Originally created 01/03/01

Across the area

Funeral director killed in crash

BEECH ISLAND - An Aiken County funeral home director was killed Tuesday in a single-car accident, Deputy Coroner Tim Carlton said.

Horace Cheatham, 56, of Wire Road, Aiken, died instantly at 11:30 a.m. after he drove off Pine Log Road near Beech Island Avenue, ran through two or three yards, sideswiped a telephone poll and hit a large tree, Mr. Carlton said.

Officials said he may have run off the right side of the road and overcorrected. The accident is under investigation.

Mr. Carlton said it is unknown whether a medical issue played a role in the accident. Mr. Cheatham had bypass surgery in May, Mr. Carlton said.

Mr. Cheatham owned Cheatham Funeral Home Inc. in Langley and New Ellenton.

Tornado pickup day scheduled

Richmond County will have another pickup day for debris left by the Dec. 17 tornado that swept through south Augusta.

Residents are asked to move the trash to the right of way by Thursday. The materials should be separated in three piles - wood, metal and regular garbage.

If you have questions about the pickup, please call the Augusta-Richmond County Emergency Management Agency at 821-1155.

Post office robbery investigated

BATH - The Aiken County Sheriff's Office is looking for someone who stole many packages from the post office in Bath, Lt. Michael Frank said Tuesday.

Someone forced his or her way into a secure area of the building at 3880 Augusta Road and removed the parcels sometime between Saturday and Tuesday, officials said.

Sheriff's investigators found the opened packages Tuesday morning on the railroad tracks behind the facility, Lt. Frank said.

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to contact the sheriff's office at (803) 642-1761 or (800) 922-3211 or Aiken County Crime Stoppers at (866) 88-CRIME (27463). Callers can remain anonymous and are eligible for cash rewards of up to $1,000.

Corps still taking Christmas trees

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers still is accepting Christmas trees to be used as fish and wildlife habitats at J. Strom Thurmond Lake.

Trees may be dropped off at the Cherokee Ramp, Keg Creek Ramp, Baker Creek State Park, Soap Creek Marina, Mistletoe State Park, Amity Recreation Area and Plum Branch Yacht Club. For more information on the Corps sites, call (800) 533-3478.

Other locations include Troupe Street Park, the Richmond and Columbia County landfills, The Home Depot on Bobby Jones Expressway and Pearl Avenue across from Chafee Park. For information, call the Augusta-Richmond County Clean Community Commission at (706) 821-1790.

Trees may be dropped off at The Home Depot through Saturday, when they will be chipped from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. as part of the Bring-One-for-the-Chipper program. Free tree seedlings and wood chips will be given out in exchange for the trees.

All ornaments, tree stands and light strings should be removed from the trees.

Officials investigate deaths

DAWSON - The Georgia State Patrol is investigating the deaths of two Dawson men who were found in a partially submerged pickup truck on New Year's Day.

Officials said the bodies of Mark Anthony Redding, 33, and Eddie Small, 24, were found Monday morning in a pickup that ran off Georgia Highway 55 in Dawson into a creek. Mr. Redding was identified as the driver.

Troopers sent the victims' bodies to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab in Atlanta for autopsies to determine the cause of death.

Police seek shooting information

GREENVILLE - Authorities say they were looking for three people in connection with the New Year's Eve shooting death of a Florida man.

Fredlin Pierre, 19, was found dead in his car Sunday night, the Greenville County Coroner's Office said.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Pierre and a friend met some people at a home, then they were robbed of their money and jewelry after a fight broke out, sheriff's Sgt. Mike Brown said.

Mr. Pierre was shot but survived. Then he and his companion, an unidentified man also from Florida, were bound and driven around the northern part of Greenville County to where Mr. Pierre was killed, Sgt. Brown said.

The attackers assaulted Mr. Pierre's companion and shot at him as well, but he escaped and fled to a nearby home where he called police, Sgt. Brown said.

Teen faces assault charges

TIMMONSVILLE - State police have charged a Massachusetts teen-ager with trying to kill a South Carolina Highway Patrol trooper with a shot from a flare gun.

Eric Christopher Roszkowski, 17, of Andover, Mass., took off from a routine traffic stop on Interstate 95 on Sunday night and led Trooper W. M. Clemmons on a 15-mile chase, Lance Cpl. J.A. Love said.

"They were driving about 100 miles per hour on I-95 when he shot it," Lance Cpl. Love said. The flare hit the trooper's car, ignited and bounced off, Lance Cpl. Love said.

Mr. Clemmons "said it looked like someone shot the sun at him."

The chase ended when Mr. Roszkowski pulled off the interstate onto U.S. Highway 301 and crashed his car.

He was released from the hospital Tuesday and now faces charges of assault and battery with intent to kill a police officer, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle and having an invalid driver's license, the patrol said.

Men discover beating victim

FLORENCE - Two men walking through the lot of a vacant house stumbled upon the body of a woman reported missing two days earlier.

Lena Shepherd, 50, was found dead Monday near her apartment.

Florence County Coroner M.G. "Bubba" Matthews said Ms. Shepherd was beaten, but he was waiting Tuesday for autopsy results to pinpoint the exact cause of death.

The case was being treated as a homicide, police Capt. Carlos Raines said.

Ms. Shepherd was discovered missing from her apartment Friday night and her daughter reported her missing to police Saturday, Capt. Raines said.

15 die in holiday accidents

ATLANTA - Fifteen people were killed on Georgia's highways during the 78-hour New Year's holiday weekend, two fewer than been predicted by the state patrol.

There were 1,942 accidents with 479 injuries during the period that began Friday at 6 p.m. and extended through midnight New Year's Day, the Georgia Department of Public Safety reported Tuesday.

The state patrol had predicted 1,989 accidents, 697 injuries and 17 deaths.

During the Christmas holiday weekend, the state had 2,121 crashes, 479 injuries and 15 deaths. The patrol had predicted 1,947 crashes, 703 injuries and 15 deaths.

Florida recount begins again

MIAMI - Two news media organizations and the Republican Party started sifting through more than 20,000 disputed ballots in Palm Beach County on Tuesday in what could be a marathon task. Working from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with no breaks, representatives from The Palm Beach Post, The Miami Herald and the Republican Party plowed through 600 of the contested votes. A representative from each organization sat at a table as a Palm Beach elections worker held up ballot after ballot for inspection.

Commissioners elect chairman

Barry Fleming will lead the Columbia County Commission in 2001.

Commissioners unanimously elected Mr. Fleming - the commission's representative from the area south of Interstate 20 - as chairman Tuesday night during their first meeting of the year.

"I'll do my best to make (the commissioners and other Columbia County residents) proud," he said.

Mr. Fleming joined the commission a little more than a year ago, after then-District 3 Commissioner Lee Brooks resigned to move to Tennessee.

Also Tuesday night, commissioners elected Jim Whitehead to serve as vice chairman, and District 2 Commissioner Tom Mercer was sworn in for his first term on the board.

Board veteran to lead panel

Four-year school board veteran Roxanne Whitaker was elected to head the Columbia County Board of Education next year, replacing outgoing Chairman Ray Hicks.

Ms. Whitaker, a Harlem native and a part-time operating room nurse, has been vice chairman of the board for the past two years. She begins her second term serving District 3.

Regina Buccafusco, an online course designer for the Medical College of Georgia, was named vice chairman. The Area 1 representative is starting her third year on the board.

The election of new officers was held at a called meeting Tuesday night, during which new board members Lee Muns and Wayne Bridges were sworn in for their first term in office.

Also at the meeting, the board changed the times of their meetings, which are held on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month, from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.


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