Originally created 07/17/04

Across the area



Two men jailed for sex crimes

Two Augusta men who had sexual contact with children in unrelated incidents went to jail Friday.

James E. Drayton, 40, pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to two counts sexual battery, crimes that left the victim and her family devastated, the child's mother said.

"If he never got out of jail I'd be satisfied. Ten years (the maximum punishment Mr. Drayton faced) is not enough," the mother told Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet.

Judge Overstreet sentenced Mr. Drayton to serve six years in prison followed by four years on probation for the molestation of a 12-year-old girl in March 2002.

Judge Overstreet sentenced Sammie Powell, 21, to serve two years in jail followed by four years on probation for his guilty plea to statutory rape. Mr. Powell admitted to having sex with a 14-year-old girl in September.

Stolen truck rolls into sheriff's deputy's car

A Richmond County sheriff's deputy was injured Thursday night after a stolen truck he was trying to stop rolled backwards into his patrol car, a police report states.

Deputy Michael Dodaro reported that at 9:06 p.m., he tried to conduct a traffic stop in the 2500 block of Miles Street on a stolen 1997 Chevrolet 2500 pick-up truck.

As he approached the truck, the man inside drove off, and the deputy said he chased the truck.

Deputy Dodaro said the man then jumped out of the truck and ran behind some houses on Miles Street. When the man jumped out, the vehicle rolled backwards and struck the front of the deputy's patrol car, the report states.

Deputy Dodaro suffered back injuries from the impact of the truck, the report states.

The report does not indicate whether the deputy was treated at a medical facility for his injuries.

Man reports shots fired through window

An Augusta man told Richmond County sheriff's deputies Thursday that someone shot a window at his deceased mother's former home, a police report states.

Ronnie Lee Williams, 50, said someone shot at the window of a home in the 2200 block of Richards Road between Monday and Thursday, breaking the window.

He told deputies he also saw five puncture marks on the mailbox.

Deputies found four bullet holes through the window, the report states.

Arrested sheriff's jailor placed on leave

A Richmond County sheriff's jailor who was arrested on battery charges earlier this week has been placed on administrative leave, officials said Friday.

Brenda Joyce Lowery, 33, has been placed on leave, said Sgt. Pat Young, of the sheriff's Internal Affairs division.

She was arrested on a simple battery warrant Wednesday as a result of a July 10 altercation with Angela Denise Harmon at Chuck E. Cheese's restaurant on Wrightsboro Road, a police report states.

Ms. Lowery told authorities her 10-year-old son was playing a video game at about 7 p.m. before being shoved by Ms. Harmon's son, also 10.

The report states the women exchanged punches, but witnesses added that Ms. Lowery stormed loudly into the business and used expletives in addressing Ms. Harmon.

Woman reports being menaced with branch

An Augusta woman told sheriff's deputies that two people threatened her with a tree limb and assaulted her Thursday night, a police report states.

Aretha Williams, 29, of the 3600 block of Rollingmeadow Drive, told deputies that at 9:10 p.m., one woman came to her residence with a tree limb and hit her door, causing the glass to fall out.

She said a second woman then struck her on her wrist with an unknown object.

Ms. Williams told deputies she will prosecute.

Woman jailed in case of stolen credit card

An Augusta woman was in jail Friday night after police say she was caught using a stolen credit card to buy two golf carts from an Evans business.

Columbia County sheriff's Staff Sgt. Mike Cullinan said Sparkle Desire Dowdy, 26, of the 1900 block of Central Avenue, ordered a $3,000 golf cart July 10 from J & M Golf Carts, 690 Industrial Park Drive, and picked up the cart July 12.

Two days later, an office worker discovered that the credit card used to pay for the cart was stolen from a Columbia man and made a report with the sheriff's office, Staff Sgt. Cullinan said.

Ms. Dowdy called back Wednesday to order a second $2,500 cart.

After being notified she was personally picking up the cart Friday, deputies were waiting to arrest her, Staff Sgt. Cullinan said.

Area mental health leader to step down

The head of mental health services for the Augusta and Athens area is stepping down, the second person to leave that post in a year. Andrew McCollum, the regional coordinator for the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addictive Diseases, is expected to retire effective Aug. 1.

He had replaced Jack Gronewald, who resigned suddenly last year after only months on the job, citing "personal reasons."

Mr. McCollum had been with the state for 34 years and had served as the executive director of the regional office before some regions were combined and the post of regional coordinator was created.

Portions of Highland Avenue will be closed

Portions of Highland Avenue will be closed today while the Augusta Public Works and Engineering Department resurfaces the street.

Highland Avenue from Wrightsboro Road to Walton Way will be closed from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Drivers are advised to use Monte Sano Avenue, Pine Needle Drive, Lake Forest Drive, Johns Road and Milledge Road.