Originally created 02/21/01

Across the area



AUGUSTA
Fleeing motorist disrupts golf course

Two golfers at Forest Hills Golf Club had to dive out of the way of a car driven onto the course by a man fleeing the owner of a Wrightsboro Road convenience store, a Richmond County Sheriff's Office major said.

Charles Maxwell Tyler, 19, of Castletown Drive in Hephzibah, was arrested and charged with theft by taking and reckless conduct after police traced the car on the course through its tag number, said Maj. Ken Autry.

Zhae Pak, owner of Smart Grocery, 3221 Wrightsboro Road, told police a man pumped $23 worth of gasoline into a Cadillac Deville and left without paying Monday morning. Mr. Pak jumped into his vehicle and followed the man down Wrightsboro Road to Magnolia Drive and onto the golf course. The driver sped across the course, almost hitting golfers Richard Thurwell and Frank Lee, who had to dive out of the way. The driver slammed into a golf cart at the No. 2 tee before leaving the course.

The car had a paper tag over the regular tag, but it disappeared at some point during the chase and someone was able to record a tag number. Police traced the tag to the Cadillac's owner, Mr. Tyler's stepfather. Mr. Tyler turned himself in at the Richmond County jail at about 6:30 p.m., Maj. Autry said.

Damage to the golf cart was estimated at $300 and damage to the greens at $100, the report stated.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Burglar targets tobacco outlet

BEECH ISLAND - Sheriff's officials are looking for a burglar who stole 360 cartons of cigarettes from the Discount Tobacco Outlet over the weekend.

Store owner Lois Miller told deputies someone knocked a large panel out of the back wall to enter the store on Sand Bar Ferry Road. The burglar stole the cigarettes along with $200 cash and several boxes of cigars, Ms. Miller said Tuesday.

The burglary occurred sometime between Saturday night and early Monday morning, when the theft was discovered. The suspect disabled the telephone lines and alarm system.

AIKEN
More talks set on jail transfer

Public comment on the proposed jail takeover by Aiken County Sheriff Howard Sellers must wait until at least April because county council members sent the issue back to a subcommittee Tuesday.

Questions remain about jail personnel, leading the council to refer the issue to the Judicial and Public Safety committee, which will meet March 13. The full council could give an ordinance a first reading March 20. Public comment could follow on April 3.

In a packet of information given to council members, Sheriff Sellers said he would work to maximize personnel efficiency if the jail and sheriff's office are combined.

"I have asked the Center for Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology to study the staffing of both the sheriff's office and the (jail) to determine the best and most economical way to combine functions of redundant positions," he wrote.

The new $14.8 million jail on Wire Road is set to open in late August or early September. Sheriff Sellers wants to take over control of the old jail July 1, the first day of the new county budget.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Burglar targets tobacco outlet

BEECH ISLAND - Sheriff's officials are looking for a burglar who stole 360 cartons of cigarettes from the Discount Tobacco Outlet over the weekend.

Store owner Lois Miller told deputies someone knocked a large panel out of the back wall to enter the store on Sand Bar Ferry Road. The burglar stole the cigarettes along with $200 cash and several boxes of cigars, Ms. Miller said Tuesday.

The burglary occurred sometime between Saturday night and early Monday morning, when the theft was discovered. The suspect disabled the telephone lines and alarm system.

AIKEN
More talks set on jail transfer

Public comment on the proposed jail takeover by Aiken County Sheriff Howard Sellers must wait until at least April because county council members sent the issue back to a subcommittee Tuesday.

Questions remain about jail personnel, leading the council to refer the issue to the Judicial and Public Safety committee, which will meet March 13. The full council could give an ordinance a first reading March 20. Public comment could follow on April 3.

In a packet of information given to council members, Sheriff Sellers said he would work to maximize personnel efficiency if the jail and sheriff's office are combined.

"I have asked the Center for Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology to study the staffing of both the sheriff's office and the (jail) to determine the best and most economical way to combine functions of redundant positions," he wrote.

The new $14.8 million jail on Wire Road is set to open in late August or early September. Sheriff Sellers wants to take over control of the old jail July 1, the first day of the new county budget.

AUGUSTA
Police seek driver in drug case

The Richmond County Sheriff's Office is looking for a 31-year-old Thomson man who police say fled from a traffic stop early Tuesday, then punched a deputy in the face during a foot chase, according to Investigator Allan Rollins. Twenty grams of methamphetamines, a small amount of marijuana, various illegal pills, a .357 magnum revolver and a .12-gauge shotgun were later found inside his car.

A sheriff's deputy stopped a man identified as Walter Vance Davis at about 3:45 a.m. Tuesday, after he drove a 1991 Buick Century station wagon away from a vacant house, Investigator Rollins said. After a brief pursuit, the car was abandoned at Best Inn and Suites off Belair Road in Columbia County. The driver was chased into a wooded area and sprayed with pepper spray, but he escaped after hitting Deputy Charles Benson, the investigator said.

COLUMBIA COUNTY
Trucks' wreck blocks interstate

An early-morning wreck involving two tractor-trailers blocked the eastbound lane of Interstate 20 near the Columbia-McDuffie County line for several hours and sent one of the drivers to the hospital.

The wreck occurred when Joseph Leeman, 38, of Walterboro, S.C., apparently fell asleep at the wheel. His tractor-trailer left the road for several hundred feet and then moved back onto I-20, where it struck the right rear of a tractor-trailer driven by Wade O'Neil, 33, of Macon, said Trooper Trevor Christensen of the Thomson post of the Georgia State Patrol.

Mr. Leeman's rig came to rest with the tractor blocking the right eastbound lane of I-20. Mr. O'Neil's tractor-trailer came to rest on its side with the tractor in the median and the trailer blocking the left eastbound lane, Trooper Christensen said.

Mr. O'Neil was treated and released from McDuffie Regional Medical Center, a hospital spokesman said.

AUGUSTA
Separate fires ignite house

Two fires several hours apart caused extensive damage to a Nassau Drive house late Monday and early Tuesday morning, said a Richmond County Fire Department spokesman.

Firefighters were called to the residence of Debbie Kaczuk in the 3500 block of Nassau Drive at 11:21 p.m. Monday where burning candles had melted down and ignited the carpet in the family room, spreading to the kitchen. They put out the fire, but at 4:58 a.m. firefighters were called back because the fire had entered the attic and roof area, Capt. Cox said. Fire investigator G.B. Hannon was at the house Tuesday trying to determine the cause of the second fire.

AUGUSTA
Minister seeks commission seat

The Rev. Bobby G. Hankerson has announced his candidacy for Augusta's District 5 Commission seat currently held by Commissioner Henry Brigham. The Rev. Hankerson is the only commission candidate who has filed an intent card, which allows a candidate to accept campaign contributions but does not indicate an eligibility to run.

Qualifying for the Nov. 6 election isn't until Sept. 10. Five commission seats are up for reelection this year in the county's odd-numbered districts 1-9.

PENNSYLVANIA
Suspect enters mental hospital

BELLEFONTE - A Tennessee man charged with killing a Pennsylvania gas station attendant with a machete, and who also faces charges in connection with the slaying of a McDuffie County woman, has been sent to a mental hospital, authorities said.

Eric Jerome Fant, 37, of Memphis, Tenn., was sent to Warren State Hospital just hours after he was arraigned Friday for robbery and first-degree murder in the slaying of 50-year-old Avinash Kaushal in Snow Shoe on Feb. 11. A preliminary hearing is scheduled Thursday. He also faces murder charges in Georgia in the death of Dorothy C. Street of Dearing, who was slashed to death on her back doorstep as she was unloading groceries the night of Feb. 8, authorities said.

Police also suspect Mr. Fant is responsible for the Feb. 7 robbery of Lashell Pace of Hephzibah outside the Ramada Inn & Suites.

AUGUSTA
Speakers address Mideast crisis

Guests of Covenant Presbyterian Church will speak today and Thursday on fostering peace in the Middle East.

Palestinian-born Marina Riadi, a former professor at Georgia State University who holds degrees from the University of London and the Sorbonne, will teach two classes at Augusta State University. Both are open to the public.

The first will be from noon to 12:50 p.m. today and the second will be from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Thursday. Both will be in Room B-2, Skinner Hall, on the Walton Way campus.

Ms. Riadi and Jacob Kabb of Atlanta, founder of the Center for Experiential Judaism, will hold an informal discussion open to the public at the Macaroni Grill, 2750 Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway, from 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. today. Ms. Riadi and Mr. Kabb will speak at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 3131 Walton Way, at 6:30 tonight.

For more information, call 733-0513.