Originally created 05/20/00

Across the area



AUGUSTA

Man hit by vehicle at recycling center

An Augusta man accidentally was hit by a car Friday morning and dragged several feet after walking in front of the vehicle in the drive-through of Wise Recycling.

David Whitehead, 51, was struck after paying the man who hit him, James Wells, 82, for recycling some aluminum cans, according to an incident report from the Richmond County Sheriff's Department.

Mr. Wells started his 1989 Crown Victoria immediately after receiving his money but did not see Mr. Whitehead walk in front of his car, police said.

After being struck, Mr. Whitehead was dragged 50-60 feet before Mr. Wells stopped the car. Mr. Wells said he didn't stop because the car's accelerator was stuck, the report said.

Mr. Wells was charged with improperly starting a parked vehicle. Mr. Whitehead sustained no serious injuries, the report said.

AUGUSTA

Court refuses convict's appeal

The fact police questioned a teen-ager without a parent present isn't justification to throw out the young man's conviction for rape and burglary, the Georgia Court of Appeals has ruled in an Augusta case.

In an opinion released May 12, the appeals court affirmed Keith D. Attaway's convictions for rape and burglary. The judges wrote that although convictions of juveniles have been set aside because police questioned youths without a parent or guardian present, they reject a per se exclusionary rule for such statements.

Mr. Attaway was convicted by a Richmond County Superior Court jury for the Dec. 12, 1996, rape of a Medical College of Georgia student after breaking into her room. At the time, he was 15 years old. An MCG security officer caught Mr. Attaway in the student's room, and several officers pursued the teen-ager when he fled.

He was captured, taken to the security office, advised of his constitutional rights and voluntarily gave a statement, the appeal judges noted. He did not ask for a parent, he was not questioned for an excessive time, he was not threatened, and he did not resist questions, they wrote.

Mr. Attaway was sentenced in January 1998 to life plus an additional 20 years in prison.

AUGUSTA

Woman gets 10 years for forgery

An Augusta woman accused of helping herself to approximately $14,669 from other people's checking accounts received a 10-year prison sentence Friday.

Willie Mae Mincey, 43, pleaded guilty to 82 forgery charges and misdemeanor charges Friday in Richmond County Superior Court. Judge Carl C. Brown Jr. accepted the prosecutor's recommendation that Ms. Mincey should receive a 10-year prison sentence followed by 10 years' probation.

Assistant District Attorney Jason Troiano explained the recommendation Friday, telling the judge that Ms. Mincey cooperated with investigators after her arrest and hopes she can repay the victims while on probation. Defense attorney Jeff Bowman said Ms. Mincey, the mother of six children, ran into financial difficulties and began committing the forgery crimes.

Ms. Mincey already is serving an eight-year sentence she received in Columbia County Superior Court in October.

FORT GORDON

Soldier will face trial in slaying

A Fort Gordon soldier has returned to North Carolina to face murder charges in the death of a Gastonia, N.C., man last month.

Gastonia authorities removed Pvt. Stevie Lipscomb, 23, from the Richmond County jail Friday afternoon, and he arrived in his hometown at about 4 p.m., Gastonia police Capt. Mike Quilliams said. He is being held in the Gaston County Jail without bond pending a hearing next week.

According to Capt. Quilliams, both Pvt. Lipscomb and his cousin, Chance Lipscomb, 21, are charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Charles Ratchford, 19, on April 22. Police said that after an argument at Mr. Ratchford's residence at about 11:15 p.m., he was shot five or six times in the chest.

Capt. Quilliams declined to say which suspect is accused of the shooting, citing an ongoing investigation. More people could be arrested, he said.

Fort Gordon spokesman James Hudgins said Pvt. Lipscomb had been stationed at the base for several months. He was a member of A Company, 442nd Signal Battalion.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Fire consumes undeveloped acres

A woods fire burned two acres of undeveloped land just inside the Georgia Highway 28 gate of West Lake subdivision Friday. The cause of the blaze is still undetermined.

The fire was contained within 15 minutes, according to the Martinez Fire Department. There were no injuries and no damage to any structures.

Department spokeswoman Honey Shore warned residents to curtail all outdoor burning until the current drought subsides.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Restaurant evacuates after blaze

A kitchen fire Friday at the Golden Corral restaurant, 227 Bobby Jones Expressway, likely was caused by a grease flare-up, according to the Martinez Fire Department.

Customers were evacuated from the building, and one employee suffered minor burns to the right hand.

Firefighters arrived at 6:30 p.m. to find smoke and flames rising from a vent in the roof. The fire, confined to the grill area, was extinguished quickly, department spokeswoman Honey Shore said.

The building sustained slight smoke damage throughout, in addition to water damage from activation of the sprinkler system.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Thurmond hospitalized for pain

WASHINGTON - South Carolina's 97-year-old senior senator, Strom Thurmond, was hospitalized in Washington early Friday with lower back pain.

Doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center determined that Mr. Thurmond, who still exercises daily, had thrown out his back, said John DeCrosta, an aide to the senator.

He said Mr. Thurmond has had lower back problems for several years, and this one will keep him in the hospital for an unknown period of time.

The hospitalization was the senator's third at Walter Reed in the past two weeks. The others were attributed to a stomach malady.

Because of his age, Mr. Thurmond tends to seek treatment in military hospitals when he feels tired or has pain of any kind. He also was hospitalized several times last year, mainly for fatigue.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Minor injury sustained in wreck

An accident involving a Columbia County sheriff's deputy and another driver Thursday night resulted in minor injuries and a traffic citation, according to police officials.

Deputy Andre Jenkins, 44, was traveling south on Belair Road when a white 1994 Pontiac Grand Prix pulled into his path at the intersection of Oakley Pirkle Road, police said. The Georgia State Patrol was called to investigate the accident, which occurred at about 10:30 p.m.

Jennifer Upton, 24, of Martinez, was charged with failure to yield while turning left, according to a state patrol spokesman.

The deputy and a civilian rider, Austin Redfearn, 19, of Martinez, were transported to Medical College of Georgia Hospital and treated for minor injuries, police said. The deputy - who has been with the sheriff's department about six years - was responding to a call at Ridge Crossing Apartments at the time of the accident, Capt. Steve Morris said. The civilian rider was in the patrol car as part of the department's ride-along program.

The patrol car was heavily damaged.