Originally created 03/19/03

Across the area



Edgefield man dies in wreck

An elderly Edgefield, S.C., man died after he was thrown from the minivan he was riding in Monday afternoon when the vehicle hit a bridge abutment.

Willie Jones, 73, of the 1200 block of South Carolina Highway 23 West, was thrown from a 1996 Ford minivan driven by Lowanda Mack, 26, of the 400 block of Rosa Hill Street in Edgefield, said Lance Cpl. Steve Sluder of the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

Lance Cpl. Sluder said the minivan was traveling south on Pleasant Lane Road, which is about seven miles north of Edgefield, about 3 p.m. when it ran off the right shoulder and hit the concrete bridge.

Mr. Jones, who was not wearing his seat belt, was thrown from the car. Lance Cpl. Sluder said there was no indication of excessive speed and officers don't know why the van ran off the road.

Ms. Mack and a second passenger - Jessie Jones, 84, who lived with Willie Jones - were taken to Self Memorial Hospital in Greenwood, S.C. A spokesman said they were treated and released.

Prosecutors will decide whether any charges will be filed, Lance Cpl. Sluder said.

Commissioners' vote will shift fire districts

Columbia County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday night for a shift in the fire district lines they say is aimed at better service.

The main change allows the Martinez Fire Department to start serving both sides of Chamblin Road to Interstate 20, both sides of Baker Place Road to I-20 and 300 feet past Chamblin Road on Columbia Road.

That includes the Ivy Falls and Misty Woods subdivisions.

While the Martinez Fire Department will gain subscribers, the Appling Fire Department and the Grovetown Department of Public Safety will lose them.

The reason for the change is to reduce 911 dispatcher confusion and improve response time.

Appling Chief Tom McFarland said the lost subscribers make up about 5 percent of his budget.

"I'm having a little bit of trouble with that, folks," he told the commission. "We've got to have some help from y'all."

Man is fatally shot in car outside store

A North Augusta man was fatally shot as he sat in his truck outside a Beech Island convenience store early Tuesday.

Police are looking for the shooter and a companion who both ran from the area after the 2 a.m. slaying.

Capt. Michael Frank, of the Aiken County Sheriff's Office, said Heath A. Hamilton, 21, of the 100 block of Boyd Pond Road, was shot as he sat in his pickup beside the Four Seasons Food and Fuel on Cary Drive.

The captain gave the following account: Mr. Hamilton and a friend, Ronald Coursey, 19, of the 300 block of Church Road in Beech Island, had stopped to use the telephone outside the store.

A man approached and spoke with Mr. Hamilton. Mr. Hamilton went back to his truck and drove it to the side of the store. The man, now accompanied by a second person who was carrying a gun, stepped up to the truck and demanded money.

The man with the gun fired, hitting Mr. Hamilton. After the two men fled, Mr. Coursey drove his friend to another nearby store where an employee called 911. Mr. Hamilton was pronounced dead at the scene.

Anyone with information on this crime is asked to call the sheriff's office at (800) 922-9709 or the South Carolina Crime Stoppers at (866) 882-7463. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward up to $1,000.

Democrats will hold forum on possible war

The Richmond County Democratic Party will have a public forum on the potential war in Iraq at 7 p.m. tonight at the party's headquarters at 12th and Broad streets.

Discussions will center on how troops can be supported, how war can be stopped and how the United Nations can contain Saddam Hussein, according to a Richmond County Democratic Party news release.

The forum will include a question and answer session.

Blood center will hold drive at Target store

The Shepeard Community Blood Center will hold a blood drive today at a Target department store to help boost blood supplies as the nation faces potential war, according to a news release.

The center's bloodmobile will be at the store on Robert C. Daniel Parkway in the Augusta Exchange shopping center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Another drive will be Friday in front of the Evans Medical Group at 635 Ronald Reagan Drive in Evans from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

These drives were scheduled to make up for a blood drive that was to be held at the Savannah River Site, but was canceled because of heightened security restrictions at the facility.

For more information, call the Shepeard Community Blood Center at 737-4551.

Worker finds tanning room covered in urine

A worker at an Augusta tanning parlor told police someone urinated all over a tanning bed and room Monday.

Kristen Nicole Graves, a clerk for The Tanning Club on Walton Way Extension, said she walked into the room after a customer had left and found urine on the tanning bed, the floor, on a wastebasket and a wall, a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report states.

Resident reports theft of his pickup's battery

An Augusta man told police someone stole the battery from his pickup early Tuesday while it was parked at his house.

Marvin Stewart, of the 600 block of Aiken Street, said the theft occurred about 3:30 a.m., a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report states. After awakening, he said he noticed his Ford pickup's hood was raised and his battery was missing.

Police say Evans man was hit by billiard ball

An Evans man said someone hit in him in the head with a billiard ball at an Augusta restaurant and bar early Tuesday morning.

Craig Brown, 24, said he was playing pool at Stool Pigeons on Robert C. Daniel Parkway in west Augusta when Joseph M. Nye, of North Augusta, started a fight and threw a billiard ball at Mr. Brown.

According to police reports, the ball struck Mr. Brown in the left eyebrow, requiring several stitches, which were treated by ambulance personnel at the scene.

$25,000 property bond gets ex-jailer released

A former jailer charged with the sale of heroin was out on a $25,000 property bond Tuesday, according to the Richmond County jail.

Jeffrey Donald Williams, 23, of the 4300 block of Roswell Drive in Martinez, was terminated after he was accused of selling $200 worth of heroin to an undercover Richmond County sheriff's deputy Thursday.

Mr. Williams was the fifth jailer to be accused of wrongdoing and fired this month.

No court date for Mr. Williams has been set, according to the Richmond County jail.

Sheriff's office plans explosion during class

The Richmond County Sheriff's Office will hold a explosive demonstration today as part of a homeland security class.

The seminar will be from 8 a.m. to noon at the Richmond County Training Range on Greenland Road, officials said. The K-9 Task Force division will explain threat levels to industrial businesses such as factories, textile mills and chemical plants, officials said.

For more information, call the task force at 592-2118.

Wreck blocks traffic on Washington Road

A three-car accident Monday afternoon blocked three lanes of rush hour traffic on Washington Road in Evans for more than a half-hour.

Helen Louise Bracknell, 55, of Plum Branch, S.C., had stopped in a westbound lane of Washington Road to turn left into the Evans Town Centre shopping center when she was rear-ended by a Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by Michelle Lynn Scearce, 23, of Evans, according to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office deputy on the scene.

Ms. Bracknell's Ford Taurus was forced into the path of an Acura driven by Robin Keisha Sheppard, 26, of Augusta, blocking both eastbound lanes.

Ms. Bracknell's passenger and mother, Eula Bracknell, also of Plum Branch, who sustained minor injuries, and Ms. Sheppard were taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital. Both are listed in good condition, said a hospital spokesman. Ms. Sheppard's two children, Ms. Bracknell and Ms. Scearce were not injured.

Army Reserve reports theft of barricades

Police on Tuesday were investigating the theft of two barricades taken from the United States Army Reserve Center on Wrightsboro Road.

Staff Sgt. Scott G. Abraham, the facility manager, said the barricades were stolen between Friday and early Tuesday morning, according to a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report. The barricades - which hold up to 100 gallons of water - are worth a total of $500, the staff sergeant said.

The devices were placed in front of the facility in the 3300 block of Wrightsboro Road as protection around the entrance of the building, Staff Sgt. Abraham said. The reserve center had six barricades before the theft, he said.

He said officials are working to get barricades made of concrete that are harder to steal. Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call the sheriff's office at 821-1080.