Originally created 12/19/97

Additional area news



Prostitution sting nets four arrests

A Grovetown police sting operation netted four women on drug and prostitution charges, Public Safety Chief John Tomberlin said Thursday.

Amanda Jane Riley, 17, of Martinez and Renee Babette Blackman, 33, of Augusta were charged with prostitution and freed on bonds of $2,550 each.

Aimee Renee Land, 29, of Martinez was charged with prostitution and possession of marijuana and released on $3,600 in bonds.

Debra Barber Huskins, 35, of North Augusta was charged with prostitution and possession of marijuana and cocaine and was still in custody Thursday evening in the Grovetown jail on bonds totaling $6,150.

Grovetown police arranged to meet the women through an escort service and arrested them when they offered to perform sex acts for money, Chief Tomberlin said.

Sheriff's officer post filled

Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle named a successor Thursday to replace outgoing Maj. Mike Tomberlin, who resigned earlier this month.

Mike Adams, 41, a 14-year law enforcement veteran, was promoted from captain to major and took over administration of the Management Services Bureau, effective Thursday, said Capt. Steve Morris.

Maj. Adams' responsibilities will include administration of the sheriff's 911 center, records, evidence, supply and the Volunteer Services Division, Capt. Morris said.

Maj. Tomberlin, who resigned Dec. 3 to devote more time to his recreational-vehicle business, said he intends to remain an active member of the sheriff's reserve force.

Driver charged in fatal accident

The driver of a logging truck that struck a 5-year-old Williston, S.C., girl in October has been charged with improper turning and operating the vehicle without a commercial license, a spokeswoman for the South Carolina Highway Patrol said Thursday.

The charges are misdemeanors.

Niaisya Greene died Oct. 6 after she was hit by the vehicle driven by Henry Taylor of Williston while waiting at her school bus stop. Niaisya was taken to Aiken Regional Medical Centers, where she died of internal injuries and bleeding.

A kindergartner at Kelly Edwards Elementary School, the girl was standing at the bus stop on Jewel Lane, a half-mile west of Williston, as a 1980 model Mack tractor-trailer was traveling west on Blacks Drive.

As the driver was making a left turn onto Jewel Lane, the trailer portion of the truck ran over the girl, Cpl. Melanie Anderson said. A drug test was administered after the accident and came back negative, she said.

The owner of the truck also was charged with several safety violations and with authorizing the driver to operate the vehicle without the proper license, she said.

Broken pipe spills water in road

A water main on U.S. Highway 25 at Dunham Court broke Thursday, spilling more than 100,000 gallons of water into the road.

Officials shut down the entire highway about 2 a.m. to determine whether the road could collapse. Six hours later, workers had much of the water pumped from the road and found no such danger, said Brian Richards, superintendent of construction and maintenance at the Augusta Utilities Department.

Rush-hour traffic was not affected because workers could open three lanes of traffic by 8 a.m., officials said. All lanes of traffic except one were open to traffic by 10 a.m.

Old pipe, put in during the 1950s, caused the break, Mr. Richards said.

The city is in the process of replacing the antiquated pipe on U.S. Highway 25, and nearly 4,000 feet of pipe already has been installed, officials said. They are trying to find money in the budget to complete the project.

Brown to hold toy giveaway

The Godfather of Soul will hold his fourth annual toy giveaway, doling out hundreds of toys to local needy children at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Imperial Theatre, 745 Broad St.

James Brown also will give every child under 10 a dollar bill to buy a pack of gum.

Phelon victim fund tops $88,000

More than $88,000 has been raised for the families of four people killed at the R.E. Phelon Co. plant Sept. 15.

The company announced Thursday that the community has contributed $38,225 to the fund. R.E. Phelon initiated the fund with a contribution of $50,000.

The money is scheduled to be distributed to the families by the United Way of Aiken County before Christmas. Money received after the distribution has been made will be sent to the families in January.

Police say former employee Arthur Hastings Wise entered the plant and killed Sheryl Wood, David Moore, Leonard Filyaw and Charles Griffeth.

To contribute to the fund, make checks payable to the Phelon Victims' Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 1254, Aiken, S.C. 29802.

Panel OKs Abernathy censure

ATLANTA -- The Senate Ethics Committee on Thursday cleared the way for Sen. Ralph David Abernathy III to be censured for attempting to smuggle marijuana into the country in his underwear.

The committee agreed to adopt a resolution censuring the black Atlanta Democrat when the 1998 session opens Jan. 12.

The lone black member of the committee -- Sen. Donzella James, D-Atlanta -- cast the sole vote against pursuing the censure resolution, saying it is racially motivated.

She questioned why the Senate failed to take similar action after a white senator -- Democrat Rene Kemp of Hinesville -- was charged with DUI in October 1996.

Council to probe voided tickets

SALUDA -- Two members of Saluda Town Council will try to determine whether too many town tickets have been voided.

Mayor Pro Tem Helen Johnson and Councilman Bill Whitfield will meet Dec. 30 to investigate why tickets were voided and who was responsible.

"I don't know why they were voided. That's part of what we're looking at," Mr. Whitfield said.

The State Law Enforcement Division conducted an investigation two months ago, but did not find enough evidence to justify a full-scale probe, spokesman Hugh Munn said. SLED turned down a town request to audit all tickets, Mr. Munn said.

Council members have been given a list of about 40 tickets voided in the last three years. The charges range from criminal domestic violence to improper parking to underage possession of beer. Mayor Morris Davenport said he doesn't think the investigation will uncover any wrongdoing.