Originally created 03/29/01

Across the area

Pedestrian killed crossing highway

An Augusta man was killed late Wednesday when he was struck by a car on Peach Orchard Road.

The man, who police would not identify early today, apparently stepped into the path of a northbound car about 11:05 p.m. and was killed instantly, said Richmond County Sheriff's Sgt. Billy Hambrick. The force of the impact decapitated the victim, he said.

The accident took place near Smith Drive. Witnesses told police the man had just left the nearby Sonic Drive-in, where he had made a purchase.

Sgt. Hambrick said it doesn't appear the driver will be charged because the accident was unavoidable. The driver was not identified.

A section of Peach Orchard was closed early today because of the accident.

Mother arrested in child's beating

Police arrested an Augusta woman Wednesday and charged her with felony cruelty to a child in the beating of her 6-year-old son.

Officers arrested Clarissa Antyanette Brown, 25, of the 1900 block of Dabney Drive, at Doctors Hospital, where the child was taken with a ruptured blood vessel in his eye, said Maj. Ken Autry of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

When Ms. Brown picked the child up from day care Tuesday, attendants told her he had a pocketknife. After arriving home, Ms. Brown whipped him with a belt, Maj. Autry said. Afterward, she noticed that his eye was bleeding and called 911.

A doctor noted that the child's eye was swollen shut and that a welt ran from above his eye to his mouth, which was also swollen. He also had welts on both sides of his chest, back, left arm and legs, Maj. Autry said.

Ms. Brown told officials she had struck the child about 15 times with the belt, he said.

House fire kills mother of three

A 39-year-old Burke County woman died in a house fire Wednesday afternoon.

Francis Mack, the mother of three daughters, was found dead of smoke inhalation in a bathroom, Burke County Emergency Management Agency Battalion Chief Willie Jordon said.

The fire department was summoned to the one-story brick house in the 600 block of U.S. Highway 25 South - just south of Waynesboro city limits - about 2:30 p.m., the battalion chief said. They found smoke pouring from most of the windows and flames in the kitchen and utility area. They spent about 15 minutes bringing the fire under control.

The blaze appears accidental, likely started by a stove being left on, Battalion Chief Jordon said. Mrs. Mack, who worked at night, might have been napping when the fire started and trapped in a bathroom, he said. She died at the scene.

Battalion Chief Jordon said her children were at school and her husband was at work.

Slaying suspect jailed for drugs

An Augusta homicide suspect convicted last month of a drug charge received a 15-year prison sentence Wednesday.

A Richmond County Superior Court jury had convicted Haskell Johnson, 20, of possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute Feb. 28, but the jury acquitted Mr. Johnson of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Although Mr. Johnson was acquitted of the weapon charge, Assistant District Attorney Mike Carlson asked Chief Judge William M. Fleming Jr. to consider that one of those guns found March 5, 2000, when Mr. Johnson was arrested was the weapon used to kill Ritchard Lewis, 36, the night before.

Defense attorney George Bush, however, asked the judge to sentence Mr. Johnson just on the drug charge.

Mr. Johnson, who has pleaded innocent, still faces trial on charges of murder in Mr. Lewis' death. He faces trial on a charge of aggravated assault in a Feb 15, 2000, shooting.

Juveniles charged in drug arrests

Tips from other pupils led police to arrest four Columbia County pupils on drug charges at two schools Wednesday.

The arrests began about noon when a 15-year-old Harlem High School student was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana after administrators found what they said they thought was a partially smoked marijuana cigarette in the teen's wallet. A student reported seeing the teen smoking in a classroom, Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said.

The unidentified juvenile was taken to the Regional Youth Detention Center.

Also acting on a tip from a student, the sheriff's office arrested Harlem High School student David Perry Tucker, 17, of the 1400 block of Newmantown Road, Grovetown, and charged him with possession of marijuana. His bond was set at $1,050.

About 1 p.m., officers were called to the Riverside Middle School campus, where they arrested a 12-year-old and charged him with distribution of marijuana on school property - a felony. They also arrested a 14-year-old and charged him with possession of marijuana. Both juveniles were taken to the RYDC, where they are awaiting hearings.

Fire damages audio business

Fire caused extensive damage to an audio store in a Washington Road shopping center Wednesday morning.

When firefighters arrived at Innovative Audio, 3103 Washington Road, at 8:23 a.m., heavy smoke was coming from the rear of the store, said Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike Weathers. Firefighters extinguished the fire and kept it from spreading to the other three businesses in the strip.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but it appeared to have started as an electrical fire, he said.

Copycat threat attracts police

The same day an unruly-juvenile report was filed against a 10-year-old Monte Sano Elementary School pupil who threatened to shoot a classmate with a BB gun, an 8-year-old boy at the school told another pupil in the lunch line that he was going to bring a gun to school and shoot everybody, according to Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

After investigators spoke to his mother and determined he did not have access to a gun, an unruly-juvenile report was filed against the 8-year-old as well. Lt. Jack Francisco said the boy likely was imitating what he had heard through rumors about the older child. Initially, parents and pupils believed the 10-year-old had said he would bring a gun to school and shoot people.

The pupil who heard the 8-year-old make the statement told a teacher at the end of the school day, and the sheriff's office was alerted by an assistant principal at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, Lt. Francisco said. The boy was released to his parents' custody.

Student faces weapon charge

A senior at Lucy C. Laney High School was charged with bringing a knife to school Wednesday morning.

According to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, a teacher discovered the metal straight knife with a 4-inch blade after it fell out of the student's book bag as the bag was being removed from his locker. The student told police he used the knife at his job at a fast-food restaurant and forgot he had left it in his bag.

Anthony Freeman, 18, of the 1400 block of Merry Street, was arrested at 9:55 a.m. He was being held in the Richmond County jail Wednesday night on $5,050 bond.


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