Originally created 07/17/02

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Wanted mother surrenders

A Graniteville woman, charged with felonies after she left her two children in a hot car, surrendered to authorities Tuesday, authorities said. She was released on a personal recognizance bond, police said.

Brandi Hutto, 19, is charged with two counts of unlawful conduct toward a child. Each charge carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Ms. Hutto left an 11-month-old in a car at about 1:15 p.m. July 10 at the Roses store on Richland Avenue, according to a police report. Ms. Hutto left the doors to the car unlocked and the engine running, the report said

The report said that store officials paged Ms. Hutto to return to her car. She retrieved one child, but not the 11-month-old, before returning to the store, the report said.

Evaluation crafted for city administrator

A subcommittee of the Augusta Commission that is creating a performance evaluation for City Administrator George Kolb hopes to complete its work in the next month, members said Tuesday.

The administrator's performance review panel is scheduled to meet Friday to review a draft evaluation form being compiled by the city human resources department. The form will be based, in part, on an existing one the city uses. It also will incorporate grading techniques used by Paine College and other governments, including Aiken County, which allows employees to evaluate themselves.

Most of the grading criteria will be gleaned from a job description for the administrator, including his ability to fill open positions, supervise department directors and act as a government liaison.

Condition worsens for driver in accident

An injured driver's condition worsened Tuesday, and his 3-year-old son remained in critical condition.

A spokeswoman for Medical College of Georgia Hospital said Andre Davenport, 36, of Wagener, was in fair condition Tuesday. He had been listed in good condition Monday when taken to the hospital after an accident on South Carolina Highway 39.

Mr. Davenport's son Andre Nikita Davenport remained in critical condition at Palmetto Richland Memorial Hospital in Columbia, a spokeswoman said.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol said 75-year-old Edith Bodie, also of Wagener, crossed the center line in her 1986 Oldsmobile and struck Mr. Davenport's 1972 Ford pickup. Ms. Bodie later died of her injuries.

Another of Mr. Davenport's passengers, Bobby McCollum, 39, remained in good condition at MCG, a spokesman said.

Patrolling deputy hurt in two-car accident

A Richmond County sheriff's deputy suffered minor injuries early Tuesday in a two-car wreck on Bobby Jones Expressway.

Deputy Matthew Orr was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital for treatment of a sore neck, said Deputy Brandon Reeves. Charles Fernandes, 22, of Augusta, was charged with driving too fast for conditions and failure to maintain the lane. Mr. Fernandes also had minor injuries, but he refused hospital treatment.

Deputy Reeves said the wreck occurred at 6:30 a.m. on the westbound side of Bobby Jones between Wheeler and Wrightsboro roads when Mr. Fernandes' car crossed three lanes of traffic and struck the back of Deputy Orr's patrol car.

Mr. Fernandes told police he was changing a CD at the time, said Deputy Reeves, adding that Mr. Fernandes' car was traveling at more than 80 mph at the time.

Paine president urges need for financial aid

Paine College President Shirley Lewis testified before a congressional committee Tuesday on the need for continued financial support for low-income students.

Dr. Lewis was one of four witnesses who appeared before the House Education and Workforce Committee.

Ninety percent of Paine College students get some form of federal financial assistance, she said.

Dr. Lewis said that, "compared to other colleges, private black colleges have very small endowments and cannot fall back on sizable numbers of wealthy alumni."

Also testifying were Juliet Garcia, the president of the University of Texas at Brownsville; Lawrence Gladieux, an educational consultant based in Virginia; and Elizabeth Sengkhammee, a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Coroner rules death as drowning accident

An autopsy Tuesday confirmed that accidental drowning was the cause of an Augusta man's death Monday in Thurmond Lake, a coroner said.

Family members said that Richard Dwayne Williams, 34, of the 1500 block of Starnes Street, became fatigued after swimming in deep water.

McCormick County (S.C.) Coroner Faye Puckett said Mr. Williams died at about noon near the boat ramp at Hamilton Branch State Park.

Railroad-track repair to close Laney-Walker

The westbound lanes of Laney-Walker Boulevard near the railroad crossing under Gordon Highway will be closed from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. today.

Workers will replace a broken rail, according to a news release from the Augusta Public Works and Engineering Department.

Westbound drivers are urged to use Fifth Street, Gordon Highway or Walton Way.

Man faces charges in attack on woman

An Augusta man was indicted Tuesday on charges of rape, burglary, kidnapping and misdemeanor cruelty to children.

A Richmond County grand jury issued the indictment against Raymond W. Huffman, 34, who has been held without bond since his arrest earlier this month.

According to the indictment, Mr. Huffman entered a woman's home July 4, inflicted bruises on her arms and legs as he forced her to move about inside the home, and sexually assaulted the woman near a child.

Molestation charge filed against man

An Augusta man was charged with child molestation after a 13-year-old told her mother about her relationship with the 28-year-old man, authorities said.

Seth Douglas Slaby, of the 4100 block of Woodard Avenue, was arrested Tuesday and booked in the Richmond County jail on the felony charge.

According to sheriff's Lt. Jimmy Young, Mr. Slaby was living with the 13-year-old girl and her family last month when the incident occurred. The girl told her mother that she had feelings for Mr. Slaby and revealed that he had fondled her, Lt. Young said.

Rash of burglaries reported at complex

Authorities Tuesday were investigating a series of burglaries at an apartment complex on Vandivere Road.

The manager of Magnolia Park Apartments told police Monday that items worth about $3,300 were stolen from at least nine units, according to a report from the Richmond County Sheriff's Office. The apartments were supposed to be remodeled before the burglaries occurred between July 10 and Monday, the report said.

The burglars entered the apartments by kicking open the front doors, then took stoves, water heaters, dishwashers, toilets and sinks, according to the report. They also damaged walls, carpet, glass doors and siding of the apartments, the report said.

Anyone with information about the burglaries is asked to call the Richmond County Sheriff's Office at 821-1020 or 821-1080.

Sentenced upheld in fugitive case

An Aiken man who led police on a nine-day manhunt after his escape from jail in 1999 lost a court battle Tuesday.

Travis Mace, 31, was originally sentenced to 40 years in prison after pleading guilty to 14 charges, including seven burglary charges and escape.

Mr. Mace argued at his post-conviction release hearing Tuesday that his lawyer had not represented him effectively, and he asked to be resentenced. The lawyer reminded the sentencing judge that the escape charge requires a consecutive sentence.

Mr. Mace also argued that he didn't know what a grand jury was when he pleaded and therefore couldn't voluntarily waive his right to have his case presented to the panel.

Circuit Judge Rodney Peeples denied both arguments and allowed Mr. Mace's sentence to stand.

Gunman fires into leg of sword-wielding man

Aiken police are looking for a man who shot another man after being told to leave a front yard.

Felix M. Tyler, 30, told the Aiken Department of Public Safety that a man wearing latex gloves and black jogging pants approached him at his mother's house in the 300 block of Hahn Avenue at about midnight Monday.

When the man wouldn't leave, Mr. Tyler went inside the home and returned with a samurai-type sword, which he waved, the report said.

The man again refused to leave and showed a gun. He fired three times - in the air, into the ground and into Mr. Tyler's left thigh, the report said.

Mr. Tyler was taken by ambulance to Aiken Regional Medical Centers.

The gunman was described as black, 20 to 30 years old, about 5 feet 7 inches tall and 150 pounds. He had brown eyes and black hair and left in a gray four-door vehicle, Sgt. David Turno said.

Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call Aiken Public Safety at (803) 642-7620 or Aiken County Crime Stoppers at (866) 883-7463. People who call Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward up to $1,000.

Police investigate woman's stabbing

An Augusta man was being sought on aggravated assault charges in the stabbing of a woman Tuesday morning.

Linda Green, 39, told police she was stabbed in the chest with a steak knife after an argument with Freddie A. Gibbs, according to a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report. Ms. Green suffered a 2- to-3-inch puncture wound to the middle of her chest and was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital, the report said.

The victim was listed in fair condition at MCG, said hospital spokeswoman Deborah Humphrey. Anyone with information on Mr. Gibbs' whereabouts is asked to call the Richmond County Sheriff's Office at 821-1080.

Candidate's residency is being challenged

The residency of a candidate for the District 3 seat on the Columbia County Commission is being challenged by another candidate for the same seat.

In an appearance Tuesday before the county's Board of Elections, Tony Mundy said Peggy Lichtenberg does not live at 565 Chamblin Road - as it says on her qualifying documents - and has never lived there. Instead, she lives on High Hampton Drive in West Lake subdivision, he said.

"If we are set up to run in districts, then we should live in the district," he said.

Mrs. Lichtenberg's husband, Richard, said the residency is just a technicality: the family purchased the Chamblin Road house earlier this year and hasn't moved in because of renovations.

"It's our intent to be buried out there somewhere," he said, adding the family also owns a couple of hundred acres - including Canterbury Trails Equestrian Center - around 565 Chamblin Road.

Local law requires only that a person live in the county - not specifically in the district - for 12 months before the election for local races, he said.

The Board of Elections tabled the residency issue until July 30.


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