HOULTON, Maine — A Houlton man accused of failing to report a serious fire in Littleton that damaged the jail administrator’s home in June 2021 was sentenced in Houlton District Court Monday afternoon.
Tyler McCluskey, 38, of Houlton pleaded guilty to aggravated criminal mischief, a Class C felony, for his role in a June 22, 2021, vehicle fire in Littleton that damaged the home of Aroostook County Jail Administrator Craig Clossey.
Judge Patrick Larson accepted the state’s recommendation of a four-year prison sentence, with all but five months suspended, and two years probation.
As part of his probation, McCluskey must agree to substance use disorder treatments. He must also provide restitution of $2,000 to Clossey, $1,750 to the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office and $20,000 to State Farm Insurance.
McCluskey was driving a vehicle loaned to him by Curt DeWitt when something caused the floorboard of the vehicle to catch fire. McCluskey abandoned the vehicle, which rolled into Clossey’s home, and fled the area at roughly 3 a.m., according to Assistant District Attorney Kari Wells-Puckett.
Police located McCluskey about 3.4 miles from Clossey’s house that same evening. McCluskey was already on probation for a domestic violence charge.
McCluskey told the court he was remorseful for his actions, saying, “I didn’t intend to harm anyone. I don’t remember a lot of it.”
Craig Clossey also addressed the court, recounting the terror his family experienced. He said his first thoughts were of the double murder that happened in Oakfield on Sept. 13, 2013.
“Thank God it wasn’t,” he said. “Had I known this was Tyler, who I have known forever, I would have gone out and helped him. We live in a very rural area, and you don’t anticipate something like this could happen.”
Clossey said he heard the sound of an airbag exploding and heard car alarms going off. He raced outside to find the car engulfed in flames around 4 a.m. Unsure if he was being targeted for his role as the county jail administrator, Clossey said he feared for the safety of his family.
Valerie Eldredge, victim and witness advocate from the district attorney’s office, read a statement from Jacqueline Clossey, asking the court to consider a fair sentence.
“There is a clear pattern of behavior that I hope the court will recognize,” Eldredge read. “With the [sentencing] agreement as it stands, it is almost like the night of the fire never happened. I am still processing the trauma that my child experienced and I do not sleep as soundly as I did before.”