PEKIN — A Pekin dumpster business owner claimed it was a “civil matter” when he dumped more than two tons of debris on a man’s driveway earlier this month.

Tazewell County’s chief prosecutor disagrees.

Drew Vice, also a Pekin city firefighter, could be jailed and fined if he’s convicted of the misdemeanor charge filed against him last Thursday.

Vice, 35, was ordered to appear in court Oct. 30 to answer to the charge he illegally dumped trash and refuse Sept. 11 on Ed Tarpley’s home at 912 N. 12th St.

Vice video-recorded the act and said it was justified. Tarpley had not paid him $2,550 owed for several rentals of Vice’s Dragon Dumps dumpsters that Tarpley ordered over the summer, so he was simply returning the garbage Tarpley still owned, Vice said.

“If you don’t pay for garbage removal, you get the garbage back,” Vice said. Seeking payment of his bill through small claims court would be a wasted effort, he said.

Tarpley, 61, and his son Chad disputed Vice’s logic in what amounts to a business feud between Vice and C&T Siding and Construction of Pekin.

Ed Tarpley helps his son, who inherited the small business his father started, but takes no pay for his “errands,” which included ordering Vice’s dumpsters for work sites, Tarpley said.

Chad Tarpley said Vice should have targeted his property instead of his father’s, but the act must be a crime in either case.

“Even if I owed the guy $1 million, you can’t throw a dumpster of junk on somebody’s driveway and get away with it,” Chad Tarpley said.

The city police officer who reviewed the incident couldn’t find a city ordinance or state law against dumping that applied to the case, a department spokesman said a day after Vice dumped the load.

The following day, however, Vice returned with an empty dumpster and a mini-excavator to Ed Tarpley’s house and hauled the debris away.

The police had referred the case to State’s Attorney Stewart Umholtz. He declined to comment on it specifically, but noted a state statute that bars dumping garbage on private property without permission.

Ed Tarpley said the Police Department called to inform him that Vice would be at his house to remove the junk “in 10 minutes.” Vice was on time, he said.

The Class B misdemeanor charged against Vice is punishable by probation to 180 days in jail and a maximum $1,500 fine.