Across South Carolina

Trooper: Cocaine was hidden in prosthesis


ANDERSON, S.C. --- A South Carolina trooper says he found a kilogram of cocaine in a suspect's prosthetic leg after he pulled the man over for driving slow in the fast lane.

Trooper Brad Davis testified at a preliminary hearing Friday that he felt an odd bulge when he patted down Glodualdo Moreno Lojan, the Anderson Independent-Mail reported. Davis said a plastic bag was stuffed between Lojan's leg and his prosthesis. Lojan and two others who were in the car face cocaine trafficking charges.

Davis said he pulled over the car with Texas plates in July for traveling 50 mph in the left lane on Interstate 85.

Lojan's attorney, Kurt Tavernier, says the car should not have been stopped because 50 mph is over the minimum highway speed.

Minister accused in kidnapping, assault

CHARLESTON, S.C. --- A pastor is accused of kidnapping and raping a woman at gunpoint.

Dale Richardson, 46, was charged in North Charleston with kidnapping and possession of a firearm during a violent crime, the Post and Courier of Charleston reported Saturday.

Police records say the Summerville man offered the victim a ride, then pointed a gun at her, put a pillowcase over her head and bound her hands. The report accuses him of forcing her to have sex in a Dorchester County home. Charges are pending in that county.

Richardson said he has a spotless record and will put up a strong defense. He is the minister of Freedom Free Will Baptist Church in Ladson and manager of a construction company.

His bail was set at $525,000.

Rural hospital lays off one-third of workers

COLUMBIA --- A hospital in rural Bamburg County has laid off one-third of its employees after an effort to consolidate three small hospitals in the region collapsed.

Bamberg County Hospital laid off 35 of its 98 employees this week, The State newspaper of reported Saturday. The hospital filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in June after reporting net losses of $2.4 million over nine months.

Officials had been working to merge struggling county hospitals in Bamberg, Barnwell and Allendale counties, with New York-based Health Care Management Partners hired to manage the process. The Allendale County Council voted July 13 to pull its hospital out.

Bamberg officials met behind closed doors Thursday before declaring the regional effort dead. The management company is working to keep Bamberg's hospital operating.



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