Originally created 09/05/01

Across the area

Authorities await body identification

Authorities are hopeful autopsy results due back today will identify the body of a woman recovered from the Savannah River on Tuesday.

Search teams out looking for a woman reported missing after a boat outing Saturday found the body floating in the river near Stony Bluff Landing in Screven County shortly after 11 a.m., Burke County Coroner Craig Kennedy said.

The description of the missing woman's clothing appeared to match the clothes worn by the woman pulled from the river, Mr. Kennedy said.

The Department of Natural Resources and Georgia Bureau of Investigation were assisting the Burke County Sheriff's Department with investigating the death to determine whether it was an accidental boat drowning or a possible homicide.

Agents were interviewing people who were with the woman when she was last seen, said GBI Special Agent Martin Moses.

Mr. Kennedy said the woman's body was sent to the GBI crime lab in Atlanta to identify her and determine a cause of death.

Woman dies in truck collision

NORTH AUGUSTA - A 74-year-old woman died Tuesday afternoon when the car she was riding in collided with a tractor-trailer.

The vehicle, a 1993 Pontiac Trans Am, was pulling out of the Triangle Plaza shopping center near the intersection of Edgewood Drive when it was struck by a 1994 Mack Truck traveling south on U.S. Highway 25, North Augusta authorities said.

The truck hit the car on the front passenger side, where Mattie Cooks, 74, of Trenton, S.C., was sitting. Ms. Cooks died at the scene, said North Augusta public information officer Detective Tim Thornton.

Two other people in the car, Ralph Garrett, 46, and Ernestine Garrett, 47, both of Edgefield, S.C., were taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital.

Mrs. Garrett was listed in good condition and his wife was listed in critical condition Tuesday,Detective Thornton said.

The driver of the truck, John L. Carter, 52, of Kershaw, S.C., was treated and released at the scene, Detective Thornton said.

Mr. Carter was charged with disregarding a traffic signal.

The South Carolina Transport Police responded to scene to inspect Mr. Carter's vehicle and found no problems, Detective Thornton said.

All three occupants of the Pontiac were wearing their seat belts, he said.

Man charged in molestation

An Augusta man has been charged with molesting a 7-year-old girl, police said.

Lawrence Rupert Smith, 30, of the 2300 block of Boykin Road, was being held Tuesday at the Richmond County jail on $25,050 bond.

The arrest occurred about 10 a.m. Saturday on International Boulevard during a routine check by a sheriff's deputy.

According to Richmond County sheriff's Sgt. Scott Peebles, the officer approached a 1986 Renault Alliance parked on the side of the road and found Mr. Smith in the back seat with a young relative.

Sgt. Peebles said the man's pants were pulled down. "When the girl saw the deputy, (the girl) jumped into the front seat," he said.

The victim told police that Mr. Smith pulled his pants down and told her to get on top of him.

Mr. Smith was arrested and charged with one count of child molestation. The girl was turned over to family members.

Two indicted in man's beating

Two men accused of severely beating a disabled man in downtown Augusta in June were indicted on an aggravated assault charge Tuesday.

The Richmond County grand jury issued the indictment against Chad A. Clifton, 26, of Evans, and Anthony R. Arcuri, 26, of Martinez, accusing each of aggravated assault, a crime punishable by up to 20 years.

Mr. Clifton and Mr. Arcuri are accused of beating Kenneth T. Lee on June 17 in a Reynolds Street parking lot bordering two restaurants. Mr. Lee, who is disabled, suffered a broken jaw.

Pair indicted in police shooting

Two men facing drugs charges after a raid that led to an officer's shooting were indicted by the Richmond County grand jury Tuesday.

Dennis L. Richardson, 36, was indicted on charges of aggravated assault, possession of cocaine and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. He is accused of shooting sheriff's Investigator James Tredore during a July 12 raid on a Fairwood Drive home. The officer, who was wearing a protective vest, survived the shooting.

A second man, Samuel Hodge, 25, was indicted on a single charge of trafficking in cocaine. Both men have been held without bond since their arrests in July.

Boyfriend indicted in scalding

The Richmond County grand jury issued an indictment Tuesday accusing an Augusta man of child abuse in the scalding of a toddler.

Anthony M. Harris, 22, was indicted Tuesday on a charge of cruelty to children, a crime punishable by as much as 20 years in prison.

Mr. Harris is accused of beating his girlfriend's 2-year-old with a beltlike object, and scalding the child in hot water, causing third-degree burns.

Residents give to 'Jerry's kids'

The annual Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon, held over Labor Day weekend, raised $164,599 locally, according to Spencer Culp, associate producer at television station WJBF (Channel 6). More than $56 million was raised nationally, telethon organizers said. All proceeds will benefit worldwide research, services and education.

The money raised by the telethon, which was aired locally on WJBF, will be used for local muscular dystrophy research.

For more information about the MDA, call (520) 529-2000.

Building slated for demolition

The Augusta Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to demolish an abandoned grocery store on Old Savannah Road that the Historic Preservation Commission said should be saved.

The preservation commission was scheduled to speak about the building's historic status at the commission meeting, but the board chose instead to submit a letter of protest on the issue. The Bethlehem Historic District, where the building is located, is governed by the preservation board.


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