Originally created 06/07/01

Across the area

Truck overturns, cutting power lines

WAYNESBORO - A tractor-trailer hauling daiquiri mix wrecked on U.S. Highway 25 in Waynesboro early Wednesday in a crash that disabled power lines and traffic lights and plunged hundreds of homes and several commercial buildings into darkness, authorities said.

The driver, Julian Brown, of Hephzibah, was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital, where he was treated for minor injuries and released, said Sgt. 1st Class M.S. Bennett, of the Waynesboro Police Department.

Mr. Brown was attempting a sharp turn in front of the Days Inn just after midnight Wednesday when he hit a culvert and flipped the 18-wheeler, Sgt. 1st Class Bennett said. The tractor-trailer pulled down traffic lights, cut power lines and landed on top of a parked vehicle in the hotel parking lot. The 18-wheeler and car were destroyed.

About 500 homes, the jail, several hotels and the Waynesboro Police Department lost power for several hours. Power was restored by sunrise, the police sergeant said.

Child struck, injured by SUV

A Chevrolet Suburban struck a 3-year-old who was crossing Olive Road on Wednesday, sending the child to Medical College of Georgia Children's Medical Center with head injuries, according to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

No charges will be filed against the driver because she could not have avoided striking the girl, Maj. Richard Weaver said.

A witness told police about five children were trying to cross in the 1600 block of Olive Road about 12:30 p.m. They were standing in the middle turning lane when Sicoya Starks darted in front of the northbound sport utility vehicle driven by Margaret Vantassel, 25, of Augusta, Maj. Weaver said.

Sicoya was listed in fair condition at the hospital Wednesday evening.

Son charged with torching shed

An Augusta man upset at his mother for kicking him out of the house has been charged with setting fire to the family shed early Wednesday, authorities said.

Frederick Ramone Wiley, 30, was charged with felony arson after the 4:50 a.m. fire behind the home at 1920 Chester Ave., said Investigator Ralph Squillace, of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office. No one was hurt in the fire.

When deputies arrived at the fire, the suspect was standing next to the burning shed and reportedly told deputies, "There are propane tanks in there, and y'all are going to blow up," investigators said.

Mary Diggs, the suspect's mother, had been arguing with him for some time and finally told him he couldn't stay there, the investigator said. Authorities said they believe that Mr. Wiley used gasoline to start the fire and told his mother he was going to burn the neighborhood down, Investigator Squillace said.

Man charged in online sex sting

ALPHARETTA - FBI agents have arrested an Alpharetta man accused of using the Internet to entice a 14-year-old boy to meet for sex.

But authorities say there never was a teen-ager. Instead, agents said, the suspect, Emile George Fryou, 50, was chatting online with an investigator posing as a boy.

Agents said the suspect scheduled a rendezvous with the "boy" March 13 at North Point Mall in Alpharetta. Agents did not arrest Mr. Fryou there but got a search warrant for his home and allegedly found large amounts of child pornography.

Mr. Fryou was arrested Tuesday after being indicted by a federal grand jury. He is charged with use of a computer to entice a minor for sexual purposes and possession of child pornography.

Man indicted in shooting spree

ATLANTA - A DeKalb County man was indicted in a spring shooting spree that left two people dead and two wounded in East Point.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said Tuesday that he plans to seek the death penalty against William Charles Lewis, 42.

Mr. Lewis was arrested April 25, the day after his ex-wife, Rosa M. Lewis, was shot and wounded. Cynthia Floyd Rolle, a friend and co-worker of Ms. Lewis, was the first victim in the string of shootings. Ms. Rolle was found shot to death inside her car Feb. 28.

Antonio Stephney, 41, was killed and Roger Orr was shot in the arm April 8. Four days later, two women were sitting in a house watching television when someone shot the set.

Mr. Howard said Ms. Lewis and Ms. Rolle were the intended targets. He said the other three shootings were diversionary "to throw police off the trail."

"The shooting of Cynthia Floyd Rolle was done to punish her for supporting Rosa Lewis in her divorce," Mr. Howard said.

Ms. Lewis remains hospitalized in a coma, Mr. Howard said.

Civilian with badge charged

ISLE OF PALMS - Police have charged a man who has a history of impersonating law enforcement officers with using a stolen badge to pretend he was a North Charleston officer.

Stephen Anthony Mercer flashed his badge to Isle of Palms officers May 27 and told them he was a North Charleston police officer, according to sworn statements in the arrest warrant.

Mr. Mercer, of Moncks Corner, is accused of stealing the badge and police shirts from a North Charleston cruiser about two years ago, Detective Lester Griffin said.

North Charleston police also received a report that Mr. Mercer had been flashing the badge in their city and claiming to be an undercover officer. A man told police Mr. Mercer was carrying some sort of gun and stopped and frisked people, according to a police report.

Mr. Mercer is charged with two counts of impersonating a police officer. Bail was set at $20,000. He is a suspect in similar incidents in Mount Pleasant and North Charleston, Detective Griffin said.

Four plead guilty in fraud

GREENVILLE - Four people have pleaded guilty to charges from a pyramid scheme based in Seneca that bilked more than 1,300 people out of $61 million, prosecutors say.

Virgil Womack pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to launder money, court records show.

His wife, Charlotte, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

Kenneth Turner pleaded guilty to the same charges. Lewey Lawrence Cato III pleaded guilty to failing to report a crime that he had known about.

The Womacks ran a plan where they promised high returns on investments, but instead pocketed the money, prosecutors said.


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