Originally created 04/09/03

Across the area



Sheriff's office faces lawsuit

An Atlanta man has filed suit against the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, alleging that negligence led to several nights behind bars.

The lawsuit gives the following account:

A Richmond County Superior Court judge issued an arrest warrant in December 1999 for Michael Moore, who owed $500 in back child support. Mr. Moore contends that he paid the money in full Feb. 3, 2000, and the court records prove it.

The sheriff's office never corrected Mr. Moore's record on the Georgia Crime Information Computer system, and when a Clayton County sheriff's deputy stopped Mr. Moore for a traffic violation May 25, 2001, the old arrest warrant popped up. Mr. Moore was taken to jail.

Four days later, on May 29, a Richmond County sheriff's deputy picked Mr. Moore up and brought him to Richmond County, even though the deputy received word during the trip that Mr. Moore was no longer wanted.

A lawsuit represents only one side of a dispute.

Augusta man charged in drug possession

An Augusta man was charged with methamphetamine possession Monday after he went to Washington Road to conduct a drug deal, authorities said.

Chadwick Scott McNair, 27, of Balfour Street, was charged with possession of methamphetamines with intent to distribute and felony obstruction, Richmond County sheriff's Sgt. Allan Rollins said.

Authorities received a tip that Mr. McNair was going to the Food Lion grocery store to conduct the deal, Sgt. Rollins said. Narcotics officers watched him park in the store's fire lane and rush inside, where they confronted him, the sergeant said.

Police found 1 1/2 ounces of methamphetamines and more than $1,000 on him, Sgt. Rollins said. Officers said they seized the drugs, money and the man's vehicle.

Police identify man killed in car wreck

The Georgia State Patrol has identified a North Carolina man killed Monday in a head-on collision in Jefferson County.

Jardiel O. Duarte, 26, of Yadkinville, was driving a 1999 Kia Sephia on U.S. Highway 1 near Louisville when a 1999 Ford Ranger veered into his lane at 5:58 a.m., authorities said.

The driver of the pickup, Ronald P. Ryan Jr., 28, of Hephzibah, was treated Monday at Medical College of Georgia Hospital and released.

Tanning bed, mower are reported stolen

An Augusta woman reported the theft of a $4,000 tanning bed and a $2,000 riding lawn mower from her shed.

Kimberly Cosnahan, 20, told police that someone entered the storage shed behind her home on Reedale Avenue and hauled off the tanning bed, mower and tools.

She said the thieves apparently entered the shed Sunday night or Monday morning by forcing open a locked door, a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report states.

Tip leads to arrests at downtown club

Acting on a tip, a sheriff's deputy confronted two men at Crossroads on Broad Street early Tuesday and discovered Ecstasy and cocaine, authorities said.

Deputy Donovan Jones went into the nightclub and asked the two men for permission to search them, and they agreed, according to Richmond County sheriff's Sgt. Allan Rollins. The deputy found one man with a half-ounce of cocaine and the other with 12 Ecstasy pills, the sergeant said.

Ryan Brent Jewett, 23, of Merrymont Drive in Martinez, was charged with possession of Ecstasy with intent to distribute. Joshua Robert Ward, 23, of Blue Bird Road in Augusta, was charged with possession of cocaine.

Police cite teenager with reckless driving

An accident Tuesday in Columbia County left a vehicle in a ditch and a passenger in the hospital.

The 16-year-old driver of a white Chevrolet Camaro told a Columbia County sheriff's deputy that he was traveling east on Hereford Farm Road at noon when a white pickup pulled out of Blanchard Road in front of him. He jerked the car onto the right shoulder, then overcorrected, sending the vehicle across the road, where it flipped into a ditch, the deputy said.

A witness who was parked at the Blanchard Road stop sign waiting to turn onto Hereford Farm Road, told deputies no truck was at the sign in front of him. The witness said the truck was on Hereford Farm Road in front of the Camaro, the deputy said.

The passenger, Javone Bennett, 21, of Cumming Road in Evans, was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital, where he was in good condition, according to a hospital representative.

The driver, who was not injured, was issued a citation for reckless driving and released to his parents, said sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris.

Tickets are available for PBS documentary

Tickets are available at the H. Odell Weeks Activity Center in Aiken for Monday's preview of the PBS documentary Seabiscuit, a film that traces the history of the famed race horse of the Depression Era.

Proceeds from the $50 tickets will go to the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum. Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will be served at 7 p.m. at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 124 Newberry St., Aiken.

The film will be shown at 8.

Relay for Life team plans movie marathon

Ollie's Army, the city of Harlem's Relay for Life team, will hold a movie marathon for children at 1 and 3 p.m. today at The Laurel and Hardy Museum of Harlem.

The movies will be rated G and PG. Tickets cost $1 and include the movie, popcorn and a drink. For more information, call Kathy Sparks at 556-3448.

Senator faces another defeat of helmet law

The Georgia Senate on Tuesday night defeated what has become a perennial effort by Sen. Joey Brush, of Columbia County, to repeal the state's helmet law.

This year's bill would have exempted motorcyclists 21 years of age or older from having to wear a helmet. Younger motorcyclists would have been permitted to go without helmets if they had at least two years of experience or had completed the state motorcycle-safety course.

Sen. Steve Thompson, D-Powder Springs, said no study can refute the logic that motorcyclists are out in the open, without the safety advantages of driving in a car.

Evans man injured in highway accident

The passenger in a one-car accident was in good condition Tuesday night at Medical College of Georgia Hospital after a noontime accident in Columbia County.

According to sheriff's deputies, Javone Bennett, 21, of Cumming Road, Evans, was hospitalized after the car in which he was riding along Hereford Farm Road left the road and flipped into a ditch.

Evans football team gets new coach

It's official; Evans High School has a new football coach.

On Tuesday night, the Columbia County Board of Education hired former Aquinas coach Marty Jackson to head the school's football program. He replaces coach Lee Chomskis, who served in that position for two years and resigned three months ago under pressure from the school's administration.

Not all of the board members voted for Mr. Jackson. Board member Lee Muns, an avid supporter of Mr. Chomskis, voted against the motion.

"I have great concern with this decision," Mr. Muns said. "It has nothing to do with the individual; this decision has to do with providing the best capable person for this position."

School Superintendent Tommy Price said Mr. Jackson served as football coach for 10 years at Aquinas and was the recommendation of Evans High Principal Don Brigdon.