Originally created 02/04/05

Across the area



Men killed in crash identified

AIKEN - Authorities this morning identified three men who were killed Wednesday night in a two-car collision.

The deceased are Harold A. Haun, 21, of the 8000 block of South Carolina Highway 39, Williston; Roberto Mercado, of the 1300 block of Williams Evans Road, Salley; and Antwon Darby, of the 100 block of Gold Drive, Orangeburg, Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton said.

Mr. Haun was traveling west on South Carolina Highway 302, near Kitchings Mill, when he went off the right side of the road, over-corrected and veered into the eastbound lane, Mr Carlton said.

His 1998 red Chevrolet Cavalier struck the late-model Ford Escort that Mr. Mercado was driving, Mr. Carlton said.

Mr. Haun was thrown from his vehicle. Mr. Mercado and Mr. Darby, who was a passenger in the Escort, were trapped in the Escort after it rolled over. All three men died at the scene, Mr. Carlton said.

The accident remains under investigation by the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

Supremes singer to speak at convocation

Singer Mary Wilson of the Supremes will deliver Paine College's 123rd Founders' Day Convocation Address on Feb. 11.

Ms. Wilson sang with the famed group from 1961 to 1977 and wrote about her experiences in her best-selling autobiography Dreamgirl: My life as a Supreme and a sequel, Supreme Faith. The singer has been touring and lecturing across the country, focusing on reaching goals and triumphing over adversity.

Founder's Day ceremonies at Paine College will begin at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 11 in the Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel. The public is invited to attend.

Convicted felon gets jail on weapon charge

A federal judge sentenced a man Thursday who pleaded guilty to having a weapon as a convicted felon.

Jeffrey Mitchell Granade was sentenced to 30 months in a federal prison by U.S. District Judge Dudley Bowen.

Federal prosecutors accused Mr. Granade of having a .22-caliber rifle, a .30-06 rifle and many rounds of ammunition.

Federal and state law forbids the possession of firearms by convicted felons. Court records show that he has been convicted of at least three felonies during the 1990s.

Judge Bowen also ordered Mr. Granade to serve three years on supervised release after his jail time and to perform 150 hours of community service unless he is gainfully employed.

GBI investigates death of man found in car

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is heading an investigation after a man was found dead in his car Thursday just east of Thomson.

Gary Nicholson, the special agent in charge of the GBI's Thomson office, said authorities think the man died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

He would not release the man's identity until his family had been notified, he said.

A friend found the man at about 4 p.m. in a hotel parking lot on Highway 150 near Interstate 20, Agent Nicholson said.

Agent Nicholson would not reveal the type of weapon found in the man's vehicle or expand on the man's injury.

Man with bat escapes after robbing store

A man wielding a baseball bat robbed the Family Dollar store in the 2600 block of Deans Bridge Road on Thursday and escaped on foot with money.

Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Tom Johnson said the man approached the store's assistant manager as he was closing at about 8 p.m.

The man forced his way into the store and threatened to beat the assistant manager with the bat unless he opened the cash register drawer and gave him the money, Investigator Johnson said.

The store employee complied and the man ran toward Kissingbower Road, he said.

The man is between 18 and 20 years old, Investigator Johnson said. He is about 5 feet 9 inches tall and was wearing black pants and a black or dark blue coat with burgundy lining, he said.

No one was injured in the robbery, Investigator Johnson said.

Summary judgment considered in case

A federal court judge considered a motion Thursday by attorneys for the Medical College of Georgia in a lawsuit by a former professor to seek summary judgment in favor of the defendant.

Dr. Tomasz Marzec filed a lawsuit in November 2003 against the college, MCG police officers and Dr. Stephen Pieper.

Dr. Marzec claims Dr. Pieper retaliated against him for filing a complaint with MCG's equal employment office in January 2003. On Feb. 7 that year, he was arrested by MCG police and charged with obstruction.

He was acquitted of criminal charges last year. His attorney, Atlanta-based Derek Wright, alleges that MCG police officers violated Dr. Marzek's constitutional rights by assaulting him and chaining him to a wall with a mask over his face.

Judge Bowen did not make an immediate ruling on the motion Thursday.

Caterer says couple refuse to pay bill

Richmond County sheriff's deputies investigated a report by a local caterer that a couple refused to pay part of their catering bill for a wedding in November.

The owner of Roux's Catering, William R. Williams, told deputies that two people secured his catering services for a wedding in November and paid a $200 deposit.

He said that the couple would not pay the rest of the bill but that the groom came back to the business in November and authorized a $500 payment.

The bride filed a police report with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office against the caterer for credit card fraud, the Richmond County report states.

Mr. Williams said he had the $500 charged back to her card.

The woman, who has not been charged, told the owner she and her now ex-husband "are not responsible for paying the caterer because they got a divorce three months after they got married," the report states.

The couple still owe $1,844, according to the report, and the owner said he will prosecute.