Originally created 03/06/02

Across the area



Police seek man in carjacking

Richmond County authorities are looking for a man who escaped capture Tuesday despite a foot chase by officers and a search by helicopter.

Jermaine Ramsey, 19, is wanted in connection with a Nov. 14 carjacking.. A woman told police she was robbed of her truck at gunpoint while stopped on Eve Street.

An officer working an unrelated case on Old Savannah Road spotted Mr. Ramsey entering a home Tuesday morning and called for backup, Richmond County Sheriff's Office Maj. Ken Autry said. Before other officers arrived, the teen came outside and the officer chased him.

The officer heard gunfire as he chased the man, but he was unsure whether the man had fired a weapon, Maj. Autry said. A Georgia State Patrol helicopter was brought in to help search the area, but Mr. Ramsey was not found.

Anyone with information on the suspect's whereabouts is asked to call the sheriff's office at 821-1080.

Teen driver arrested after chase, crash

An officer at Butler High School chased a suspicious vehicle from the school parking lot Tuesday and arrested a teen-ager after the black Honda he was driving ran into another vehicle at a gas station, officials said.

Jermaine Nealous, 18, was charged with obstruction of a law enforcement officer and was being held at the Richmond County jail Tuesday night under a $2,050 bond, jail officials said. Another occupant of the car ran but escaped.

Public Safety Officer Eddie Lyell saw a suspicious vehicle with a South Carolina tag in the school lot and approached it, but the driver sped away, said Justin Martin, spokesman for Richmond County schools. Officer Lyell got in his vehicle and chased the car.

The Honda struck another vehicle at the Racetrac convenience store on Gordon Highway, and the two occupants ran from the vehicle, Mr. Martin said.

Deputies arrest boy in attempted shooting

An Augusta teen was arrested Tuesday morning in connection with a shooting attempt outside an apartment on Broad Street, police said. No one was injured.

The 15-year-old boy - whose name was not released because he is a juvenile - was charged with firing a 12-gauge shotgun at Christopher Benjamin about 11 a.m. at Broad Street Apartments, said Richmond County Sheriff's Office Deputy Russell Schaffer.

Mr. Benjamin, 20, of Kendrick Place, told police that the boy came to the apartments and fired the shotgun at him, Deputy Schaffer said. The two had been part of an altercation among several people the night before, he said.

Police found the shotgun in a nearby residence, Deputy Schaffer said.

The teen-ager was captured by police near the apartment complex and was identified by Mr. Benjamin as the shooter. The boy was charged with pointing a gun at another, discharging a firearm near a public street and possession of a firearm by a minor.

Army burns off acres of fort's underbrush

Fort Gordon officials were burning about 1,500 acres of woods Tuesday to reduce the underbrush.

Pam Tucker, Columbia County's emergency services director, said Fort Gordon officials told her the burn had been planned for some time and is part of an ongoing program to control the underbrush on the military installation.

The smoke from the fire could be seen throughout the Augusta area for most of the day Tuesday.

SLED investigates city's missing money

A spokeswoman for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said Tuesday the state agency is investigating missing money from the city of New Ellenton.

Kathryn Richardson said the state opened the investigation last week but would not elaborate.

New Ellenton Police Chief Van McMillian would not talk about the investigation either, and Mayor Paul Parker could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

The investigation is be the first time New Ellenton has fallen under financial scrutiny. In 1993, then-Mayor Randy Shaw pleaded guilty to falsifying records after the majority of $5 million in state funds for building a sewer system went missing.

He resigned after town officials found only $164,000 remained to be used with 65 percent of the project yet to be completed.

Center will be named for ex-commissioner

Belle Terrace Community Center will be named after former District 5 Commissioner Henry Brigham, who served in office at the time the city park was funded and built.

After a request from several south Augusta neighborhood associations to name the park and community center after Mr. Brigham, Augusta commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the facility's name change.

Mr. Brigham served on the Richmond County Commission for ten years - from 1985 to 1995 - and represented the area for five more years as an Augusta commissioner. He was defeated in November by Bobby Hankerson in a runoff election.

Warmer days ahead after record lows

Temperatures in the Augusta area have plummeted to record lows three times the past week. The low Thursday was 18 degrees. On Friday, the mercury dropped to 16, and Tuesday brought another record low of 20, breaking the record of 21 set in 1978.

Highs today are expected to be in the mid-60s, rising to the upper 60s Thursday with lows in the upper 30s, according to the National Weather Service in Columbia.

Vehicle donation

The National Kidney Foundation of Georgia's is seeking donations of old vehicles to be sold as a fund-raiser.

The program offers free vehicle pickup. Cars, trucks, boats or motor homes donated might be tax deductible. To receive an informational packet to fill out and return, call (800) 488-CARS.

DOT says I-20 rest area will remain closed

The Georgia Department of Transportation said Tuesday that the eastbound rest area on I-20 in Columbia County will be closed longer than expected because of the rainy weekend weather.

The rest area was scheduled to reopen after today. Now, DOT officials say it will be open after March 13. The rest area was closed because of a DOT project replacing concrete slabs on I-20 between the Belair exit and Thomson.