Originally created 10/30/00

Across the area



GEORGIA
Bus driver: Police ignored call on fall

MACON - A Macon bus driver says police ignored his report of seeing a man fall in the Ocmulgee River and could have saved the man who escaped from probation officials Oct. 10.

Terry Walker Sr., 51, said he saw and notified police there was a man in distress in the water about the same time Steven Lamond Johnson was seen running from police. Mr. Johnson, 24, who was handcuffed when he escaped, was found by two fishermen six days later. A coroner said he drowned.

Mr. Walker said that while driving his route across a bridge the afternoon of Mr. Johnson's escape, he saw something or someone drop into the water.

"I called the police and asked them if they were looking for someone, because I saw a large splash that looked like someone either dove or fell in," Mr. Walker said.

Police formally questioned Mr. Walker on Saturday about what he'd seen. He said they have agreed to review 911 tapes to see whether his report is true.

Mr. Johnson's family has called for his body to be exhumed because they believe he was beaten before he died.

AUGUSTA
Woman reports church lot robbery

A woman was robbed at gunpoint Sunday night in the parking lot of the Trumpet of Zion Church in Augusta.

The victim was getting into her car at the church, located at 725 Laney-Walker Blvd., when two men approached her demanding her wallet, a Richmond County Sheriff's report states. One of the suspects pointed a .22-caliber handgun at the victim.

The suspects stole the woman's wallet and ran eastbound toward Seventh Street, the report states.

The report describes one suspect as between the ages of 13 and 16, black, and wearing a white T-shirt and blue sweat pants. The second is described as black, 6 feet tall and slender. Both offenders placed white T-shirts over their faces.

RICHMOND COUNTY
Pupil alerts neighbors of fire

Mathew Poss, 11, was just trying to help out Sunday night when he alerted his neighbors to a nearby brush fire.

When Mathew and his family saw a fire burning near a home at 2495 Patiller Road, the Hephzibah Elementary School pupil rang the doorbell, kicked and banged on the door until residents inside responded.

"It could have burned the house down," said the young man, who said he might one day be a firefighter. "They had no idea there was fire burning in their back yard."

The Hephzibah Fire Department responded to the fire shortly after 6 p.m., according to Capt. Virgil Payton. The fire was under control 20 minutes later.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Neighbors share abuse suspicions

ANDERSON - Neighbors of a 4-year-old girl whose father and stepmother have been charged in her death say they were overwhelmed by the signs of potential abuse they saw.

Stephanie Nicole Carter died Oct. 17. Anderson County Sheriff Gene Taylor said she arrived at an area hospital nearly brain dead.

The girl's 29-year-old father, Derek Shane Carter, and 30-year-old stepmother, Ila Michele Carter, have been charged with homicide by child abuse and great bodily injury on a child.

Neighbor Dennis Denardo said the girl used to play with his son. "When she did come over she would have bruises all over her," he said.

Mr. Denardo and his wife say they heard the stepmother refer to Stephanie as "the dog." But they said they couldn't tell whether criminal activity was going on.

Lynn Whitlock and her sister, Faye Sturgill, said they called the authorities on the Carters in September. They also said the Department of Social Services had been contacted.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Man sought in woman's death

HONEA PATH - Authorities are seeking a 31-year-old Anderson man in connection with a Honea Path killing.

Edna Michelle Crisp, 32, was found dead Friday morning in her home.

Honea Path Police Chief Steve Hanks said officials are looking for Hector Noe Duran Rosas in connection with the case.

Chief Hanks said the killing may be connected to a domestic dispute and possible break-in at Ms. Crisp's home Thursday night.

Chief Hanks said Ms. Crisp was found with several puncture wounds to her face and neck.

Anderson County Deputy Coroner Wilton Mackey said Friday that the puncture wounds were probably the cause of death, but that he would await autopsy results.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Lawyer seeks new trial for school

CHARLESTON - A Porter-Gaud lawyer said a jury's $105 million award against the private school and two school officials was excessive and asked a judge to toss out the verdict or try the case again before a different jury.

Circuit Judge Daniel Pieper said he would consider the school's request and make a decision at a later date.

A jury this week awarded $15 million in actual and $90 million in punitive damages after a trial showed the school helped a teacher, Eddie Fischer, get a job at another school even though they knew he was molesting pupils.

Bobby Stepp, an attorney representing the school and the estates of two deceased school officials, Berkeley Grimball and James Bishop Alexander, said the jury was motivated by passion, not evidence.

Gregg Meyers, the attorney for the father of a former Porter-Gaud pupil, said the jury's verdict was intended to send a message to school administrators that they should properly investigate allegations of sexual misconduct. Nine lawsuits against the school are pending.

Meetings this week

Today: Richmond County Board of Elections called meeting, 6:30 p.m., Room 104, county municipal building.

Tuesday: Augusta-Richmond County Commission, finance and appropriation committee, 1 p.m., eighth-floor committee room, county municipal building.

Augusta-Richmond County Commission, administrative services committee, 2 p.m., eighth-floor committee room, county municipal building.

Augusta-Richmond County Commission, engineering services committee, 2:30 p.m., eighth-floor committee room, county municipal building.

Augusta-Richmond County Commission, public safety committee, 3:30 p.m., eighth-floor committee room, county municipal building.

Augusta-Richmond County Commission, public services committee, 4 p.m., eighth-floor committee room, county municipal building.

Thursday: Columbia County Planning and Zoning Commission, 6:30 p.m., Evans Government Complex auditorium.

Bloodmobile locations

The following is a list of locations for the Shepeard Community Blood Center blood drives for the week:

Today: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Butler High School, 2011 Lumpkin Road; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Halloween Drive, Shepeard Community Blood Center, 1533 Wrightsboro Road; 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Halloween Drive, Shepeard's Aiken Community Blood Center, SRP Federal Credit Union Building, 1920 Whiskey Road, Aiken.

Tuesday: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., SRS Wackenhut; 12:30 to 3 p.m., SRS C Area; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Cross Creek High School, 3855 Old Waynesboro Road; 6 to 9 p.m., Grace Baptist Carnival, 4798 Hardy McManus Road.

Wednesday: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., SRS E Area; 5 to 8:30 p.m., Curtis Baptist Church, 1326 Broad St.

Thursday: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., SRS H Tritium; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Shepeard's Aiken Community Blood Center, SRP Federal Credit Union Building, 1920 Whiskey Road, Aiken; 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Samsun Manufacturing, 13th Street, Waynesboro, Ga.; 1:30 to 4 p.m., Gary Safe, 1 Gary Way, Waynesboro, Ga.

Friday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Shepeard's Aiken Community Blood Center, SRP Federal Credit Union Building, 1920 Whiskey Road, Aiken; 2 to 5 p.m., 1816 Bill's Dollar Store, International Boulevard.

Saturday: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Huber Farms; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Church of Jesus Christ, 835 N. Belair Road.

Sunday: 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 402 Aumond Road; noon to 3 p.m., Franklin Baptist Church, 4800 Franklin Covenant Church.

American Red Cross Blood Services will hold a drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at Martin Color Fi, South Carolina Highway 121, Edgefield, S.C.