Originally created 12/29/96

Poll: Jeburk saga is top local story



He not only escaped from jail in Columbia County and eluded authorities on a nationwide bank robbery spree, but when recaptured, Christopher Jeburk also escaped again.

His villainous odyssey easily was selected as the top local news story this year in The Augusta Chronicle, according to a reader poll.

The Jeburk story garnered 377 votes, 150 more than the closest competitor.

Tragedy and murder dominated the top stories.

Mr. Jeburk and Jerome Frierson Bey escaped March 27 and are suspected in a string of bank robberies from North Carolina to New Jersey. Both were later recaptured.

A month after he returned to the jail in Appling, however, Mr. Jeburk escaped again by sawing through steel window bars. He eluded authorities for four days before being apprehended - this time in Columbia County.

On a more positive note, the No. 1 state ranking John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School received this year earned it second place in readers' minds. A.R. Johnson Health, Science and Engineering High School was ranked No. 6 in the state poll.

Close behind was the appearance of the Olympic Torch in Augusta, carried by local celebrities and heroes on its way to Atlanta.

The deadly shooting rampage in North Augusta that left three Department of Social Services workers dead was the fourth highest-rated story.

Local real estate agent Stan White's slaying, and the arrest of attorney William Lumpkin in the killing, was fifth.

The slaying of principal Teresa Vaiden, and the arrest of her daughter, Ruth, in the killing, finished sixth.

How you voted:

  Here are the numbers. Click on any of the links below to return to our original coverage of the story.

377 votes. 1:  ESCAPE ARTIST: Christopher Jeburk escapes twice from Columbia County Detention Center, and is finally recaptured after a string of nationwide bank robberies. He's found right here in Columbia County.

121 votes. 2:  HEAD OF THE CLASS: John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School is ranked No. 1 high school in Georgia and A.R. Johnson Health, Science and Engineering High School is No. 6.

112 votes. 3:  TORCH BURNS BRIGHT: Augusta's lone Olympic moment is a big hit as the torch travels through Augusta, seen by more than 100,000 people along its route.

100 votes. 4:  DEADLY RAMPAGE: David Mark Hill is charged with shooting and killing three people at the Department of Social Services office in North Augusta.

92 votes. 5:  LUMPKIN CASE: Attorney William Lumpkin is charged with murder in the killing of Realtor Stan White.

89 votes. 6:  SLAIN MOTHER: Ruth Vaiden is charged with killing her mother, Teresa Vaiden, principal of Willis Foreman Road Elementary School.

87 votes. 7:  DAUGHTER-GATE: Energy Department's Inspector General says Mario Fiori, DOE manager of Savannah River Site, and Ambrose Schwallie, president of Westinghouse Savannah River Co., got their daughters summer jobs with a contractor to the plant.

47 votes. 8:  DEADLY DRIVE: A Wagener, S.C. grandmother, her two children and two grandchildren, are killed her car crashes head-on into a school bus in rural Aiken County. Preliminary investigations indicate Linda Tindal was drunk.

36 votes. 9:  CONSOLIDATION FRUSTRATION: The devil is in the details, and the first year of a merged Augusta city and Richmond County government is a rougher and slower ride than many expected.

29 votes. 10:  CANAL HERITAGE AREA: Congress establishes the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area, putting the 151-year-old waterway on national maps and paving the way for preservation and development initiatives.