Originally created 07/10/02

Across the area



Bottle bombs rattle Wrens

Six pressurized explosive devices were found early Tuesday in a Wrens neighborhood.

Five of the devices exploded in front yards and in the road on Thompson Street, said Wrens Police Department Chief David Hannah. The remaining bomb was dismantled by a Georgia Bureau of Investigation bomb squad.

Chief Hannah said no one was injured and there was no structural damage to homes in the area. But the blasts prompted several phone calls to his department.

"Some of them shook houses in the neighborhood," he said.

The bombs were made by filling 2-liter soft-drink bottles with several chemicals, causing pressure to build up, the chief said.

Police are looking for a dark-colored Ford Ranger with a sliding rear window. Chief Hannah said the vehicle was seen in the area at the time of the incident. Anyone with information about the devices is asked to call the Wrens Police Department at (706) 547-3000.

Brief rain causes expressway flooding

A portion of Bobby Jones Expressway near the Wrightsboro Road exit flooded Tuesday night, forcing police to close down two lanes of travel for more than an hour.

The flooding, which occurred about 8 p.m. when a brief shower started, was the result of a clogged drain on the expressway, said Deputy Larry Elsey of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Water backed up from the drain and covered a 30-foot stretch into the left two lanes of the expressway's eastbound side. The water was about 2 feet deep.

Deputy Elsey said workers were called in to drain the water. Meanwhile, the right two lanes remained open for travel.

Attempt at ATM theft ends in driver's arrest

A Beech Island man was charged Tuesday in a failed attempt to steal an ATM from an Augusta convenience store, police said.

Three men used a chain and a sport utility vehicle to pry off the door to the Citgo convenience store on Stevens Creek Road at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, said Lt. Tony Walden, of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office. The men loaded the ATM into the back of the vehicle and drove away, dropping half of the machine in the parking lot.

Witnesses called police. Deputies stopped a vehicle on Mayo Street, where they arrested the driver and recovered the second half of the ATM, Lt. Walden said.

Doug Glenn Bledsoe, 20, of Woodcrest Drive, Beech Island, was charged with felony burglary. A passenger ran from the vehicle and was not captured. A third man is also being sought for participating in the burglary.

Court indicts man in disputed land deal

A man who police say sold land he did not own was indicted Tuesday on felony charges of giving false statements and theft by deception.

Police said John E. Williams, 65, of Brockdale Drive, sold 3.5 acres of land to the Richmond County Board of Education for $30,000. Mr. Williams told a probate court judge that he was sole heir to the property off Railroad Avenue in Hephzibah, according to the indictment. In May, heirs to the land came to Augusta to pay property taxes and learned the land had been sold.

It is unclear whether the school board will have to return the land or will lose the price paid for it.

Vineyard Churches to open conference

About 500 pastors and leaders from the Southeast Association of Vineyard Churches will begin registration today at The Vineyard Church-Augusta to start a three-day conference.

Speakers include the Rev. Lance Pittluck, pastor of The Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Anaheim, Calif.; Dr. Johnny Crist, Atlanta-based Southeast regional overseer for the Association of Vineyard Churches; and the Rev. Thor Colberg, pastor of The Vineyard in Augusta.

The conference will close with praise and worship at the Jessye Norman Amphitheater at Riverwalk Augusta at 7 p.m. Friday.

For more information, call 863-9766 or visit The Vineyard at www.vineyardaugusta.org.

Father who beat girl is not charged by police

Richmond County authorities chose not to charge an Augusta father with whipping his daughter with a belt after a doctor told them the beating was excessive but not cruel, a sheriff's report states.

A 15-year-old girl told police this week that her father beat her because she was disobedient.

The father told police that when he started whipping his daughter for being disobedient, she slapped him, leading him to strike her even more, a sheriff's report states.

The girl was examined at University Hospital, where the doctor told police the girl's injuries were "borderline excessive, but not cruel," a report states. Social workers with the Augusta Department of Family and Children Services told police they would investigate the incident and recommended the girl stay with her grandfather.

Deputy injures arm in arrest scuffle

A Richmond County deputy was injured after struggling with a drunken-driving suspect who led police on a chase, a sheriff's report states.

Deputy Jason Youngblood suffered a cut to his right forearm, and his radio equipment was broken in the struggle, the report states.

The deputy tried to pull over a Cadillac on Monday after it ran a stop sign on Barton Chapel Road. The driver led the officer on a chase before stopping on Deeb Road, where he jumped from the car and ran, a report states.

Deputy Youngblood ordered the man to stop, but he kept running and fought with the deputy once he was caught, a report states.

Gregory Charles Hughes, 21, of the 2800 block of Wells Road, was charged with felony obstruction of an officer, driving under the influence, fleeing and attempting to elude, running a stop sign, having an open container of alcohol and driving with an expired license.

New principal named to Greenbrier High

Sandra Carraway, who brought Riverside Middle School to national prominence when it was named a National Blue Ribbon School this year, has been named the new principal of Greenbrier High School.

On Tuesday night, the Columbia County Board of Education also named Harlem Middle School Assistant Principal Carolyn Fries as Grovetown Middle School's new principal.

The 27-year veteran will replace Tom McClendon, former principal of Oconee Middle School, who was chosen for the Grovetown Middle School post in the spring. He resigned last month, the week before his contract was set to begin, citing personal reasons. The school is now under construction and is expected to open midyear.

Dr. Carraway will replace former Greenbrier High Principal Gloria Hamilton, who has moved to the central office to take on a newly created position as Title I instructional improvement director.

Public gives input on bike, walking path

Several residents got the chance Tuesday to voice their opinion on what a new regional bicycle and pedestrian plan in the Augusta area should look like.

In meetings at the Aiken and Augusta-Richmond County municipal buildings, transportation officials asked residents to mark on a map where they live and work. Residents then marked on a separate map where they would like to bike or walk.

"We want to find out where they live and work," said Joddie Gray, a planning department manager for the Atlanta consulting company Arcadis, which is helping with the plan.

Some at the Augusta meeting told officials they wanted the North Augusta Greeneway to be connected to the paths along the Augusta Canal.

The goal is to create a 20-year bicycle and pedestrian plan by December. Ms. Gray said a second public meeting will be offered in November, and a questionnaire for public input will be posted in the next week at www.co.richmond.ga.us/planz.

Police arrest 2 men after car chase, crash

Two Augusta men were arrested early Tuesday after, police said, they fled from officers and crashed a car into a house.

William Conner Hall, 17, of the 3600 block of London Boulevard, was charged with felony obstruction of a law enforcement officer and traffic charges, a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report states. Calvin Eugene Wright, 34, of the 2600 block of Alexander Place, was charged with misdemeanor obstruction.

The incident occurred at 4:15 a.m. Tuesday when Deputy Jason Youngblood attempted to stop Mr. Hall and Mr. Wright at Glenn Hills Road. Mr. Hall continued driving into Emory Hills Trailer Park, where, police say, he drove through a wire fence.

The occupants bailed from the car, which continued traveling and struck a house on Green Street. After a brief foot chase and struggle, Mr. Hall and Mr. Wright were arrested.

Museum wants relics of Fort Gordon's past

The City of Grovetown Museum board of directors is seeking donations of military memorabilia with ties to Fort (Camp) Gordon for a display depicting the historical relationship between the fort and Grovetown.

Photographs, documents, uniforms, personal military equipment, medals and copies of news articles are needed. Donated items will be displayed in two glass cases that 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.