Originally created 07/12/01

Across the area



AUGUSTA
Motorcyclist dies after police chase

A motorcyclist fleeing Richmond County sheriff's deputies was killed early Wednesday when he lost control of his bike and hit a guardrail at Bobby Jones Expressway and Interstate 20, a sheriff's office major said.

Charles Gray Smith, 22, of Fuquay-Varina, N.C., died at the Medical College of Georgia trauma unit about an hour after arriving, Maj. Richard Weaver said.

The chase began at about 3 a.m. in the 2900 block of Washington Road when a deputy noticed Mr. Smith driving erratically with no headlights. The deputy turned on his siren and flashing lights, but Mr. Smith sped west on Washington Road and turned onto the expressway. The deputy pursued him and was joined by another officer during the chase, which reached speeds of 75 to 80 mph, Maj. Weaver said.

Mr. Smith was attempting to go west on I-20 toward Atlanta from the expressway when his motorcycle struck the guardrail, ejecting him, Maj. Weaver said.

The Thomson post of the Georgia State Patrol is investigating the accident.

HEPHZIBAH
Teen stabbed in argument

An argument over a cigarette ended with a 17-year-old man stabbing his mother's 17-year-old boyfriend twice in the chest with a hunting knife Wednesday, according to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

David Frisbee and Thomas McKeigan were once best friends, Investigator Gerald Tanksley said. Mr. McKeigan became involved with Mr. Frisbee's 44-year-old mother and moved into their home on the 2500 block of Nunnery Road in Hephzibah.

Mr. Frisbee went rabbit hunting Wednesday morning, the investigator said. At the house around 2:45 p.m., the two men argued after Mr. Frisbee asked Mr. McKeigan for a cigarette. Mr. Frisbee grabbed a hunting knife from a computer stand and attacked him. Mr. McKeigan also suffered a laceration to his right arm as he was trying to defend himself.

Police found the knife in the yard under pine straw and Mr. Frisbee in a nearby field, the incident report said. He is charged with aggravated assault and possession of a knife during the commission of a crime. Mr. McKeigan was being treated Wednesday night at Medical College of Georgia Hospital and was listed in fair condition.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Jackson post goes up for election

JACKSON - The Jackson Town Council will meet tonight to elect its mayor pro tempore. The position - second behind Mayor Patrick Sullivan - is held by Marty Landrum.

Mr. Landrum has served for two years, and two councilmen said they would support his re-election.

"Marty is an excellent young man," Councilman Harvey Tollison said.

Council members will nominate and vote at the 7 p.m. meeting, which will also include the naming of July 16-21 as Caring Rose Week.

GEORGIA
Barnes' foe raises $100,000

ATLANTA - Cobb County Commission Chairman Bill Byrne raised more than $100,000 during the first half of this year in his bid to unseat Gov. Roy Barnes in 2002.

That's a far cry from the incumbent Democrat's fund-raising totals but much more than was raised by state school Superintendent Linda Schrenko, Mr. Barnes' other announced Republican challenger.

Mr. Byrne's campaign reported raising $107,745 between Jan. 1 and June 30. He spent $30,074 during the first six months of the year, leaving his campaign treasury with $77,671 as of the end of last month.

Mr. Barnes, who already had raised more than $2 million before this year, hauled in $4.2 million during the first half of 2001, giving him nearly $6.5 million cash on hand as of June 30.

Mrs. Schrenko raised just $5,625 during the reporting period and had $4,407 in her campaign account at the end of last month.

GEORGIA
Police seek dead man's identity

The Greene County Sheriff's Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are seeking the public's help in identifying a body found July 5 on a logging road near the Oglethorpe County line.

The body is that of a white man, between 5 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 10 inches tall, and weighing between 170 and 189 pounds. Preliminary autopsy results indicate he was in his 30s or 40s but might have been in his 20s, GBI spokesman John Bankhead said.

More lab tests are needed to pin down the age because of extensive decomposition, Mr. Bankhead said.

The man was dressed in blue jeans, white Nike running shoes and a black, sleeveless shirt with a colored drawing on the back of a Rottweiler and the words "There is no competition because I am the best."

His body was dumped on the logging road about two miles north of Woodville in a very remote section of Greene County, but police are not releasing the manner of death until he is identified, Mr. Bankhead said.

The owner of the property found the body while going over his property.

Anyone with information about the man's identity is asked to call the GBI Tip Line at (800) 597-TIPS or (800) 597-8477.

AUGUSTA
Man pleads guilty to robbery

At the last moment Wednesday, the man accused of trying to rob his former employer and firing gunshots at a worker took a plea agreement that would give him 15 years behind bars, rather than 60..

A Richmond County Superior Court jury was selected and ready to hear evidence against Tommy L. Gray, 26, accused of burglary, attempted armed robbery, aggravated assault and weapon charges.

The former Logan's Roadhouse employee returned about two weeks after he was fired and tried to rob the restaurant Sept. 24. He was identified by witnesses, including employee Thomas O'Steen, who fought off Mr. Gray and was shot at. Mr. Gray was arrested just outside the restaurant with a gun.

Before the trial began, defense attorney Randolph Frails and Assistant District Attorney John Flythe told the judge they had negotiated a recommendation for a 15-year sentence if Mr. Gray would plead guilty, but he refused. Judge Albert M. Pickett questioned Mr. Gray of his understanding of the offer and potential risks if the jury convicted him, a maximum possible sentence of 60 years in prison. Mr. Gray then decided to plead guilty.

COLUMBIA COUNTY
Deputy shoots himself in hand

A Columbia County Sheriff's lieutenant accidentally shot himself in the hand Wednesday while cleaning his weapon at his Martinez home.

Paul A. Andrews, a lieutenant at the Columbia County Detention Center, was taken to Eisenhower Medical Center for treatment but was in good condition, sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said.

Capt. Morris said Lt. Andrews' duty gun - a .40-caliber Glock - accidentally discharged into his upper left hand around 2:30 p.m. while he was polishing it inside his Shadowmoor subdivision residence.

Capt. Morris said Lt. Andrews is a five-year veteran of the sheriff's office.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Woman charged in alcohol sale

AIKEN - Aiken police arrested a convenience store clerk who said she sold alcohol to a 16-year-old runaway because the teen was upset.

Tammy Rose Kazinci, 21, of Van Bryan Drive, Aiken, was arrested Tuesday and charged with sale of an alcoholic beverage to someone younger than 21. She was transported to the Aiken County Detention Center, where she was booked and released on a personal recognizance bond.

The employee of Richland Shell told Aiken public safety officers that 16-year-old Eric Shelnut was upset when he came to the Richland Avenue store Monday. She said the teen went to a cooler, got a bottle of cheap wine and began to drink it, a police report stated.

Eric's mother, Jacqueline Marie Lenarz, told police her son ran away from home. He remained missing Wednesday, Ms. Lenarz said.

GEORGIA
Officer charged with hitting suspect

LaFAYETTE - A police officer in northwest Georgia has been charged with striking a suspect who was handcuffed and in the custody of two other officers.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation charged Rossville police Officer Randall Williams on Tuesday with simple battery. He was released on $2,000 bond.

Rossville police Chief Charles "Pappy" Dunn asked the GBI to handle the investigation. Officer Williams has been suspended without pay, Chief Dunn said.

Police reports say Officer Williams punched Edward Lee Warren Jr. in the face Friday. Mr. Warren had been arrested on charges of battery, obstructing an officer and disorderly conduct after a domestic incident.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Jewel courier robbed at airport

COLUMBIA - A New York businessman was robbed of $2 million worth of jewels as he got into his rented car at Columbia Metropolitan Airport, police say.

The two robbers stole the unidentified man's two briefcases filled with assorted stones, platinum and gold bracelets, and necklaces early Tuesday, airport police Chief Randy Blackmon said.

The robbers also took the man's wristwatch, which was worth several thousand dollars, Chief Blackmon said.

"These individuals knew who and what they were looking for," he said. Chief Blackmon also refused to release the company the man works for in New York.