Originally created 10/17/01

Woman dies en route to hospital



Authorities say a woman with a suspected drug addiction died early this morning after running erratically through an Augusta neighborhood claiming that someone was trying to kill her.

The 29-year-old woman is believed to be from Milledgeville, Ga., according to Richmond County Deputy Coroner Grover Tuten. Fingerprints from her body will be compared with police records in an attempt to identify her, and an autopsy is scheduled for Thursday to determine a cause of death, he said. Toxicology reports could take a few weeks.

Several residents in the 1600 block of Hester Street said they woke up to screams shortly after midnight, sheriff's Maj. Ken Autry said.

Janice Smith told authorities she looked outside and saw the woman yelling for help in the street. The woman then came up to Ms. Smith's porch.

"She was moving around porch furniture, saying that someone under the furniture was trying to shoot her," Maj. Autry said.

The woman then moved down the street and banged repeatedly on the door of Dorothy Golatt, who called police.

Deputy Jennifer Kuhlke arrived and tried unsuccessfully to calm the combative woman. The officer was able to handcuff the woman but called an ambulance when the woman "went nuts," Maj. Autry said.

Authorities restrained the woman on a stretcher. On the way to the Medical College of Georgia Hospital, the woman began breathing erratically. Rescue personnel began CPR, but the woman was pronounced dead at MCG at 1:03 a.m., Mr. Tuten said.

Authorities believe they know the woman's identity after talking to a few residents, who say she has been living on the streets. Police also believe the woman left her 12-year-old son with a friend after being forced out of the friend's home because of her drug problem, Maj. Autry said. Officials with the Department of Family and Children Services are involved in placing the boy, he said.

Reach Greg Rickabaugh at (706) 828-3851 or greg.rickabaugh@augustachronicle.com.