Originally created 05/23/01

Across the area



RICHMOND COUNTY
Driver, soldier die after car accident

The driver in a one-car crash that also killed a Fort Gordon Army private died from a head injury Tuesday, Richmond County Deputy Coroner Grover Tuten said.

A doctor at Medical College of Georgia Hospital pronounced 21-year-old Alann Oneil Kelly of Hephzibah dead just before 7 p.m.

Pvt. Sanford Andrew Hawkins Jr., also 21, died Monday afternoon at the hospital. He suffered severe brain damage in the accident early Sunday morning on Barton Chapel Road, authorities said.

The two men were riding in a 1996 Kia Sephia when Mr. Kelly lost control of the vehicle, ran off Barton Chapel and slammed into a tree on the property of Hammett Electric, said Deputy Terry Skinner, of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Witnesses said the driver was traveling fast just before the accident. A test to determine whether the driver had been drinking is pending.

Pvt. Hawkins was a computer specialist in the information management section of Fort Gordon.

NORTH AUGUSTA
Police say woman admits holdups

Richmond County sheriff's investigators say a woman in custody across the Savannah River confessed to two Augusta holdups, both of which involved a robber with a cloth over her hand.

North Augusta Department of Public Safety is holding Heather Staadt, 32, of Girard, Ga., on an armed robbery charge from an incident in February and traffic charges.

On Feb. 9, a woman robbed a clerk at the Food Lion on Georgia Avenue, police said. She fled in a car that had been parked outside with a man waiting in the driver's seat. Police said the grocery store was robbed three times by a woman with the same description.

One of the two Augusta robberies that Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Paul Godden said Ms. Staadt will be charged with took place on her birthday. On April 21, a woman went to a register at the Food Lion in the 2500 block of Washington Road and demanded money. When the clerk opened the register, she grabbed a handful of cash and ran out of the store, police said.

On Oct. 22, a woman with long blond hair and wearing a baseball cap pointed her hand, wrapped in a white cloth, at a clerk working at the Crown gas station in the 2800 block of Washington Road. An investigator said she left in a small, white car driven by a man.

The getaway car driver has not been arrested, Investigator Godden said.

RICHMOND COUNTY
Resident stabs home invader

The Richmond County Sheriff's Office began investigating a home invasion late Tuesday in which a victim stabbed one of his assailants.

The office received a call at 11:15 p.m. about the incident, which occurred at an apartment in the 2500 block of Center West Parkway.

A man heard a knock at the door, and when he opened it two men entered and began beating him and his girlfriend, said Investigator Scott Peebles. At some point, the man stabbed one of the attackers, possibly in the shoulder, the investigator said. The intruders then fled.

Authorities were searching for the men early today.

RICHMOND COUNTY
Shooting accident kills Augusta man

An Augusta man died after he accidentally shot himself with a .44-caliber revolver, authorities said Tuesday.

Charles Benjamin Faircloth, 44, of the 1900 block of Preston Drive, was picking up a load of clothes from his bed about 8:30 p.m. Monday and didn't see the gun underneath, said Lt. Jack Francisco, of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Something triggered the revolver to fire, and a bullet struck him in the abdomen, Lt. Francisco said. Mr. Faircloth stumbled out of his bedroom and got his father's attention.

Mr. Faircloth was rushed to Medical College of Georgia Hospital, where he died two hours later.

The gun, which was taken by sheriff's officials, was owned by Mr. Faircloth.

NORTH AUGUSTA
Man charged in woman's beating

A North Augusta man was charged early Tuesday with beating his girlfriend so severely that she lost a tooth and was left with bruises that required hospitalization, a public safety report states.

Gerald Lee Boings, 23, of the 600 block of East Avenue, was charged with criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature. Police found the suspect running on Brookside Avenue with blood on his hands, face, arms and pants, a report states.

Tammy St. Claire, 33, told authorities that she and her boyfriend were arguing when he threw her onto the ground, slammed her head against the floor several times and struck her in the mouth with his right fist, knocking out the tooth. The woman also suffered bruises on her hands, arms, head, neck and shoulders.

The woman escaped and ran to a nearby gas station to call police. She was taken to University Hospital and treated.

Mr. Boings was taken to the Aiken County Detention Center, where he remained without bond Tuesday night.

NORTH AUGUSTA
Manager charged in sex crime

Authorities said a McDonald's regional supervisor found inside a North Augusta restaurant without his pants tried to sexually assault another employee.

The employee handed her boss's pants to public safety officers responding to her call just after midnight Sunday at the restaurant on Georgia Avenue. The 32-year-old woman said she grabbed the clothing after escaping from the attack and running outside.

Earnest Sherman, 39, of Thornbury Drive, Augusta, was charged with assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct, a police report stated. He was freed on bond Tuesday, Aiken County Detention Center officials said.

The woman told police that Mr. Sherman had called her into the men's restroom, where she found him half-dressed and masturbating. She said he grabbed her and tried to remove her pants but she broke free, police said.

Mr. Sherman told officers that he had removed his pants and underwear to use the bathroom and returned from a stall to find the clothing missing.

AUGUSTA
Broken pipe closes intersection

Transportation officials estimated that the intersection of Berckmans Road and Cherry Lane will reopen about noon today.

The intersection was closed to traffic Tuesday afternoon when a water main broke about 1 p.m. as workers were cleaning the line. Motorists can use Heath Drive as a detour route until the intersection reopens.

GEORGIA
Student accused of carrying knife

CONYERS - A student at Heritage High School, the scene of a shooting that wounded six students in 1999, faces criminal charges of having a knife at school.

Aaron Allen Webb appeared in court Monday to face charges of possessing a knife on school property, obstructing a law enforcement officer and possessing marijuana in or near a school. Superior Court Judge David Irwin agreed to release him on $8,000 bond.

Mr. Webb, 17, was arrested last Wednesday after another student told school officials he had a knife in his pocket. Authorities confiscated the 3-inch knife and found a suspected marijuana cigarette in his book bag. School officials said he also fought with police before his arrest.

Judge Irwin told Mr. Webb the charges are very serious, especially because of the May 20, 1999, shootings at the school. T.J. Solomon, then 15, pleaded guilty to the shootings and is serving a 40-year sentence.

"In light of what has happened in this community, there is no doubt this kind of conduct is viewed differently here," Judge Irwin told Mr. Webb on Monday. "You clearly did not exercise good judgment."

GEORGIA
Shootout leaves 1 dead, 3 hurt

MOUNT AIRY - One person was killed and three others injured in a shootout at a mobile home in northeast Georgia.

Habersham County Sheriff Rick Moore said the shootout happened about 7:15 p.m. Monday near Mount Airy, about 25 miles northeast of Gainesville.

Two of the wounded, including the shooting suspect, were airlifted to Atlanta and one was flown to Greenville, S.C., Sheriff Moore said. The sheriff says the gunman drove from the mobile home to a nearby liquor store where he was taken into custody.

Another victim also left the scene and went to a residence about two miles away to get help.

Investigators are unsure what prompted the shooting. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has been called to look into it.