Originally created 07/04/00

Across the area



AIKEN
Man is arrested on obscenity charge

A man accused of approaching girls on an Aiken street and making obscene comments was arrested during the weekend on a rarely- used criminal charge.

Jared William Ransom, 34, of the 1000 block of Brookhaven Drive, was charged with two felony counts of communicating obscene messages to women.

The two victims, both 14-year-old girls, told authorities they were walking home Sunday night along Brookhaven Drive when a man in a truck approached them and asked the girls if they wanted to feel his genitalia.

The victims ran to a friend's house, but saw the man again when they came out. He was driving up and down the street, so they ran to another house and called police.

The girls later identified for deputies a house where the truck was located. According to a sheriff's report, the man admitted talking to the girls but denied saying anything obscene.

Mr. Ransom was being held Monday in the Aiken County Detention Center without bond.

AIKEN
Arson suspected in tower fire

Arson is suspected in a fire that damaged a climbing tower at the H. O'Dell Weeks Recreation Center during the weekend.

A resident reported a fire at the Whiskey Road location Sunday to a South Carolina Highway Patrol officer who was in the area. When Aiken public safety officers arrived, they found a smoldering fire near the climbing tower and extinguished it.

The damage to the wall was estimated at $300. Police have no suspects, but the recreation center has been put on extra patrols, a police report stated.

AIKEN
Customer reports toy weapon

Aiken public safety officers don't plan to charge a 17-year-old McDonald's employee who brought a toy gun to work and wore it in his waistband.

A customer at the restaurant on Richland Avenue saw the gun and alerted a public safety officer, who was working nearby. The officer went inside and found the employee, Jamar Peterson, who said he had brought the toy gun to work as a joke.

According to a police report, the gun appeared to be real but was confirmed to be a toy. The teen told the officer he was working with the gun in his waistband when the customer reported it to the officer.

AIKEN
Augustan sues doctor over surgery

An Augusta woman who underwent breast reduction surgery is suing former plastic surgeon Shirley Madison, accusing the Aiken doctor of negligence because she performed the surgery while suffering from psychiatric disabilities.

Ms. Madison was convicted of trying to kill her 7-year-old son in 1998. She is named as a defendant in four lawsuits in Aiken County Court of Common Pleas for surgeries performed before the incident occurred.

In the most recent lawsuit, Peggy Weber of Augusta claims Ms. Madison took out more breast tissue than necessary when she performed her breast reduction surgery Aug. 18, 1997. The mistake necessitated a second surgery and caused permanent disfigurement, pain and suffering and medical expenses, the suit states.

The lawsuit also names Physicians Multispecialty Group and Aiken Regional Medical Centers. Ms. Weber is seeking an award in excess of $10,000.

A lawsuit represents only one side of a dispute.

The defendants have 30 days to respond.

Ms. Madison is currently serving 45 weekends in jail after pleading guilty March 14 to slashing her son's throat.

GEORGIA
Teen surrenders in shooting

ATLANTA - A 16-year-old has been arrested for the early Sunday morning shooting of Atlanta police Officer Melvin Grigley.

Fulton County police Chief George Coleman said the juvenile turned himself in at about 12:30 a.m. Monday.

Sgt. Grigley, 51, a 25-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department, and Debbie Blaylock were sitting in his car in Ms. Blaylock's driveway in College Park at 1 a.m. Sunday when two or three men approached them, according to Fulton County police. Police said the men told Sgt. Grigley and Ms. Blaylock to get out of the car and lie down on the ground and then got into Sgt. Grigley's BMW.

Sgt. Grigley apparently fired six shots at the assailants before they could drive away. The youth who surrendered to authorities had a gunshot wound.

Police said the driver of the car returned fire, hitting Sgt. Grigley once in the chest. Ms. Blaylock was not injured.

The men abandoned the car and fled on foot. Police are searching for two additional suspects, a man known as "C.J." and one who goes by "Rod."

FLORIDA
Teen dies in weekend accident

LAKE COUNTY - A Johnston, S.C., teen-ager was killed in a weekend wreck when the car she was riding in overturned on a rural road in central Florida, said Florida Highway Patrol Cpl. Daniel Bowden.

LaTonya Hammond, a 16-year-old student at Strom Thurmond High School, was visiting her father in Fruitland Park for the summer when the accident occurred Friday, said a director from Amos and Sons Funeral Home.

The Johnston resident and four other teen-agers were thrown from a 1998 Dodge after it ran off a two-lane road and overturned, Cpl. Bowden said. LaTonya, who was in the front passenger seat, died at the scene, he said. Another passenger is in critical condition at an Orlando hospital. No one else was seriously injured, officials said.

The driver of the vehicle was given a blood-alcohol test after several of the teen-agers in the car admitted they had been drinking, Cpl. Bowden said. The test results are expected in the next few weeks, he said. No charges have been filed.

GEORGIA
Boy loses arm in farm accident

CAIRO - A Grady County 8-year-old who lost his arm in a farm accident was in fair condition Monday at a Florida hospital.

Nicholas Cook was helping sort butter beans when his left arm was caught between a conveyor belt and rollers Friday at R&W Produce, said Scott Newberry, chief investigator for the Grady County Sheriff's Department.

Nicholas' mother, Shelia Jones, pressed him against her chest to try to slow the bleeding, and farm workers drove them to Grady General Hospital. He later was flown to Shands Children's Hospital at the University of Florida in Gainesville for surgery.

A co-owner of the farm, Ricky Powe, retrieved the boy's severed arm, packed it in ice and rushed it to the hospital, Investigator Newberry said. But surgeons were unable to attach the arm. No charges are expected in the case.