Columbia County releases illegal train riders

Friday, April 26, 2013 10:58 AM
Last updated Saturday, April 27, 2013 1:45 AM
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Six vagabonds caught illegally riding a freight train last month have been released after serving 38 days in jail.

Some of the travelers picked up last month in Grovetown after being discovered illegally riding a CSX train reunited Tuesday at the Columbia County Detention Center with their dogs, which had been kept at Columbia County Animal Services pending their release. Pictured are Jo Ann Heilberg (left); Jay Willard (center, kneeling), with Raleigh; Heather Bermudez (standing); William Jackson (right, kneeling), with Sheila; and Megan Tuck, with Ami.  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
Some of the travelers picked up last month in Grovetown after being discovered illegally riding a CSX train reunited Tuesday at the Columbia County Detention Center with their dogs, which had been kept at Columbia County Animal Services pending their release. Pictured are Jo Ann Heilberg (left); Jay Willard (center, kneeling), with Raleigh; Heather Bermudez (standing); William Jackson (right, kneeling), with Sheila; and Megan Tuck, with Ami.


The six were arrested March 16 by CSX Railroad police when caught in Grovetown aboard a freight train they’d hopped in Atlanta, en route to St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Savannah. They didn’t post their $1,100 bonds and were held in the Columbia County Detention Center until their court date Tuesday.

William Robert Jackson, 26, of Graham, Wash.; Dennis James Kist, 24, of Okeana, Ohio; Jayson Arthur Willard, 23, of Williamston, Mich.; Megan Rose Tuck, 23, of Fort Worth, Texas; Jo Ann Heilberg, 23, of Florida; and Heather Bermudez, 22, of New Hampshire, were charged with hiding on a train for the purpose of stealing a ride, a misdemeanor. All were listed as homeless.
All pleaded guilty at the Tuesday hearing at the courthouse in Evans except Jackson and Tuck, who entered pleas of no contest. Superior Court Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. sentenced each to the time served in jail since their arrest.

The six were reunited with four dogs that were traveling with them that had been kept at Columbia County Animal Services, Animal Services Manager Linda Glasscock said.

“The reunion between them was wonderful, it really was,” she said. “The dogs knew who they were and came running out of the gate and just jumped on them. ”

The pets were cared for with several donations from the community, and Glasscock said she’s been told to expect a donation from the family of one of the travelers.

When inmates are released and are listed as homeless or otherwise have no local friends, family or accommodations, deputies seek help from the Salvation Army, according to jailers. It is not known whether the train-jumpers received such assistance.

Glasscock said it’s her understanding that the travelers stayed at least one night in an Augusta hotel and since have been seen panhandling in Richmond County.

Staff Writer Barry L. Paschal contributed to this report.

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KSL
144632
Points
KSL 04/26/13 - 06:31 pm
2
3
Seems to me the county should

Seems to me the county should have expressed their trial date. I was not involved in setting dates. Perhaps it was first come, first served. They didn't make bail. Perhaps they were milking the system for 3 squares and a cot.

All of these characters are in their 20's. Non-conforming street beggars who rely on the generosity of people to support their non-conventional life style.

KSL
144632
Points
KSL 04/26/13 - 06:58 pm
2
3
Exactly what baseline budgeting gets you

The best solution would have been to charge them the equivalent of a passenger ticket plus transport of pets and issue then a warning to never do it again. Then dump them out to their own resources.

KSL
144632
Points
KSL 04/26/13 - 07:03 pm
3
3
It seems the parents of these

It seems the parents of these 21+ year olds have given up or never had control of these "free spirits."

KSL
144632
Points
KSL 04/26/13 - 07:13 pm
2
3
But then I don't know railroad law or

Mandated insurance policies.

Perhaps there are Fed regs over what the railroad co could do. We have so many bureaucratic, not legislated rules now, it is unreal. And you would believe the cost added to buying a house.

KSL
144632
Points
KSL 04/26/13 - 07:15 pm
2
3
Unfunded mandates even affect

Unfunded mandates even affect the non-taxpayer recipients.

eq2695
47
Points
eq2695 04/26/13 - 10:07 pm
3
2
columbia county jail

Columbia County tries to justify its new jail addition by keeping people locked up for very minor offenses.This is nothing new.I would like to know what percentage of the population is now locked up since the new addition verses county growth.

dichotomy
37616
Points
dichotomy 04/26/13 - 10:35 pm
3
0
"whether you have one inmate

"whether you have one inmate or 20 inmates, the contributing cost needs to be divided evenly."

Always figured the operation of the jail was pretty much sunk costs whether there were 5 or 25 inmates except for meals and a tad of electricity maybe.

Dixieman
17584
Points
Dixieman 04/27/13 - 04:14 am
5
1
Economics 101

99 inmates in jail, then one more is added. Enough guards, etc. so that no extra cost is incurred. So the last prisoner "costs us nothing extra" and is free?
Um, you could say the same thing about the second prisoner, or the 39th, or even the first (think about it). Therefore none of the prisoners costs anything, so the jail was built at no cost and the guards' salary is a freebie for taxpayers.
Not.
This is specious reasoning. True cost: If it costs $100 for electricity for the jail this week and there are 50 inmates, each one costs us $2 in electricity.

Grandpa Jones
1170
Points
Grandpa Jones 04/27/13 - 05:21 am
3
0
...

An arrest record, a mental health diagnosis, a halfway decent lawyer = a Social Security check for the rest of their lives.

Bodhisattva
7316
Points
Bodhisattva 04/27/13 - 05:52 am
5
0
Woody Guthrie

I know the police cause you trouble
They cause trouble everywhere
But when you die and go to Heaven
You'll find no policemen there

So go to sleep you weary hobo
Let the towns drift slowly by
Listen to the steel rails hummin'
That's a hobo's lullaby

CHSDARKHORSE
50
Points
CHSDARKHORSE 04/27/13 - 06:08 am
4
1
Sorry for their delay

Sorry for their delay to get to Savannah; but I'd see they had a one way ticket payed for by the county if needed next time. It's cheaper than jail time!

stevetarget
21
Points
stevetarget 04/27/13 - 06:24 am
4
1
Homeless

How about a little common sense. This group should have been taken to a homeless shelter and turned loose. CSX should have payed for there room and board while they were being held. I bet they would'nt have thought twice about letting them go if they (CSX) had to pay expenses.

nocnoc
49624
Points
nocnoc 04/27/13 - 07:53 am
4
1
Punishment was needed

but a hanging was not called for.
I have heard this quote somewhere before and it seems somewhat appropriate to the situation.

nocnoc
49624
Points
nocnoc 04/27/13 - 07:55 am
5
0
An yes when I was a teen we

An yes when I was a teen we frequently hopped the train running

through Gracewood to ride into and back from Hephzibah. It was moving 5-10mph at best. My brother and his friends did the same thing in the late 50's and early 60's. As did my uncles and aunts in the 20's to 50's.

Jumping on at Gracewood Drive hill and jumping off at Byrd Rd. Hill coming back.

No one in 3 generations was ever got hurt more than a twisted ankle.

But we live in a Lawsuit happy world now where Idiots doing stupid things get to sue for doing stupid things that in more sensible times they never could have.

Jake
34126
Points
Jake 04/27/13 - 10:04 am
2
0
Words

Since yesterday, when the article first appeared, the word "hobo" has been replaced by "vagabond".

scoobynews
3896
Points
scoobynews 04/28/13 - 06:07 am
1
0
These people need to grow up,

These people need to grow up, get a job, and settle down. The hippy days are long gone hopefully never to return.

llewallen
72
Points
llewallen 04/29/13 - 11:33 am
0
0
Waste

A waste of taxpayer dollars. Giving each of them $25 and putting them on a bus to anywhere would have been cheaper.

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