Originally created 07/13/01

Across the area



AUGUSTA
Train strikes, kills man sitting on track

A 38-year-old man died early Thursday morning when he was struck by a train while sitting on tracks near Flagler and Powell roads, near the Columbia County line.

CSX train engineer Ervin B. Henderson told police that he spotted a man sitting on the tracks at the crossing at 4:15 a.m., according to a police report.

The train, which was traveling at about 50 mph, had its lights on, and the engineer blew the whistle while applying the brakes. The man did not move out of the way and was killed, said Maj. Richard Weaver of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Robert Garasic Jr., of the 3400 block of Lewis Road, was pronounced dead at the scene by Richmond County Deputy Coroner Grover Tuten.

AUGUSTA
Forum focuses on AIDS problem

HIV and AIDS are an increasing problem in minority communities in Georgia, a problem the state is seeking to address. That is the subject of a forum Saturday at Paine College.

The Office of Minority Health in the Department of Community Health will hold the community forum from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Haygood-Hosley Lecture Hall at Paine. The forum will feature an exclusive screening of the film The Epidemic, which is about the causes of the growing problem.

Paine and Beulah Grove Community Resource Center are the hosts of the forum. For more information, call the Office of Minority Health at (404) 463-2289.

AUGUSTA
WWII veteran receives diploma

It was 58 years later than expected, but Henry S. Black II got his high school diploma Thursday night.

Mr. Black, a World War II veteran, was drafted while at the Academy of Richmond County in 1943, midway through his senior year, and sent to Manila.

"I'm going to put this in my house somewhere where people will see it when they come in the door," Mr. Black said after David Smith, the principal of the Academy of Richmond County, presented him with his high school diploma and a plaque.

Mr. Smith, Mr. Black and Richmond County School Superintendent Charles Larke donned robes and mortarboards for the ceremony.

Mr. Black's family, including his daughter Brenda Ann Black, applauded loudly. Board of education members and others attending gave Mr. Black a standing ovation.

"Someday, when I catch that midnight train to Memphis, my grandchildren will have this and know I was a high school graduate," Mr. Black said.

Dr. Larke said he hoped the publicity of the graduation ceremony will encourage other World War II veterans to come forward and receive their high school diplomas.

Gov. Roy Barnes signed House Bill 176 earlier this year, making it possible for public high schools to award diplomas to veterans who were drafted out of high school and sent to war.

NORTH AUGUSTA
Businesses report bad checks

Two North Augusta businesses reported being taken by phony travelers checks Thursday.

Both incidents reportedly happened June 23 on East Martintown Road. The Taco Bell in the 400 block filed a report saying someone made a purchase using a counterfeit $100 MasterCard check.

Another $100 check was returned to Hamrick's of North Augusta in the 300 block of East Martintown Road by Bank of America, according to an incident report. The bank stamped the check counterfeit. The store's records showed someone used the check to buy a travel shaving kit for $9.98, then received change, the report said.

GEORGIA
Mother charged in twin's death

FOREST PARK - The mother of a 1-year-old girl who died after being left with her twin brother while the woman worked at a nearby bakery has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and child deprivation.

Deanna Renee Ellis, 24, was being held without bond Wednesday. Police Capt. Jim Crockert said she had left the children alone in a room at the Suburban Lodge while she worked her eight-hour shift. When she returned shortly before 7 a.m. Tuesday, her daughter, Yvonne, was having trouble breathing, Capt. Crockert said.

Yvonne was pronounced dead a short time later at Southern Regional Medical Center. The cause of death has not been determined.

Doctors examining the other twin, Trevionne, for pneumonialike symptoms found a coin lodged in his esophagus, Capt. Crockert said. The boy was placed in the custody of the Department of Family and Children Services.

GEORGIA
Plant fined over toxic exposure

FITZGERALD - A battery-making plant has been fined $116,000 for exposing workers to lead.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration received complaints about working conditions at Delphi, which in March was cited for failing to protect workers from overexposure to lead.

The company has 15 days to appeal the fine.

Delphi was cited Wednesday for repeated violations of failing to provide employees with respiratory protection, failing to properly store lead-contaminated clothing and failing to keep lead dust from accumulating inside the plant.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Deputies kill man in shootout

COLUMBIA - A 22-year-old man died after he was shot by Richland County deputies during a shooting spree that injured at least four other people.

Zacheus Anderson, of Columbia, died of internal hemorrhage resulting from multiple gunshot wounds, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said Thursday.

Police said Mr. Anderson was involved in at least three shooting incidents before he opened fire on three deputies Wednesday night.

Two other people were shot and two others were injured in a car accident during the shootout, city of Columbia spokeswoman Leshia Utsey said.

None of the injuries was life-threatening, she said.

Deputies tracked Mr. Anderson to his home in Columbia. He then led police on a high-speed chase before running his Nissan into a patrol car near Columbia Mall, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said.

The man then got out of his car and opened fire on three deputies, and they returned fire. None of the deputies were injured in the exchange, Sheriff Lott said.

GEORGIA
Police identify discovered body

TIFTON - A woman's decomposed body found on the side of a road in Tifton by three teen-agers on Monday has been identified as a 27-year-old vagrant who spent her time wandering the streets.

Sheriff's Deputy Bobby Brannen said Francis Elizabeth Lansford had no permanent address. He said she had three children, all younger than 10, in foster care.

The woman was fully clothed. Her body was sent to a crime lab in Atlanta for an autopsy.

Deputy Brannen said she was identified through fingerprints. Ms. Lansford had been arrested previously on what Deputy Brannen described as minor charges.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Caregiver faces charge in death

ROCK HILL - An adult group-home worker has been charged with neglect of a vulnerable adult, who suffocated when police say a plastic cap covered her face.

Thomasena Mills, 28, was arrested Wednesday.

Shameka White, an 18-year-old quadriplegic who functioned at the level an 18-month-old, died in her bed in May after the cap used in curling her hair ended up covering her face, police say.

Prosecutor Willie Thompson said the felony charge carries a sentence of up to five years.

Ms. Mills was a caregiver at the Neville Street Community Training Home where Ms. White lived for about four years.

Rock Hill Police Detective Ken Fields said Ms. Mills was responsible for Ms. White the day she died.

Ms. Mills could not be reached Wednesday. Her mother, Lucille Reid, said her daughter was one of two women working that day. Ms. Reid said her daughter told her another worker left early, leaving Ms. Mills alone to care for Ms. White and two other residents.

York County Coroner Doug McKown said he ruled Ms. White's death an accident because he saw no evidence to suggest anyone intentionally harmed her.

Ms. Mills and another worker were fired after Ms. White's death.