Originally created 09/27/00

Across the area



AUGUSTA
Woman hurt in wreck with deputy

A south Augusta woman was critically injured Tuesday after pulling into the path of a Richmond County sheriff's patrol car on Lumpkin Road, just a few blocks from her home.

Police and witnesses said the woman - driving a white Mercury Villager with her husband - was turning left onto Lumpkin Road from Abelia Road onto Yates Drive when she was struck by a deputy eastbound on Lumpkin Road. Sheriff Charlie Webster identified the deputy as David Carter.

Georgia State Patrol Trooper T.W. Crawford declined to release the woman's name because next of kin had not been notified. She was in critical condition at Medical College of Georgia Hospital early Wednesday; her husband's condition was not available.

The cause of the accident appeared to be failure to yield on the woman's part, Trooper Crawford said. Deputy Carter, who was not injured, will be placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the State Patrol investigation, the sheriff said.

AUGUSTA
Education tops candidate forum

During a south Richmond County political forum, residents asked candidates questions about the future of education and the state law that has altered it - House Bill 1187.

Tuesday night, candidates running for the state and local posts in the Nov. 7 elections attended a forum at the University Hospital Medical Center on Peach Orchard Road to give their positions on what Augustans consider to be the city's burgeoning issue.

Residents heard candidates for the Richmond County sheriff's race, Ronnie Strength and Leon Garvin; the Richmond County Civil and Magistrate Court chief judge seat, William D. Jennings and Ben Jackson; Georgia House District 115, Jack Connell, D-Augusta, and Cherie Foster; Georgia House District 119, Thomas Atkins and George DeLoach, R-Hephzibah; and state Senate candidate D.L. Johnson, who will run against state Sen. Charles W. Walker, D-Augusta. Mr. Walker did not attend the forum.

State officials said that the bill would get needed revisions during the next four years. Attendees complained that it cut the number of needed teaching assistants, physical education and arts programs, and doesn't provide more pay for teachers. Ms. Foster, who has been a Richmond County school board member for several years, said the bill needs to address discipline and classroom control problems teachers are having and the practice of promoting students who aren't prepared for the next level.

RICHMOND COUNTY
Police charge man with killing dog

Police arrested a south Augusta man and charged him with the killing of a neighbor's black Labrador retriever Monday, a police investigator said.

Officers charged Donald Keith Fowler, 60, of the 4300 block of Old Waynesboro Road, with cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor, Richmond County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Wayne Pinkston said.

"He shot it several times with a .22 rifle," Sgt. Pinkston said. "Supposedly, the dog had been bothering this guy's garbage. This was maybe the second time he had seen him, and he just decided to get rid of the dog. So he did. He shot it, and it went down, and he stood over it and shot it two or three more times and carried it off to Seago Road and dumped it out."

If the dog had been threatening or menacing Mr. Fowler or anyone else, he would not have been charged, the sergeant said.

COLUMBIA COUNTY
Schools picked to form councils

Columbia County school officials have identified three schools to implement the school councils mandated under Georgia's education reform act.

Harlem High School, Greenbrier Middle School and Evans Elementary School will be the first schools to develop the advisory school councils by Oct. 1, 2001, Superintendent Tommy Price said during Tuesday's school board meeting.

The reform act requires that school systems have councils operating at one elementary, one middle and one high school by that date and at half the district's schools by Oct. 1, 2002.

Each council will include the school principal, two parents, two teachers and two businessmen from the community. Members will be selected in May, with training in June and July, Mr. Price said.

The councils will make recommendations to school boards on areas of school operation. They also will advise principals on employment decisions and will make recommendations to the school board on the selection of a school principal.

AUGUSTA
Blaze keeps firefighters on scene

A fire Monday night off Deans Bridge Road destroyed two small businesses and a residence and kept Richmond County firefighters on the scene more than 12 hours.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. It began just after 8 p.m. at 2459 Ridge Road as thunderstorms rolled into the area. Firefighters with Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department were there past midnight quenching hot spots. A replacement crew arrived and stayed until 9 a.m. Tuesday, Battalion Chief Bryan McFeely said.

L&M TV Sales and Service, Audrey's Hair Express and an upstairs apartment were incinerated, and flames burned through the roof of the building, he said. No one was inside when the fire began.

BARNWELL COUNTY
Schools reopen after flooding

Schools in Barnwell County's District 45 are open today after heavy downpours several days ago left the elementary school flooded.

Pupils at Guinyard-Butler Middle School and Barnwell High School should report to class at their regularly scheduled times today.

Barnwell Elementary School is open today only to fifth-graders. Pupils in the remaining grades won't be allowed to return to campus until notified, spokeswoman Valenda D. Black said Tuesday.

Construction crews are removing carpet from several buildings on the elementary school campus, she said.

For more information, call (803) 541-1300.

GEORGIA
State investigates pupil's paddling

IRWINTON - The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and child welfare officials are investigating the paddling of a sixth-grader at Wilkinson County Middle School.

Michael Lowery, who has attention deficit disorder, suffered blisters and bruises when the principal struck him three times on the buttocks for getting into a shoving match with a classmate last week, said his mother, Cathy Vinson.

Corporal punishment is legal in Wilkinson County, located east of Macon. But Ms. Vinson said this paddling went too far.

"This wasn't a whupping. This was abuse," she told WAGA-TV in Atlanta.

The GBI is looking into the matter at the request of the county sheriff's office, and Ms. Vinson also contacted the county Department of Family and Children Services. Principal Aaron Jeter declined to discuss the matter Tuesday. He told WAGA, "If I injured a kid, intentionally or unintentionally, I regret it."

GEORGIA
Former deputy charged in theft

DUBLIN - A former Laurens County sheriff's deputy is accused of stealing items from a home where he executed a search warrant.

Doug Reed, 23, was charged with felony theft by taking last week, said Dean McManus, a special agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in Eastman.

Mr. Reed, who was released on $5,000 bail, was fired shortly before Sheriff Kenny Webb asked the GBI to investigate.

Mr. Reed was part of a four-person team from the Dublin-Laurens County drug task force that executed a search warrant July 9 and 10 at the home of Tommy Coleman, a former East Dublin pharmacist.

Mr. Reed, who drove the evidence from the home in his own car, allegedly failed to check some of it into police custody, said Greg Harvey, special agent in charge of the Eastman GBI office.

GEORGIA
State rules arson in plane fires

ARLINGTON - Authorities say an arson fire destroyed four crop-dusting planes in southwest Georgia.

The burning planes were discovered just before 3 a.m. Tuesday at a private airstrip owned by H.A. Jordan, who also owned the aircraft. Mr. Jordan has a crop-dusting business in Arlington, 35 miles west of Albany.

The flames consumed the aircraft, with damages estimated at $500,000, said John Oxendine, the state fire marshal. Mr. Oxendine said the fire is being investigated as arson.

Authorities are offering rewards of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

GEORGIA
Ex-kennel employee sentenced

McDONOUGH - An employee of a now-closed Henry County kennel has been sentenced to a year of probation and fined $850 for roughly handling a dog.

Sarah Slagle, 21, entered a no-contest plea to a single count of misdemeanor animal cruelty in state court Friday.

Cloud 9 Pet Resort of Ellenwood shut its doors and its owner turned over his kennel license in 1999 after an Atlanta television station aired images of Ms. Slagle handling the dog, which was yelping in pain.

Ms. Slagle's plea says she "negligently and willfully" pulled with a choke-chain on the dog, inflicting "unjustifiable pain and/or suffering," Henry County Solicitor John Rutherford said. He said Ms. Slagle had no prior convictions.

Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin suspended owner Clay Harbin's license after television aired the footage.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Police: Toddler died from abuse

FLORENCE - A 19-month-old boy has died after being beaten in the head, investigators say.

Florence County deputies were treating it as a case of homicide by child abuse, Capt. Todd Tucker said, although no arrests had been made as of Tuesday afternoon.

Capt. Tucker would not discuss details of how Ralph Edward Poston III died. The boy was taken off life support Sunday night.

An autopsy showed several bruises, and bleeding and swelling on the child's brain , Florence County Coroner M.G. "Bubba" Matthews said.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Derailed train dumps coal cargo

SPARTANBURG - A CSX coal train derailed Tuesday morning, dumping more than 4,000 tons of coal on a highway.

The accident took place Tuesday morning on the tracks paralleling U.S. Highway 221 near the Enoree community.

Investigators don't know why the train jumped the track. A CSX spokesman said the tracks passed inspection Sept. 15.

No one was injured on the train, but a Spartanburg County sheriff's deputy plowed into the coal spill as he patrolled the area shortly after the derailment.