Originally created 11/06/01

Across the area



Driver charged in biker's death

Authorities have charged an Augusta woman with vehicular homicide in connection with a weekend wreck that killed a motorcyclist.

Tara Latrail Craig, 31, of the 2200 block of Walden Drive, was driving west Saturday on Tobacco Road and turned left in front of a motorcycle, police said. The motorcycle hit the side of Ms. Craig's vehicle. The rider, Covander Davis, 39, of Hephzibah, died at Medical College of Georgia Hospital.

Ms. Craig was arrested Sunday and charged with homicide by motor vehicle second-degree, failure to yield while turning left and no proof of insurance. She was booked into the Richmond County jail, where she was being held Monday without bond pending a court hearing.

High court suspends attorney's license

The Georgia Supreme Court voted unanimously Monday to indefinitely suspend the law license of Martinez lawyer W. Barry Williams.

Mr. Williams had petitioned the court for voluntary discipline after admitting he violated State Bar rules in two cases. He admitted to accepting fees and failing to keep his clients informed, and he failed to attend scheduled hearings.

The court ruled to allow reinstatement on the conditions that Mr. Williams receive a favorable determination from the Lawyer Assistance Program, pay full restitution to both clients and successfully complete an ethics school sponsored by the State Bar.

Murder trial will begin in 2000 killing of cook

Opening arguments will begin today in the Aiken murder trial of one of three men accused of killing a longtime cook at City Billiards.

Reginald W. Stephens, 45, is charged with murder, armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. Police say he and two other men fatally shot and robbed Paul Williams inside his York Street home April 18, 2000.

The two other men, Christopher F. Davis, 21, and Gregory L. Hill, 41, are awaiting trial.

State rejects parole for cabbie's killer

The state Board of Pardons and Paroles denied parole Monday for Derwin Kea, 40, who is serving a life sentence for the 1985 murder of cab driver Willie Mitchell.

Mr. Mitchell was killed after Mr. Kea approached his cab on Willis Foreman Road intending to rob him, according to court documents. The two exchanged gunfire, and Mr. Mitchell was killed by a gunshot wound to the head. Mr. Kea was wounded but was still able to set the victim and his car on fire.

Mr. Kea pleaded guilty to arson and murder in Richmond County Superior Court on Aug. 4, 1986, and was sentenced to life for murder and 10 years for arson. He will not be reconsidered for parole until June 2006.

Husband faces charge after police stakeout

A Martinez man has been charged with aggravated stalking after a sheriff's deputy conducted a stakeout and witnessed the man harassing his estranged wife, police said.

Solomon Shad Knox, 30, of Flores Lane, was arrested Monday after his release from University Hospital, where he had undergone a mental evaluation.

The suspect's wife, Christine Knox, told police her estranged husband was calling her and visiting her house on Brookwood Drive in Augusta despite a protective order.

Deputy Randall Boatwright waited at the residence Thursday and watched the suspect drive by, a sheriff's report states. Mr. Knox sped away when the officer tried to stop him but circled back to the house, where he ran to the porch, put a gun to his head and threatened to kill himself, the report states. He surrendered later and was taken to the hospital.

Drug raid results in woman's arrest

A Washington County woman has been arrested on drug charges, accused of taking over her boyfriend's dealings after his arrest Sept. 7, police said.

Trina Warthen, of the 700 block of Williams Road, Tennille, was charged with possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute, Sheriff Thomas Smith said.

The arrest followed a raid of her home Friday, when officers confiscated 10 bags of crack cocaine worth $500 on the street, the sheriff said. The woman's Chevrolet Caprice was seized because it is suspected to have been purchased with drug money.

In September, drug agents found 31 small bags of crack cocaine spread across a kitchen counter during a raid at the same home, police said. Demetrius Lewis, 24, was arrested in that sting. His case was eventually turned over to the U.S. attorney's office for federal prosecution.

The pair were being held Monday in the Washington County jail.

Investigator says fire started with cigarette

A discarded cigarette was blamed for a fire Monday that destroyed part of a vacant house in south Augusta, fire officials said.

Firefighters responded to a call about 1:35 p.m. in the 2600 block of Barclay Street, said Lt. G.B. Hannan, an investigator with the Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department. The fire started on the front yard near the curb, then spread to the house, Lt. Hannan said. He said the flames spread to the front bedroom, then to the attic and roof.

Lt. Hannan said he found cigarette butts in the area where the fire started. The house has been vacant for more than a year, he said.

Police seek two men who robbed machines

Aiken police are looking for two men who used a $10 bill on a string to rob change machines of coins.

They were recorded on video committing the crime Oct. 29, police said Monday.

The men are white and in their teens or early 20s. One was described as 5 feet 10 inches to 5 feet 11 inches tall with brown hair and a medium build. The other was 6 feet to 6 feet 2 inches tall with dark hair, long sideburns and a goatee and a slender build.

Anyone with information about the crimes is asked to call Detective Wendell Hall at 642-7620.

City council rejects Walgreens proposal

NORTH AUGUSTA -North Augusta City Council voted against a planned Walgreens Drug Store on Monday night after residents again objected to the proposal.

Developers requested that 1.9 acres at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Martintown Road be rezoned from residential/office commercial to planned development. The city's planning commission voted against the request for the second time last week.

A development representative said Walgreens will not reapply to build in North Augusta.

Event awards diplomas to World War II vets

WRENS -Twenty-three World War II veterans were awarded high school diplomas Monday night at a special Veterans Day ceremony at Jefferson County High School.

Six of the diplomas were awarded posthumously and accepted by family members.

More than 400 people attended the ceremony.

Col. Peter T. Farrell, the deputy commander of the Army Signal Center at Fort Gordon, was the keynote speaker.

Car strikes cyclist on downtown street

A man riding a bicycle was struck by a car Monday night on Fifth Street after he failed to stop for a red light, authorities said.

The man, who was not identified, was hit about 7:19 p.m. by a Mercury Sable traveling west on Reynolds Street, according to Richmond County sheriff's Deputy Tim Rzasa. The impact smashed the windshield of the car and mangled the bike. The cyclist was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital and was charged with disregarding a red light, the deputy said.

The driver of the Sable, also not identified, was not injured.

Martin gets early start, criticizes Schrenko

Joe Martin is getting started early this time.

The Democratic primary for Georgia schools superintendent isn't until August 2002, but the candidate stumped in Columbia County on Monday night.

"We've never had a better opportunity than we have now to move ahead with improving education," Mr. Martin told members of the Columbia County Democratic Party. "... We need somebody that can make the system work."

Mr. Martin, who was the Democratic candidate for the office in 1998, said he's focused on uniting state officials on education. That's something current Superintendent Linda Schrenko hasn't done, he said.

"I'll forgive Mrs. Schrenko for her looney ideas, but I won't forgive her for getting in the way of progress," he said.

Fire at dry cleaners causes smoke damage

A utility room and several articles of clothing suffered smoke damage during a fire at a local dry cleaners Monday night, fire officials said.

Firefighters responded to a call about 7:05 p.m. at Vogue Cleaners in the 400 block of Highland Avenue, according to Battalion Chief Michael Weathers with the Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department. The fire was extinguished within minutes, he said.

Richmond County sheriff's deputies responded to the scene first and used fire extinguishers to combat the flames until firefighters arrived, Chief Weathers said. The fire started in a small utility room in the back of the building near a panel box, he said. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Donations sought

The city of Grovetown Museum Board of Directors is seeking donations of military memorabilia with ties to Fort (Camp) Gordon for a special display depicting the historical relationship between the military base and Grovetown.

Photographs, documents, uniforms, personal military equipment, medals and copies of news article are needed.

Donated items will be displayed in two glass cases, which were purchased through a grant from the Fort Gordon Officers Wives Club. For more information or to donate, call Rosa Lee Owens at 863-1867 or Charles Lord at 863-3138.