Originally created 12/31/98

Across the area



Augusta man Diesof wreck trauma

An Augusta man died Wednesday from injuries suffered in a traffic accident Tuesday night.

Lindsey Ruffin Sr., 70, of 1101 McCoy Road, died from massive blunt-force trauma at 1:15 a.m. Wednesday at Medical College of Georgia Hospital, said Richmond County Deputy Coroner Grover Tuten.

Mr. Ruffin received the injuries in a collision about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday near the 3800 block of Mike Padgett Highway, Mr. Tuten said.

Witnesses reported that Mr. Ruffin was turning from a private parking lot onto the highway when he was struck on the left front side by a northbound vehicle, Mr. Tuten said. A tractor-trailer parked in the highway's median might have prevented Mr. Ruffin from seeing the vehicle, Mr. Tuten said.

Unemployment rate declines

Unemployment dropped in November in Aiken, Edgefield and Barnwell counties but edged up in McCormick County, according to the South Carolina Employment Security Commission.

Aiken County's 3.6 percent unemployment last month was a decrease from 4.4 percent in October. Edgefield County's joblessness rate was 4.1 percent in November, down from 4.3 percent the month before. In Barnwell County, the rate fell to 6.2 percent from 6.3 percent.

In McCormick County, the jobless rate increased from 8.2 percent in October to 8.5 percent last month.

Statewide, South Carolina's unemployment rate barely moved. It inched up to 3.9 percent in November from 3.8 percent in October.

During the same period, the national unemployment rate dropped to 4.4 percent from 4.6 percent.

Most of the changes in South Carolina were in seasonal jobs, Joel T. Cassidy, the commission's executive director, said Wednesday. Such seasonal peaks and valleys usually are expected.

Adjustments in the calculations are designed to cancel them out, even when they produce more jobs.

Drinkers offered free cabs

A local cab company will provide free rides home tonight and Friday in an effort to prevent drunken driving.

Radio Cab Co., working with wholesale distributor A.B. Beverage Co. and several local bars and restaurants, will provide the free Alert Cab service, according to an announcement from the companies.

Under the program, restaurant and bar owners will call a confidential telephone number to request free rides home for patrons who have had too much to drink. A.B. Beverage and Radio Cab will share the costs of the rides.

The program is part of a national effort sponsored by Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. to reduce drunken driving.

Man indicted in fatal shooting

A 20-year-old Augusta man jailed since October has been indicted on murder and weapon charges in the shooting death of his sister's roommate this fall.

A Richmond County grand jury issued an indictment Tuesday against Steven Anthony Donald of the 1900 block of George Road. He faces charges of felony murder, malice murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. Mr. Donald should be arraigned next month.

He is accused of shooting John Mullinax, 26, several times Oct. 21 after the two argued at the home Mr. Mullinax shared with Mr. Donald's sister. Mr. Donald has been jailed without bond since his arrest.

Woman indicted in forgery

A woman indicted this week on 51 counts of forgery is accused of helping herself to her boss's checkbook.

A Richmond County grand jury issued the indictment Tuesday against Wanda Dorn Snyder, 37, of North Augusta. She is accused of forging 51 checks from Jan. 3, 1996, through March 19, 1997, on the account of R.W. Bussey Construction Co., where she was bookkeeper. The checks ranged in value from $150 to $1,500.

Salvation Army to auction cars

The Salvation Army will auction more than 150 cars and trucks at 10 a.m. Jan. 23.

The vehicles will be available for viewing at 9 a.m. Jan. 22 at the Salvation Army office, 1384 Greene St. in Augusta. The auction will be held at the office.

The organization sold 300 cars during three auctions earlier this year, some for as little as $25 and others for as much as $6,000. The vehicles are sold as is, said Wayne Cruey, salvage and retail director.

"What you see is what you get," Mr. Cruey said. "No one at the past auctions has come back with a sad story about the cars."

Mechanic wins lottery millions

ATLANTA -- A 22-year-old diesel mechanic from Guyton claimed $5,378,812 Wednesday from the Georgia Lottery's latest Lotto drawing, a cash option to the $11 million face-value jackpot.

Mark Miller took his wife, Bambi, and eight other family members in tow to lottery headquarters to claim the prize.

The Millers said they plan to pay off debts and build their dream house.

Holiday schedules for New Year's Day:

Local, state and federal government offices: closed Friday.

Richmond, Columbia and Aiken county schools; Aiken Technical College; University of South Carolina Aiken; Augusta State University; Paine College; and Augusta Technical Institute: closed through Sunday.

Richmond, Aiken and Columbia county libraries: closed Friday. In addition, Richmond and Columbia county libraries will be closed Saturday.

Augusta Public Transit: no service Friday.

Richmond and Columbia county landfills: closed Friday.

Aiken garbage: no change.

Browning-Ferris Industries garbage service: no collection Friday. Instead, residential pickup will be Saturday. Place containers at the curb by 7 a.m. Saturday.

Waste Management of Augusta-Aiken: No collection Friday. Instead, pickup will be Saturday.

Augusta-Richmond County Museum: closed Friday.

Morris Museum of Art: closed Friday.

Fort Gordon offices: closed Friday.

Area banks: closed Friday. Some area banks also will be closed Saturday.

Georgia driver's license offices: closed Friday.

Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center administrative office: closed Friday. However, the box office will be open Friday.

U.S. Postal Service: no mail service Friday.

Richard B. Russell project office at Thurmond Lake: closed through Sunday.