Originally created 11/23/04

Across Georgia



Appalachian Trail land will stay undeveloped

DAHLONEGA - A large tract of land near the southern end of the Appalachian Trail has been saved from development, thanks to an Atlanta family that agreed to sell 356 acres to conservationists instead of developers.

The U.S. Forest Service has acquired the land west of Springer Mountain, the starting point for the famous trail that runs 2,174 miles north to Maine.

The land, called the Glover/Little tract, has been marked as a conservation priority for 30 years, officials said.

The Forest Service paid $1.64 million, and the Georgia Land Trust Service Center chipped in $61,000.

Police say teen stole car, struck 4-year-old

SAVANNAH - A 4-year-old girl was critically injured after an underage driver stole a car, ran a stop sign and crashed into a vehicle carrying the child and four others.

Authorities said a 13-year-old boy hot-wired a white Buick Century, then ran a stop sign and hit a Geo Metro driven by 33-year-old Latonya D. Smalls shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday.

Ms. Small's 16-year-old daughter, Jatara Ward, was sitting in the passenger seat with 4-year-old Janeya Mitchell on her lap, and Ms. Smalls' brothers - 15-year-old Jonathan Ward and 13-year-old Marquis Ward - were in the back seat.

Janeya was taken to a hospital in critical condition, while Jatara suffered a concussion, officials said.

The collision had sent both cars spinning, and the Buick tipped over onto the driver's side. When passers-by righted the car, the 13-year-old ran away, officials said.

Police caught the boy several blocks away. He was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a serious accident, possession of a stolen vehicle and probation violation.

Principal is accused of shooting wife

FAIRBURN - Police were searching Monday for an assistant principal at an Atlanta middle school who is suspected of shooting his wife while the couple's children were getting ready for school.

Police said Rodney Denson, who works at Kennedy Middle School, shot his wife four times and then fled their Fairburn home Monday. Three children - ages 3, 8 and 16 - were in the house at the time.

The suspect's wife was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta for surgery.

Inmates sneak out through air system

BUCHANAN - Two Haralson County Jail inmates escaped through a ventilation system, and authorities say one is considered dangerous.

A team of police dogs tracked Homer Brown, 18, and Robert Anthony Hill, 23, into a nearby wooded area Saturday night, authorities said, adding that they believe the two are within a few miles of the jail.

Mr. Hill was serving a sentence for felony possession of a dangerous weapon and aggravated assault with a firearm and is considered dangerous, police said. Mr. Brown was serving time for several misdemeanors.

Jail officials said the cellmates spent days and possibly weeks breaking through the bars and planning the escape.