Originally created 04/27/01

Across the area



AUGUSTA
Woman reports kidnap attempt

A south Augusta woman reported that a man tried to kidnap her at gunpoint in the parking lot of a Kroger grocery store early Thursday, said a Richmond County Sheriff's Office major.

The 38-year-old woman told police she had gone shopping at the store at 3128 Deans Bridge Road after getting off work at an Augusta hospital. As she was leaving with her groceries about 1:50 a.m., she noticed a man in a white, late-1990s two-door car, possibly a Pontiac, parked near her car, Maj. Ken Autry said.

When she began putting groceries into her trunk, she said, the man got out of his car and lifted his shirt to reveal a gun in his waistband. He threatened to kill her if she did not get into his car, Maj. Autry said.

When she refused, he pulled the weapon from his waistband, pointed it at her and again threatened to kill her. The woman bolted and ran back into the store, and the gunman drove south on Deans Bridge Road, Maj. Autry said.

The woman said the assailant was white, in his 20s, 5 feet 5 inches tall and about 140 pounds. He had light-blond, neatly cut hair and was clean shaven.

AIKEN COUNTY
Senior citizens get free transit

AIKEN - The Aiken County Public Transit System will provide free round-trip passes to passengers 60 years old and older from Monday to May 5.

The free fares are provided to recognize Older Americans Month, which is observed in May.

Transit Manager Jeanene Knapp said passengers who are 60 or older will be asked to provide identification for the bus drivers of the Best Friend Express, the county's public transit system. The bus drivers will then provide free round-trip passes. The passes will allow passengers to ride from one end of the system to the other regardless of the number of zones.

"Today, senior transportation services are one of the fastest-growing segments of the transit industry," Ms. Knapp said. "Given what we know about the population explosion in the senior citizen community, the demand for transportation will grow at an increasing rate."

SOUTH CAROLINA
Inmates escape through fence

ALLENDALE - Two inmates from the Allendale County Detention Center remained on the loose Thursday after escaping through a fence during recreation time, a jail official said.

Antonio Allen, 26, and Bizario Marshall, 17, were discovered missing about 2 p.m. Thursday, Cpl. Elliott Mixon said. The inmates apparently pulled apart a piece of wire that tied the fence together, allowing them to escape.

Mr. Allen, of Allendale, was being held on two counts of assault and battery with intent to kill and pointing and presenting a firearm. He had been in the jail since his arrest March 31 in connection with a robbery in which shots were fired at two victims, Cpl. Mixon said.

Mr. Allen is described as black, 6 feet 3 inches tall and 190 pounds; he was wearing a blue-striped shirt and dark blue jeans.

Mr. Marshall, of Fairfax, was being held on misdemeanor traffic charges, the corporal said. He now faces felony escape charges. The inmate is described as black, 6 feet 2 inches tall 150 pounds; he was wearing a Tommy Hilfiger-brand blue jeans, a black-and-white shirt and black sneakers.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the inmates is asked to call the Allendale County Detention Center at (803) 584-8143 or the Allendale County Dispatch Center at (803) 584-2177.

AUGUSTA
Voter registration drive set

The Richmond County Board of Elections will hold a special voter registration drive this weekend at Beulah Grove Baptist Church. The drive will be held from 9:30-10:30 a.m. and from 1-3 p.m. Sunday at the church, 1434 Poplar St.

COLUMBIA COUNTY
Man indicted in traffic death

A 19-year-old Appling man was indicted Wednesday by a grand jury in the death of Carl G. Routh.

Christopher Ancel Wood, of the 6600 block of Washington Road, is charged with homicide by vehicle in the first degree and a misdemeanor charge of possession of alcohol by a minor in connection with the October 2000 accident that killed Mr. Routh.

The indictment alleges that Mr. Wood failed to drive his vehicle in a single lane of traffic. His car collided with Mr. Routh's near Evans Towne Centre. Mr. Routh's car exploded, and he was taken to Doctors Hospital with second-and third-degree burns; he later died at the hospital.

GEORGIA
Firefighters charged in arson

GREENSBORO - Two Greene County volunteer firefighters were arrested Thursday in an arson fire and burglary last November at Hutchinson Grove A.M.E. Church.

Josh Short, 21, and Jonathan Sullivan, 22, both of Greensboro, were charged with first-degree arson and burglary, said state Fire Safety Commissioner John Oxendine.

Authorities discovered the burglary when they went to fight the Nov. 18 fire, which damaged the sanctuary.

Greene County Sheriff Chris Houston said both men confessed after an investigation.

GEORGIA
Agencies will support watersheds

ATLANTA - The Georgia Department of Transportation will join several federal and state agencies to initiate a watershed sign program, hoping to raise awareness of the state's rivers, streams, wetlands, lakes and ground water.

The DOT will work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Coastal America on this pilot program to help clean up water resources.

"The Georgia DOT is committed to working with these agencies to educate residents on the importance of watersheds," said DOT Commissioner Tom Coleman. "Federal and state officials should be commended for their efforts to make this happen."

A watershed is formed when rain and snow drains or seeps underground into a marsh, stream, river, lake or ground water.

The DOT will place 102 signs in Georgia's Priority One watersheds, which have low water qualities and are in the poorest condition.