FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – Authorities on Tuesday (Aug. 26) continued investigating a fire that destroyed a truck belonging to University of Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen.
Allen’s Chevrolet Avalanche was burned in a suspected case of arson before daybreak on Monday (Aug. 25) in his driveway at 1125 W. Hendrix St. in Fayetteville.
More than two hours before that incident, an apparent arsonist also burned a Chevrolet Avalanche belonging to a man identified as Eli Mattioli, investigators said. Also, a Toyota Prius belonging to a first-year law student, Laura Cox, was destroyed in the same blaze that left Mattioli’s truck a burned-out shell. Her car was parked beside Mattioli’s truck at 711 W. Douglas St. in the 1:34 a.m. fire. That blaze also scorched a part of the apartment building.
Mattioli’s apartment near the university campus is less than a mile from Allen’s house, authorities said.
At Allen’s house, his truck alarm went off about 4 a.m., waking him from sleep, he said. Allen went outside and saw his truck on fire. The truck rolled down Allen’s driveway across the street and into a ditch. When firefighters arrived, the truck was in flames, authorities said. Allen’s truck was later taken to NWA Towing and Recovery in Fayetteville.
In a regularly scheduled news conference on Monday, Razorback Coach Bret Bielema said team officials are letting authorities handle the investigation. The Razorbacks are scheduled to open their season with a road game on Saturday afternoon against SEC West rival Auburn.
Police said they are unsure if the two incidents early Monday are connected but said they believe both trucks were intentionally set on fire.
“Maybe these people had a mutual friend or enemy,” said Sgt. Craig Stout of the Fayetteville Police Department.