Originally created 10/07/01

South Carolina briefs



Honeymoon skydiver plunges to her death

ST. GEORGE - A newlywed skydiver from Blythewood opened her parachute too late and fell to her death during a honeymoon jump, authorities say.

Beginning skydiver Wilma Reid, 46, was jumping from 13,500 feet when the accident took place about 1 p.m. Friday, authorities said. Mrs. Reid, who got married a week ago, was making her second jump of the day and her 29th jump ever.

"It was a normal dive, but she didn't open her chute until she was too close to the ground," said Wally West, owner of Blue Sky Adventures.

Two female inmates escape from prison

COLUMBIA - Two women convicted of fraud and burglary charges have walked away from a minimum-security prison.

Rebecca Bales, 26, and Lorie Cascio, 34, were last seen at the State Park Correctional Institution dumping trash about 5:50 a.m. Saturday, Corrections Department spokeswoman Cheryl Bates-Lee said. The women were later reported missing from a routine 7:30 a.m. count.

Ms. Bales is serving a four-year sentence on fraud and insufficient funds charges. Ms. Cascio is serving a 15-year sentence for first-degree burglary charges.

The State Park Correctional Institution serves as a pre-release center for minimum-security, nonviolent inmates who are within 36 months of release. The institution also houses inmates with a relatively short sentence, Ms. Bates-Lee said.

Officials seek source of fatal E. coli strain

ANDERSON - State health officials have confirmed two cases of the deadly E. coli strain, but still haven't determined the source.

The families of seven children infected with the bacteria are filling out a 15-page questionnaire to help investigators search for the source, said Mark Hough, state Department of Health and Environmental Control spokesman.

The E. coli 0157:H7 strain produces a powerful toxin that can cause severe illness and kidney failure.

Six of the seven sick children age 6 to 12 attend Calhoun Elementary in Anderson, school district spokeswoman Robin Stringer said, but there is no evidence linking the school directly to the infections.