Originally created 01/13/04

Across the region



Officer crashes car into store, injures 12

COLUMBIA - Twelve people suffered minor injuries after an on-duty police officer lost control of his patrol car and crashed into a downtown store.

The officer backed into a sign Sunday and could not control the vehicle while pulling forward, police said. The gas pedal apparently was stuck, authorities said.

The car struck a 50-year-old Columbia woman who was taken to the hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, authorities said.

Couples file complaint over discrimination

ATLANTA - The city of Atlanta will hear a discrimination complaint against a country club Monday filed by two couples who say the country club discriminates against same-sex couples by denying them perks given to other families.

Lee Kyser, a clinical psychologist, wants her partner, attorney Lawrie Demorest, to have the privileges given to members' spouses. Randy L. New, an attorney, is seeking the same for his partner, Dr. Russell Tippins, who is a radiologist.

But Druid Hills Golf Club has refused, citing bylaws that permit such privileges only for legally married members.

Extra officer doubles patrol cars on street

THUNDERBOLT, Ga. - One extra officer on patrol means double the police presence in this small town on the Georgia coast.

Having just hired three officers, the Thunderbolt Police Department had two patrol cars on the street Monday - a first for the town of 2,340.

Last year, the Town Council approved $100,000 to pay for the new officers and their equipment, officials said. Officials said the town now has 12 officers and needed the increase because of growth.

Former school leader takes over state post

COLUMBIA -The former school superintendent in Kershaw County, Mary Jones, takes over this week as chairwoman of the South Carolina Board of Education.

Ms. Jones, 62, will lead the 17-member policy-making board for the final year of her term.

The Kershaw County school board fired Ms. Jones 10 years ago, after two years as superintendent. There was disagreement about her decisions on how to cut expenses during a budget crisis.

She was appointed to the state board in 2001.

2 men charged with breaking into 7 cars

Two Richmond County men were charged Monday by North Augusta authorities with breaking into seven cars at North Augusta High School, a police report states.

Carlos L. Hazel, 18, of the 2000 block of Lee Street, Augusta, and Eric Lee Wade, 19, of the 3000 block of Manchester Drive, Hephzibah, were charged with seven counts of breaking and entering into a motor vehicle, the report said.

The Thursday incident also resulted in the theft of a Pioneer car stereo, which was later returned by one of the men, the report said.

Sprawls is elected Aiken's mayor pro tem

The Aiken City Council voted unanimously Monday night to appoint District 4 Councilman Don Sprawls as mayor pro tem.

Mr. Sprawls replaces Councilwoman Beverly Clyburn, who has held the position for the past two years. As mayor pro tem, he will fill in for Mayor Fred Cavanaugh should the mayor be absent.

Man is charged with using bad checks

A Martinez man was arrested Monday and charged with using bad checks to buy two all-terrain vehicles from a sporting-goods business.

Anthony Mastantuono, 46, of the 4300 block of Quail Creek Road, was charged with two counts of felony theft by deception, a Richmond County sheriff's report said.

The ATVs were purchased Dec. 23 and 24 with two checks totaling more than $8,700, the report stated.

An employee of Sportsmans Link on Bobby Jones Expressway told police the checks were returned unpaid because the account was closed.

Mr. Mastantuono remained in the Richmond County jail late Monday with bond set at $10,100, a jail official said.