Originally created 12/15/04

Across the area



Man is killed in truck crash

An autopsy shows that a south Richmond County man involved in a fiery single-vehicle crash early Tuesday morning died of blunt force trauma, officials said.

Richmond County Chief Deputy Coroner Mark Bowen said Leroy Johnson, 62, was traveling east in a Chevrolet pickup in the 1400 block of Brown Road when the vehicle went off the road, into a ditch and hit a driveway culvert before catching fire.

Police arrest woman, search for boyfriend

Richmond County sheriff's investigators have arrested a woman who they said deceived a bank and a discount retailer, and they are looking for her boyfriend on similar charges, officials said Tuesday.

Authorities are looking for James Wendell Bing, 25, whose last known address was in the 1800 block of Fayetteville Drive, on a charge of felony theft by deception, said sheriff's Investigator Tamika Coffield. She said his girlfriend, Ashley Marie Rickerson, 18, of the 2500 block of Corbin Place, was arrested earlier this week on the same charge.

Officials found that the two had taken a $2,000 check, written on a closed bank account of Mr. Bing's and used it to opened a new account at Wachovia, Investigator Coffield said. She said the two then wrote checks at the Wal-Mart SuperCenter on Deans Bridge Road for more than $1,200, before withdrawing all the money in the account.

Officials search for man in store robbery

State and local authorities are looking for a man who they said robbed the Golden Pantry in the 500 block of South Liberty Street before 2 a.m. in Waynesboro, Ga., on Tuesday.

Officials found that the man had crawled in through a small window and demanded money from the clerk, Waynesboro Police Chief Karl E. Allen said.

GBI officials also are investigating the case.

Man is wanted in apartment burglaries

Richmond County sheriff's investigators are looking for a man who they said is wanted in a Monday night burglary and might be connected to other burglaries at apartments in west Augusta, officials said Tuesday.

Donald Marcell Sherman is wanted on a felony burglary charge related to an intrusion at West Eagle Green apartments Monday at 9 p.m., said sheriff's Lt. C.A. Tony Walden.

He said officials think Mr. Sherman might also be responsible for other burglaries - notably at a few ATC Development Corp.-owned properties - during the past few months.

The method of burglary is the same in many of the incidents - entering through a rear, unsecured window at night, Lt. Walden said.

Grand jury adds escape try to Burke's charges

A Richmond County grand jury handed down an indictment Tuesday against a man facing a death penalty trial in the killing of a pregnant Augusta nurse earlier this year.

Ronald Francis Burke, 25, was indicted on an additional charge of attempting to escape from the jail Dec. 3. He is charged with murder in the death of Tamara Cundey Dunstan, 29, who was slain along with her unborn child in April 2004 during a burglary at her mother's west Augusta home.

Also indicted in the escape attempt is Brandon Lee Stanley, 19, who is in the Richmond County jail on charges of robbery, obstruction of an officer and escape.

Grand jury indicts woman in felony theft

A Richmond County grand jury handed down an indictment on a charge of felony theft by taking Tuesday against a woman who is accused of taking more than $300,000 from her employer, Bob Richards Chevrolet.

Teresa Lynn Jennings was indicted on a charge of felony theft by taking. The indictment alleges that between Feb. 1, 1997, and Oct. 1 this year, Ms. Jennings took $322,927 from Bob Richards Chevrolet.

Officers investigate jewelry store robbery

Richmond County sheriff's investigators are continuing to look into the robbery of of a west Augusta jewelry store in the 200 block of Robert C. Daniel Parkway.

According to a police report, a female employee of Friedman's Jewelers, in the 200 block of Robert C. Daniel Parkway, said that at 4:45 p.m. Monday, three men came inside the business and took more than $12,000 in jewelry.

A witness gave police the license plate number of the silver 2002 Dodge Intrepid in which the robbers left. It had the number WL7693 and was registered to a man in Fulton County, the report states.

Post announces cell phone order penalities

Fort Gordon authorities have announced penalties for violating an order against cell phone use while driving on post.

The order, which takes effect Jan. 1, was issued in November by Maj. Gen. Janet Hicks, the post commander. It forbids use of a cell phone, even while using "hands-free" devices, while driving on post.

Civilians could be fined up to $50. They may appear before the federal Magistrate Court to challenge the citation, according to a news release.

Military personnel violating the order must appear before a military traffic court and may have points assessed against their driving privileges.

The order exempts valid emergency use of cell phones, use for law enforcement purposes, medical treatment or fire response.

SRS owner donates to promote chemical hub

Westinghouse Savannah River Co., which runs Savannah River Site, has donated $35,000 to the South Carolina Department of Commerce to create economic development in the Aiken-Augusta area, the company announced Tuesday. The money will be used to promote the area as a hub for chemical and hydrogen technology.

Man dies when truck crashes into tree

A 64-year-old Washington man was killed Tuesday afternoon when his Nissan truck went off the road and hit a tree in Wilkes County, the Georgia Highway Patrol said.

Johnny Perlotte was driving near his home on Rocker Road at about 5 p.m. when he hit the tree and died of his injuries, county Coroner William J. Hopkins said. Mr. Perlotte was driving alone and no other vehicles were involved, a highway patrol spokesman said.

Employee says teens stole $400 pistol

An employee at Crackshot Pawn at 2975 Gordon Highway told police that three teenagers stole a .45-caliber pistol worth $400 from the store Tuesday, a Richmond County sheriff's report states.

One of the teens was able to open a locked display case wide enough to take the gun, while the two other teens distracted the employee, the report said.

Man is charged with shoplifting robot

A 20-year-old Allendale man was charged with trying to steal a $100 remote-control toy robot from Spencer Gifts at Augusta Mall on Tuesday, a Richmond County sheriff's report states.

Ricky Jaquan Brant, of the 100 block of Crescent Drive, was stopped in the mall parking lot with the Robosapien robot and arrested, the report said. He is charged with shoplifting.

Shoes were stolen, Augusta man reports

An Augusta man said someone broke into his house Monday and stole $626 worth of shoes, a Richmond County sheriff's report states.

Michael Maurice Buford, 35, of the 3800 block of Mike Padgett Highway, told police someone pried open a back door, broke a bolt lock on his bedroom door and took six pairs of shoes and nothing else, the report says.

Police seek suspect in clerk's stabbing

An Augusta convenience store clerk was stabbed in the torso during a robbery Tuesday night, police said.

Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Blaise Dresser said a man walked into the J.C. Foods store at 1635 Gordon Highway at 7:12 p.m. and demanded money from the clerk, whose name had not been released Tuesday night.

There might have been a struggle that led to the clerk being stabbed, Investigator Dresser said.

The clerk was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital and later released, Investigator Tom Johnson said. Police were still looking for the suspect Tuesday night.

Train grazes car; man suffers minor injuries

Burke County authorities said Nicholas Herrington, 18, of Waynesboro, was taken to a hospital after his car was grazed by a train in Waynesboro, Ga., on Tuesday.

Chief Karl E. Allen said he suffered minor injuries.

Burke County Emergency Management Agency Chief Kerry Mallard said the accident happened at about 9:45 a.m. at railroad tracks near Grubbs Street and Martin Luther King Drive.