Originally created 10/18/01

Across the area



Woman in panic dies suddenly

A woman with a suspected drug addiction died early Wednesday morning after running through an Augusta neighborhood claiming someone was trying to kill her, authorities said.

The woman, who was 29, is believed to be from Milledgeville, Ga., Deputy Coroner Grover Tuten said. Fingerprints are being used to identify her, and an autopsy is set for today.

Residents along Hester Street woke up to screams shortly after midnight and saw the half-naked woman looking under outdoor furniture, saying someone was trying to shoot her, sheriff's Maj. Ken Autry said.

A deputy called an ambulance when the woman became hysterical. She was restrained on a stretcher and began breathing erratically on the way to Medical College of Georgia Hospital. Rescue personnel began CPR. The woman was pronounced dead at 1:03 a.m. at the hospital reported.

AIKEN -

Aiken County man's murder trial opens

Opening arguments are set to begin today in the case of an Aiken County man who police say fatally shot his estranged girlfriend and wounded another man in Jackson a year ago Wednesday.

A jury was selected Wednesday to hear the charges against Julio E. Echevarria, 50. He is charged with murder, assault and battery with intent to kill, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

Police say that on Oct. 17, 2000, he stormed into the house of Anita Martinez, shot her in the head and shot her companion, James B. Jones, in the arm and leg.

AIKEN -

Agriculture teacher wins national award

Aiken High School's agriculture teacher, Joe Wilson, was recognized this week for establishing one of the top six agricultural education programs in the nation.

The award was given by the National Association of Agricultural Educators.

Mr. Wilson was presented the award by Gov. Jim Hodges at a ceremony Monday night at the Statehouse in Columbia. He has taught agriculture for more than 28 years.

Fort Gordon reservists undergo anthrax testing

A group of reservists at Fort Gordon was tested for anthrax Tuesday after someone reported a suspicious package, officials said.

The package was found about 10 a.m. at a training area inside a reserve center, said James Hudgins, public affairs officer at the fort. Members of the fort's hazardous materials team quarantined the package, he said.

About 10 reservists who were in the area were taken to Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center for nasal swab testing, Mr. Hudgins said. The reservists are being monitored, he said.

"This doesn't appear to be any threat but action was taken to be on the safe side," he said.

The area where the package was discovered also houses classes for Georgia Military College. The college's portion of the building has been shut down pending the results of the tests, Mr. Hudgins said.

NORTH AUGUSTA -

Authorities seek man in stabbing incident

Authorities are looking for a man they say stabbed another man outside a pub in North Augusta.

Roy-Elmer Grover Jr., 25, was slashed on his left forearm by a man asking for money about 4:40 a.m. Wednesday outside the Highlander Pub on Georgia Avenue, according to an incident report at North Augusta Public Safety.

When Mr. Grover told the man he did not have any money, the man cut him three times on the forearm, the report stated. He was taken to Aiken County Regional Medical Centers for treatment and was released.

The assailant was described as white, 5 feet 7 inches and 175 pounds, with short brown hair. He wore light-blue jeans and a striped blue shirt.

Anyone with information about the stabbing is asked to call North Augusta Public Safety at 279-2121.

NORTH AUGUSTA -

Police look for man in pair of robberies

North Augusta police are looking for a man who police suspect robbed two businesses on Edgefield Road within five hours.

The man, wearing a gray, hooded sweat shirt, walked through an open door in the back of a Captain D's restaurant about 10 p.m. Monday, according to a report from the North Augusta Department of Public Safety.

He pointed a pistol at the employees and took money from a safe and a cash register. He then ran out the rear door.

At 3 a.m. Tuesday, a man wearing a gray sweat shirt robbed the Circle K convenience store after telling an employee he had a gun.

Anyone with information about the crimes is asked to call 279-2121.

EDGEFIELD -

Eighteen-year-old driver dies in crash

An 18-year-old Edgefield woman was killed when the car she was driving hit a tree on U.S. Highway 378 late Tuesday, police said.

Jessica Lynn Cleveland was driving east about 12 miles north of Edgefield at about 11:15 p.m. when she lost control of a 1994 Oldsmobile and crashed into a tree, said Lance Cpl. Jeff Daniels of the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

She was wearing her seat belt, Lance Cpl. Daniels said, but he did not know how fast Ms. Cleveland was driving or whether alcohol was a factor.

State invites pupils' parents to lunch

Pupils in Columbia and Richmond counties are having lunch with their parents this week.

Across the state and the nation, public schools are participating in National School Lunch Week. Parents are invited to eat lunch with their children and sample the meals offered in the public school system.

Brenda Jones, principal of Brookwood Elementary School in Columbia County, said she estimates 350-400 parents will have had lunch at the school on South Old Belair Road by week's end.

"Each day, we have different grade levels to host their parents, and every day we've had a packed house," Mrs. Jones said.

Paine plans open house for prospective students

Paine College will sponsor an open house Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for area high school students.

Students will be given a tour of the campus, attend a departmental fair and have lunch on the veranda of the Peters Campus Center. Entertainment also will be provided.

Academic representatives will be available to speak with prospective students about the college's programs of study and admission requirements.

For information, contact the office of admissions at 821-8320.

Augusta Common contractor chosen

The city will award the contract for construction of a downtown common area to a company from South Carolina on Monday.

Augusta Common will be a 2.37-acre public park that connects Broad Street and Riverwalk Augusta between Eighth and Ninth streets. The park will include an athletic field lawn area, paved sidewalks, decorative plaques and statues, a fountain and bike parking racks.

Six contractors submitted bids for the project, and the low bid was awarded to Outdoor Advanced Services of Columbia. The project will cost about $2.3 million and has an expected completion date of July 31, 2002. The project is being paid for with a combination of sales tax money, housing grants, city dollars and private donations.

Public forum targets travel-safety concerns

AAA Travel in Augusta will hold a public forum tonight to address concerns about travel safety. Representatives from Augusta Regional Airport, AAA, Delta Vacations and Princess Cruises will be available to discuss how they have dealt with increased security since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The companies also will outline promotions designed to boost the slowdown in the travel industry.

The meeting will be at 6 p.m. at the AAA office, 3601 Walton Way Extension.

Food Bank gets funds for truck, freezers

Kraft Foods has donated $73,000 to the Golden Harvest Food Bank to buy a refrigerated delivery truck for the food bank's Aiken facility. The remainder will be used to buy freezers for affiliate agencies in Georgia and South Carolina.

According to Wayne Waldrop, communications and events coordinator for Golden Harvest, the truck will be used to make rural deliveries in Aiken, Edgefield, Barnwell, McCormick, Bamberg and Allendale. The Aiken facility had been using Augusta's truck.

The food bank, which has a service area of over 11,000 square miles, has pledged to give out 8.5 million pounds of food in the coming year.