to the headliner, heavily damaging the vehicle.

Share story

Seattle police say a man who was being driven to jail set fire to the patrol car and yelled to the officer behind the wheel, ”Let’s both burn in hell!”

Nickolas Osborne, a 24-year-old Seattle man, was charged last week with first-degree malicious mischief for allegedly causing extensive damage to the patrol car by using a lighter to ignite the headliner of the vehicle last month. Neither Osborne or the officer who was driving were injured.

Osborne was arrested March 24 for allegedly harassing people at Lincoln Park in West Seattle and threatening them with a stick, according to charging papers.

He was placed in the back seat of the patrol car, with his hands cuffed behind his back and the seat belt secured across his front, say the charges. About nine minutes into the ride to the King County Jail on northbound Interstate 5, “Osborne slipped his handcuffed hands to the front of his body, unbuckled his seat belt and began violently kicking the rear driver side window,” charging papers say.

Most Read Local Stories

Unlimited Digital Access: $1 for 4 weeks

The officer radioed ahead, asking for assistance from jail staff and requesting a backup officer meet him at the jail, the charges say.

Osborne stopped kicking the window. The patrol car’s interior camera captured him bending down and picking something up from the floor, which turned out to be a lighter, the charges say.

He flicked the lighter on and tried to set the seat belt on fire, but when the belt failed to ignite, Osborne held the lighter up to the vehicle’s headliner, according to the charges.

“Within seconds the ceiling area caught fire and Osborne was heard yelling out, ‘There we go! Let’s both burn in hell!’” say the charges.

The officer rolled down the rear windows to vent the smoke and flames. He then broadcast over his police radio that a fire had started in his vehicle and he pulled over on the James Street offramp, where other officers helped remove Osborne from the burning patrol car and then put out the flames, the charges say.

A piece of burning insulation fell on Osborne’s pant leg, but officers immediately extinguished the flames and he was unhurt, say charging papers.

He was driven the rest of the way to the jail in an ambulance.

In addition to the malicious mischief charge filed in Superior Court, Osborne has also been charged with misdemeanor harassment in Seattle Municipal Court, jail records show. He remains jailed in lieu of $10,000 bail.

Damage to the patrol vehicle was extensive and the fire punched a hole through the roof, say the charges.