Originally created 05/17/02

Across the area



Escaped inmate still on loose

Authorities searched Thursday for an inmate from Johnson State Prison who walked away from a work detail Wednesday.

Scott Stallings, of the Georgia Department of Corrections, said a search team scoured the area near the work detail again Thursday to look for Christopher Lamont Harris, 21, of Augusta. Mr. Harris was serving a five-year prison sentence for burglary and criminal damage to property. He was last seen on Franklin Hayes Drive at 12:52 p.m., officials said.

Mr. Harris is black, 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 160 pounds. He was wearing a white prison-issue uniform with blue stripes and the words "State Prison" on the back. Anyone with information can call the Department of Corrections fugitive hot line at (800) 947-9792.

National Hills fire under investigation

Fire officials are investigating a fire that destroyed a home near National Hills on Thursday.

Augusta-Richmond County firefighters arrived at 12:20 p.m. to the 1100 block of Oakdale Road to find fire venting from the roof, said Lt. G.B. Hannan, of the fire department. No one was home during the blaze, he said.

Lt. Hannan said firefighters extinguished the fire in several minutes. The house sustained extensive damage, making it difficult to determine a cause, he said.

Driver faces charges in traffic altercation

A case of road rage left one man with minor cuts and another in jail on a felony charge.

Capt. Steve Morris, of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, said Daniel Patrick Owen, 19, was charged with making terroristic threats after allegedly attacking Bo Quarles of Evans.

According to a police report, Mr. Quarles, 36, was driving east on Washington Road in a Ford Expedition on Wednesday evening when a car in front of him forced him to slam on the brakes. The report says Mr. Owen, driving a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, nearly hit Mr. Quarles from behind.

Mr. Owen, of Augusta, pulled alongside Mr. Quarles and threw items at the Expedition, in which Mr. Quarles' wife and children were passengers,the report said.

Mr. Quarles got out of his vehicle and ran to the back of the Monte Carlo to get the license plate number but was struck in the chest and the right hand by Mr. Owen with what appeared to be a box cutter, according to the report.

Mr. Quarles was treated for cuts at Doctors Hospital.

Mr. Owen was taken into custody and released Thursday on a $15,000 bond, Capt. Morris said.

Man remains critical after beating at home

Police are still waiting to question a man who was found beaten and unconscious Tuesday in front of his North Augusta home.

Lt. Tim Thornton, of the North Augusta Department of Public Safety, said Robert Williams, 61, remained unconscious and was in critical condition Thursday at Medical College of Georgia Hospital.

Lt. Thornton said police still do not have a suspect in the case. Mr. Williams was found at his Weston Street home at 2:22 a.m. Tuesday bleeding from his mouth, head and nose.

An air pistol was recovered in the front yard, but officials aren't sure if it was used in the attack. Anyone with information is asked to call the North Augusta Department of Public Safety at (803) 279-2121.

Old Petersburg Road closes for pipe work

Old Petersburg Road from Baston Road to Stephens Road will be closed from 7 a.m. Saturday to about 7 p.m. Sunday for utility work.

The Columbia County Construction and Maintenance Services Department said the closing will permit pipeline work associated with the widening of Baston Road.

The detour will be Stephens Road to Old Ferry Road to Baston Road.

The department recommended that motorists take alternate routes or allow additional time for traveling through the area.

Ben Harbin will run for House re-election

State Rep. Ben Harbin announced Thursday his intent to seek re-election to the House seat he has held since 1994.

"It is an exciting time in our state," he said. "We have the opportunity to make improvements in education, business, agriculture and the overall quality of life of the citizens of this great state."

Mr. Harbin serves on the Appropriations Committee, the Economic Development Subcommittee, the Community Health Subcommittee of Appropriations and the Legislative Reapportionment Committee. He also is the chairman of the Republican Caucus on the Insurance Committee.

Principals reassigned in Aiken County

Aiken County schools announced the reassignment of three principals this week.

With Area 2 Assistant Superintendent Nancy Smith retiring, officials named Cecilia Davidson, principal of North Augusta Elementary School, as her successor.

Angela Burkhalter, principal of Jackson Middle School, will replace Dr. Davidson.

Rod Greenway, assistant principal at Belvedere Elementary School, was promoted to principal. Belvedere Elementary's principal Kathryn Morris will retire.

Jackson Middle School is still seeking a principal, school officials said.

Church will hold CSRA Senior Expo

The CSRA Senior Expo 2002 is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday at First Baptist Church, 3500 Walton Way.

The fair will feature free demonstrations, health screenings, door prizes and entertainment. For more information, call 826-4480, Ext. 300.