Originally created 07/29/99

Area briefs: Police investigate child neglect case

Aiken County sheriff's officers are investigating a case of child neglect in which three Beech Island children were left alone at home while their parents went on a cruise to the Bahamas.

The children's aunt reported the neglect, telling investigators the children called and asked to stay with herafter the parents left for the cruise. The parents left at 1 a.m. Sunday and were expected to be gone all week.

The children are ages 10, 12 and 14, and the family lives in a trailer home along Church Road. The children must bathe using a plastic foot tub, authorities said.

The parents left no money and only a small food supply, including hot dogs, noodles, two small pizzas and a six-pack of soft drinks, authorities said. The parents have not contacted family members since leaving for the cruise.

The aunt, whom police did not identify, has been given protective custody of the children, and the South Carolina Department of Social Services has been notified, the report stated.

Appling couple killed in wreck

An Appling couple died after a van crossed the center line of White Oak Road in Thomson and hit their car head-on.

Frances Allen, 66, and her husband, Thomas Allen, 70, of the 6700 block of Gay Road were driving toward Columbia County at 5:20 p.m. Tuesday when a van driven by John Stowe, 52, of Hephzibah crossed the center line and hit them head-on, police said.

The Allens were declared dead later Tuesday night at Medical College of Georgia Hospital.

Mr. Stowe, who is confined to a wheelchair and was driving a specially equipped van, was taken to MCG with a broken leg, authorities said.

No charges were filed in the accident, which police said Wednesday still was under investigation.

Shelter drops appeal of lawsuit

An Aiken emergency shelter will pay $75,000 to the family of a woman who was killed by her abusive husband when shelter workers took her to meet him, the shelter's director said Wednesday.

The Cumbee Center to Assist Abused Persons decided to drop its appeal of a jury's $103,000 verdict in a wrongful-death lawsuit and settled the case. The settlement will ensure the survival of the nonprofit organization, executive director Kay Mixon said.

"We needed to get this behind us," she said.

The shelter's insurance provider will pay $25,000 of the settlement. The shelter will pay the rest from money generated through donations and fund-raisers.

An Aiken County jury in March ruled that Cumbee Center was wrong to drive Sabrenia Rouse Neal to meet her husband on April 19, 1995, nine days after she and her three children left him and moved to the shelter. At the meeting, George Neal shot his wife to death and then killed himself after luring her to an attorney's office with a phony story, police said.

Board denies parole for inmates

A former Augusta resident serving a life sentence for murder and two Augusta area men serving life sentences for armed robbery were denied parole recently.

Louis Derrick Jr., 33, will remain behind bars as he has since beating Leon Posey, 42, to death in 1992, according to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. Mr. Posey's body was found dumped in a ditch off Lovers Lane on June 18, 1992. Sheriff's investigators concluded he was killed five days earlier at a Courtland Drive residence.

The board also denied parole for Kenneth Warren Riley, 29, sentenced to life in prison for a Valentine Day's 1991 armed robbery of a First Union Bank branch in Augusta. The board also denied parole for Timothy Lowell Stone, 31, who was convicted on July 8, 1996, of robbing a Gordon Highway motel clerk at gunpoint.

The three men will be considered for parole again in 2007. Georgia law requires the parole board to consider parole at specific intervals, although such reviews do not mean parole is granted.

Man charged in child sex case

A Clearwater man has been charged with having sex with one child and fondling a child, Aiken County sheriff's officials said Wednesday.

Danny Lee Norman, 41, of the 900 block of Orange St., was charged Tuesday with first-degree criminal sexual conduct, criminal sexual conduct with a minor and two counts of unlawful conduct with a child.

The charges relate to incidents between January and March. The victims' 23-year-old sister reported the accusations to the sheriff's office. The victims were girls ages 15 and 7.

Pine beetle epidemic declared

EDGEFIELD, S.C. -- The South Carolina Forestry Commission has declared a Southern pine beetle epidemic in Edgefield, McCormick and Saluda counties.

Southern pine beetles can strangle trees by boring through bark and draining them of their food. The six-legged pests can kill a 100-foot tree in days. The pine beetles also give out a scent that draws more beetles to the tree.

A pine is under attack when its needles turn yellow, then red, then brown and then cover the ground. Gobs of dried sap also show up around the trunk of a tree. Destruction from the Southern pine beetle can be confirmed when small, S-shaped tunnels are found on the underside of tree bark. By then, it's too late to stop them.

To avoid losing other trees, cut down the infected tree and spray the wood with Lindane or Dursban, forestry officials advised. The wood also can be burned. Uninfected trees can be sprayed every two to six months with the same pesticides on the bark from just under the lowest branches to the ground.

Man surrenders in stabbing

An Augusta man wanted in a stabbing at a Columbia County convenience store has surrendered to police.

David Maurice Wilson, 33, of Oak Ridge Avenue in Augusta, gave himself up to Columbia County sheriff's deputies at 11 p.m. Tuesday. He was charged with aggravated assault and possession of a knife during commission of a crime.

Deputies took Mr. Wilson to the Columbia County Detention Center. A bond for his release from jail had not been set Wednesday.

Mr. Wilson is accused of stabbing Billy Clark III, 40, of East View Drive in the chest after they argued in the dining area at the Pump-N-Shop store on Washington Road. The two men were co-workers at Georgia-Carolina Stucco.

An unidentified driver took Mr. Clark to Columbia Augusta Medical Center after the stabbing. Information about his condition was not available Wednesday, authorities said.


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