Originally created 01/02/01

Across the area



BEECH ISLAND
Death blamed on too much alcohol

An Aiken County man who apparently drank too much during a New Year's Eve party was found dead early Monday.

The coroner's office has ruled the death of Charles Glover, 31, as alcohol poisoning. An autopsy showed his blood-alcohol level to be 0.388, nearly four times the legal limit of 0.10, said Deputy Coroner Tim Carlton.

Authorities said Mr. Glover and his wife attended a party in Beech Island on Sunday and decided to stay overnight so they wouldn't have to drive to Augusta, where they were living temporarily with a relative.

When friends tried to awaken Mr. Glover at 6:30 a.m., he didn't respond, Mr. Carlton said.

AIKEN
Woman found days after death

An Aiken County woman found dead Sunday afternoon was killed two days earlier when the tractor she was driving flipped over and crushed her.

A friend, who became concerned when Amy Beard didn't show up for church, found her lying in her yard on Morris Road. She probably had been dead since Friday, Deputy Coroner Tim Carlton said.

Ms. Beard, 42, apparently had been smoothing her driveway with a strand of chain-link fence that was hooked to the tractor. Mr. Carlton said it appeared that a piece of the fence got hung on a landscape timber. When the fence wouldn't budge, Ms. Beard must have over accelerated the tractor, which caused it to flip over, Mr. Carlton said.

AUGUSTA
Police seek robbery suspect

Richmond County investigators are looking for information on a woman who robbed a convenience store early Monday morning.

According to police, a woman walked into the Depot Food Store on Wheeless Road, used the restroom, purchased an item and then left. Moments later she returned, purchased another item, then stuck her right hand into her coat pocket, indicated she was armed and ordered the store's clerk to empty the cash register.

The suspect is described as white with dark-brown hair, 5 feet 4 inches to 5 feet 6 inches tall with a slender build and wearing a white V-neck sweater and black turtleneck shirt and black stretch pants. Those with information can contact the sheriff's department at 821-1080.

GEORGIA
Savannah man dies in fire

RICHMOND HILL - A Savannah man visiting a friend was killed in an early-morning trailer fire.

Kevin William Collins, 30, was alone in the trailer when fire broke out at about 4:30 a.m. Sunday, Bryan County Coroner Sam C. Davis Jr. said Monday. Firefighters were called when a neighbor was awakened by the smell of smoke, he said.

Mr. Collins apparently was staying with a friend who lived in the trailer outside Richmond Hill, about 15 miles southwest of Savannah, Mr. Davis said.

Authorities had not determined the cause of the blaze Monday. An autopsy was scheduled at the state crime lab in Atlanta.

GEORGIA
Teen dies after police chase

HINESVILLE - A Glennville teen was killed Saturday night in a car crash after he led a Liberty County sheriff's deputy on a short chase.

Michael Johnson, 16, was being held at the Claxton Youth Detention Center and was allowed to leave for his grandmother's funeral, said Sgt. J.J. Durrence of the Hinesville office of the Georgia State Patrol.

While at the funeral, Michael allegedly stole the pastor's car. Later a deputy tried to stop the car, which sped away.

Sgt. Durrence said Michael flipped the car when he took a curve at about 90 mph. He was ejected from the car and pronounced dead a short time later at Liberty Regional Medical Center.

GEORGIA
Town will turn wetland into park

MIDWAY - On 180 acres tucked between U.S. Highway 17 and Interstate 95 in coastal Georgia, the city of Midway is turning a former rice field into a wetlands interpretive center.

It may be years before the park is finished, but city planners envision a freshwater preserve where people can arrive in kayaks and canoes, visit an outdoor lab and tree walk, then paddle on to Cay Creek, which feeds into North Newport River.

Phillip Flournoy, a program manager with the state Department of Natural Resources, said Cay Creek is an excellent demonstration and education project. Plus, it could work well with the saltwater marsh nature trail at the DNR's Coastal Resource Division office in Brunswick, he said.

"Within less than an hour's drive (of the saltwater trail), people could go to Cay Creek to see a fresh water ecology," Mr. Flournoy said. "The two go hand in hand."

The city acquired the wetland property in the mid-1990s when it bought land for a sewage treatment plant. The owners would not sell the 100 acres of high land needed unless the city agreed to buy the wetlands that bordered it.

GEORGIA
Officials seeks answers on fire

COOLIDGE -Authorities are hoping state investigators and a cash reward will help uncover the cause of a fire that destroyed a historic school being renovated in this south Georgia town.

The old Coolidge School, which closed in 1958, is mostly in ashes.

"The gym is the only thing left standing, and it is severely damaged," said Coolidge Police Chief Bill Pierce.

"This is a great loss to the community," Chief Pierce said. "It was a landmark that held many memories for so many people."

Authorities determined that the fire started Friday in the school auditorium and spread through the hallways, but they weren't ready to call it arson. Investigators from the state fire marshal's office are expected to arrive today with a dog trained to detect arson, said Capt. John Richards of the Thomas County Sheriff's Department.

He said the state also has been asked to post a reward of up to $10,000.

The school once served elementary through high school pupils in Coolidge, a town of about 700 located northeast of Thomasville. It was built by the Works Progress Administration, a Depression-era public works program.