Across the Area

Student critical after car crash


A senior at Greenbrier High School was critically injured Wednesday morning in a single-vehicle crash.

The car driven by Haley Elise Van Pelt, 17, of Evans, ran off Hardy-McManus Road about 8:30 a.m. and slammed sideways into a large pine tree, said Columbia County sheriff's Deputy Ty Mobley.

The tree crushed the driver's-side door, trapping Ms. Van Pelt in the vehicle.

It took two hours for emergency workers from Gold Cross Emergency Medical Service and Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue to free her from the late-model Saturn Ion sedan.

Ms. Van Pelt was taken by ambulance to the nearby parking lot of Grace Baptist Church, then flown by Air Med helicopter ambulance to the Medical College of Georgia Hospital.

Hospital spokeswoman Denise Parrish said Ms. Van Pelt was listed in critical condition.

Deputy Greg Kernaghan said it appeared Ms. Van Pelt, who was alone in the vehicle and driving toward Washington Road on the 5500 block of Hardy-McManus, ran off the edge of the roadway and overcorrected, losing control of her vehicle.

A Greenbrier High School staff member said Ms. Van Pelt, an honor student, is in the school's marching band and was on her way to summer band camp when the crash occurred.

Bandit robs same deliveryman again

A North Augusta pizza deliveryman told police he has been robbed again by the same bandit.

On Sunday, the 53-year-old victim said he tried to deliver pizzas to an address on Bradleyville Road when he was confronted by a black man dressed in dark clothing who pulled a handgun and demanded his wallet, money and the pizzas.

On Tuesday, the deliveryman took pizzas to an address on Belgium Circle and the same man appeared with a handgun.

The victim told the suspect that he had already robbed him before, to which the robber replied, "Oh, yeah," according to an incident report.

The deliveryman returned to Pizza Hut and called police.

$10,000 stolen from American Legion Post

Police are investigating the reported theft of $10,000 from a safe during an overnight break-in at an Augusta American Legion Post.

According to a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report, between 10 p.m. Tuesday and 6:50 a.m. Wednesday, $10,000 in cash was stolen from a safe at the American Legion Post 178 at 3219 Richmond Hill Road.

The thief entered the building by prying open a side door. Police discovered that the phone line connected to the burglar alarm had been cut, and that a security camera on the roof had been moved, the report states.

Salley man gets 10 years for child sex

A Salley man was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison for sex crimes involving children.

Dale Tony Cooper, who was 73 at the time of his 2007 arrest, pleaded guilty to three counts of a lewd act on a child under the age of 14, said Brenda Brisbin, an assistant Aiken County solicitor. Mr. Cooper was given 10 years on each count, with each sentence to run concurrently, Ms. Brisbin said.

The incidents reportedly occurred at Mr. Cooper's house between 1974 and 1985, Ms. Brisbin said.

Man killed in wreck on I-20 is identified

A man killed Tuesday in an accident on Interstate 20 near the McDuffie-Warren County line has been identified as David Charles Goetzman, 43, of Hephzibah.

He died after the truck in which he was riding ran off the road, then overcorrected, causing the vehicle to flip, according to Georgia State Patrol Trooper Mike Callaway. Mr. Goetzman was not wearing his seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle.

Aiken County rehires retired school worker

The Aiken County School Board has rehired a retiree.

Human Resources Director Joyce Stanley was rehired at 75 percent of her salary. She will also be on contract for only this year, and her replacement will be sought in the 2010- 11 year.

The school board voted earlier this year to hire retirees only in critical needs areas, and at reduced salary.

Engine failure ruled as cause of plane crash

The National Transportation Safety Board's final report on a 2007 Augusta plane crash has confirmed its earlier investigation that said engine failure caused the accident.

Officials said the plane, piloted by Ronnie Baker II of north Georgia, developed engine failure, causing it to crash into a synagogue on Walton Way.