Originally created 01/20/99

Across the area



Boy dies from injuries suffered in car crash

An 11-year-old Lithonia, Ga., boy, critically injured Sunday in a three-vehicle crash on Interstate 20 in McDuffie County, died Tuesday at Medical College of Georgia Hospital.

Darion Mack's death brings the toll to three of six occupants of a 1987 Dodge Colt Vista who died as result of Sunday's crash.

Their vehicle collided with a transfer truck about 1:30 p.m. near the McDuffie-Warren county line, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

Two other passengers, Larry Bembrg, 41, of Stone Mountain, Ga., and Christine Johns, 11, of Clarkston, Ga., also died in the accident.

The driver of the Dodge, Joseph Readus, 53, of Lithonia and 3-year-old Antwuan Johns, of Clarkston were listed in good condition Tuesday at the hospital.

Elizabeth Reid, 43, of Clarkston was in fair condition.

Occupants of the transfer truck and a Plymouth Voyager, also involved in the wreck, weren't injured, police said.

Woman robbed in bathroom

An Augusta woman was robbed in a bathroom in University Hospital's professional building Tuesday afternoon, and police officers quickly snatched a suspect.

Bonnie Simons, 56, was leaving a doctor's appointment at about 2:30 p.m. at the downtown building when she stopped to use a restroom, said Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Mark Bowen.

While Ms. Simons was in the stall, a woman reached under the stall door and snatched her bag.

When Ms. Simons tried to run from the stall, the woman pulled a knife and stole her purse as the two struggled.

Ms. Simons was bruised and saw her doctor again before she left.

Marilyn McCarter, 42, a homeless woman living at Augusta's Salvation Army shelter, was arrested by University Hospital security guards and Richmond County deputies while trying to get in a car outside, Investigator Bowen said.

Ms. McCarter was charged with armed robbery and was taken to the Richmond County jail.

Man rescued from burning house

Two Augusta men pulled an elderly man in a wheelchair from his burning residence Tuesday night.

Jim Pontoon was helped out of the house at 842 Adams St. by David Calhoun and Alex Hammond Jr.

Mr. Hammond, 50, whose father lives in the neighborhood, said he knew Mr. Pontoon was confined to a wheelchair.

Mr. Hammond and Mr. Calhoun were walking on Ninth Street about 6:30 p.m., saw the house on fire and ran over.

"It was in flames and we had to kick the door in and go in and pull him out," he said.

Paramedics treated both men at the scene for smoke inhalation. Mr. Pontoon was also treated at the scene and is staying with family members.

A firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion and another sprained his ankle after falling off a ladder. The house had smoke and water damage.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, said spokeswoman Katrice Bryant of the Richmond County Fire Department.

Mays expected to make city meeting

Augusta Commissioner Willie Mays, hospitalized in Minneapolis with pneumonia following the National Football Conference championship game Sunday, is recovering and in good spirits, Augusta Mayor Bob Young said Tuesday.

Mr. Mays, commissioner for Augusta's District 9, was admitted Sunday to Fairview-Southdale Hospital in Minneapolis. He was in Minnesota to attend the game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Minnesota Vikings.

Mr. Young, who spoke to Mr. Mays on Tuesday, said the commissioner expects to be released from the hospital in time to attend the Georgia Municipal Association meeting beginning Saturday in Atlanta.

Deputies to enforce traffic code

Columbia County sheriff's deputies will enforce traffic laws within the gates of West Lake subdivision starting March 1.

"This is really just a formality," County Attorney Doug Batchelor told county commissioners Tuesday night. "The roads are private property, so without going through this process the sheriff can't enforce the uniform rules of the road."

West Lake has been a private, gated community since it was built about two decades ago.

It includes about 785 homes and a golf course covers more than 1,000 acres between Fury's Ferry and Stevens Creek roads.

In the past, the sheriff's department couldn't enforce traffic laws unless the neighborhood petitioned the county for public enforcement.

West Lake's petition included signatures from more than 50 percent of the neighborhood's population.



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