Originally created 05/13/00

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One employee dies after chemical spill

TWIN CITY - A chemical spill at an Emanuel County manufacturing center Friday killed a 55-year-old employee and sent workers, law enforcement officers and fire personnel to a nearby hospital for treatment.

About 20 gallons of hydrofluoric acid spilled just before noon at CheMaster Inc. in Twin City. Henry Jones Jr., of Waynesboro, was found unresponsive by another employee, according to the Emanuel County Sheriff's Office. At least one other employee was hospitalized at Emanuel Medical Center after the incident, according to the sheriff's office.

Hazardous Material teams were summoned to contain and clean up the chemical, and Georgia Emergency Management Agency and Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division officials were also on the scene. The cause of the spill is still under investigation by local, county and state authorities.

CheMaster Inc. manufactures industrial cleaning products and is owned by Twin City-based Hunter Sales Inc.


Warrants issued for teens

A 16-year-old Augusta boy, already in custody at Richmond County Youth Detention Center for another matter, was charged with armed robbery, robbery by force and kidnapping in connection with two separate Augusta robberies last April.

Warrants have been issued for two other teens suspected in the two incidents, said Maj. Ken Autry of Richmond County Sheriff's Department.

Warrants were issued for Christian Hernandez, 17, of Evans, and James Charles Embree, 17, of Martinez.

The first robbery occurred April 7 outside the Dairy Queen at the intersection of Washington and Fury's Ferry roads. A girl, waiting for her boyfriend outside the restaurant, was robbed at knife-point by two men who jumped into her car, officials said.

The second incident occurred near the Old Navy Store at 219 Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway on April 8. A car pulled beside a 65-year-old woman, and one man leaned out the passenger window and grabbed her purse from her shoulder, dragging her several feet before she let go, officials said.

Both of the wanted teens are in Mexico, Maj. Autry said. Initially, either Mr. Hernandez or Mr. Embree decided to visit a sick relative in Mexico and the other went along, but they both stayed, he said.

Investigators are also looking for a girl named "Heather" who might be involved in the two incidents, Maj. Autry said.

Anyone with information should call investigators at (706) 821-1020.


Two arrested in several thefts

Two men have been arrested and charged in a series of west Augusta thefts that netted nearly $8,000 in stolen goods during the past month.

Mark Edward Boulware, 41, of Williston, S.C., and John Travis Mitchum, 34, of Fenwick Street, have been charged with nine counts of theft by taking in separate robberies in the area of Aumond, Boy Scout and Trafalgar roads, said Investigator Richard Roundtree of the Richmond County Sheriff's Department.

The first of 16 robberies in the area was reported May 1, Investigator Roundtree said. Most of the reports from witnesses said two men driving a white pickup were seen in the area at the time of the robberies.

On Wednesday, a road patrol deputy saw a truck matching the description in the 3100 block of Trafalgar Road and attempted to pull it over, Investigator Roundtree said.

The driver of the truck led police on a chase before crashing near Lumpkin Road. The men tried to run from police, but Mr. Boulware was caught by officers, Investigator Roundtree said.

Mr. Mitchum was arrested Thursday at his residence, Investigator Roundtree said.

The two men are accused of stealing lawn mowers, bicycles, leaf blowers, golf clubs and other items that people left in their yards, garages and car ports, Investigator Roundtree said. The two sold the items for drug money, he said.

About half of the stolen items recovered by the sheriff's department have been picked up by their owners, Investigator Roundtree said.

If anyone purchased items from Mr. Boulware or Mr. Mitchum or would like to report a robbery he thinks might be connected to the two men, he is asked to call the sheriff's department at (706) 821-1020.


CNN personality will speak

Former Augusta resident Judy Woodruff of CNN is the featured speaker during a Sunday night fund-raiser for St. Paul Episcopal Church's new Children's Ministry Center.

Ms. Woodruff - a Richmond Academy graduate - will present "An Insider's View of the Media: My Best Insights and Favorite Stories" at 6 p.m. at the church on Reynolds Street.

For information, call 724-2485. Tickets cost $5 for the speech or $25 for a reception at the Augusta Museum of History and the speech.


Soldier will face court-martial

FORT STEWART - A Fort Stewart soldier charged in the fatal shooting of a fellow soldier in Kuwait will face a general court-martial.

Spc. Johnny L. Brewer of Tennille faces one count of premeditated murder, three counts of false swearing and one count of making a false official statement.

Pfc. Christopher D. Baber, 19, of Paris, Ky., was shot Dec. 29 while he was on guard duty at a desert encampment known as Diamond Head Kabal. He died at a military hospital in Kuwait City.

Spc. Brewer is being held in naval confinement in Charleston, S.C. His court-martial is scheduled for July 19 at Fort Stewart.

Both soldiers were members of 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry, from Fort Stewart. They had arrived in Kuwait in mid-December as part of a routine training rotation.


Officer charged for molestation

CAIRO - A Whigham police officer has been charged with child molestation involving a teen-age girl, authorities said.

Stephan Patrick Gruber is also charged with enticing a child for indecent purposes and violation of his oath of office. He posted $15,000 bail and was released from the Grady County jail Thursday.

Mr. Gruber, 42, was arrested Wednesday, the day he was also fired by police Chief Tony Black. Mr. Gruber had been with the department since July 1998.

"It was brought to our attention through the police department that there were allegations this officer was having an improper relationship with a young female under the age of 16," said John White, an assistant special agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.


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