Originally created 05/27/05

Across the area



Inmate died of natural causes

An inmate at the Aiken County detention center who was found dead in his cell May 17 died from natural causes, an official said Thursday.

An autopsy found that William F. Ayers, 65, of the 5000 block of Reynolds Street in Blackville, died from irregular heartbeat because his heart was enlarged, Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton said.

Mr. Ayers had been incarcerated in Aiken since April 29. He had already completed a longer jail term in state prison for a sex crime and was awaiting a release hearing to determine whether he should be on the state's sexual predator list.

Former bondsman to face felony charges

A Columbia County grand jury indicted a former bail bondsman in McDuffie and Columbia counties on several felony charges including criminal attempt to commit aggravated battery and attempt to commit rape, according to court records released Thursday.

The jury charged Daniel Lee Savage Sr., of the 6200 block of Keg Creek Drive in Appling, with two counts of criminal attempt to commit aggravated battery, criminal attempt to commit rape, three counts of criminal solicitation and two counts of threatening of a witness in an official proceeding, the indictment stated.

Mr. Savage was arrested May 13 by Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents. He is accused of attempting to pay someone to maliciously harm Richard Ingram, an Augusta-area lawyer, and Billy L. Morris, who also lives on Keg Creek Drive.

The criminal attempt to commit rape charge stems from what authorities said was Mr. Savage's attempt to pay the same man to rape Mr. Morris' wife, Ethel.

Mr. Savage is being held in the Columbia County Detention Center without bond, according to jail personnel.

Portion of interstate closed after truck fire

The westbound lanes of Interstate 20 were blocked near Aiken on Thursday night after an 18-wheel truck caught on fire.

No one was injured, and no hazardous materials were on board the truck, according to the Aiken County Sheriff's Office.

The blaze started when one of the tires caught fire, and it spread to the front part of the cab, a dispatcher said.

The incident occurred at 8:17 p.m. No other vehicles were involved.

One lane had reopened about two hours later while the fire was still smoldering, said South Carolina Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Josef Robinson, and a tow truck was on the scene.

The cause of the fire had not been determined.

Armed man robs Augusta barber shop

Police investigated an armed robbery at a south Augusta barber shop Thursday night.

Richmond County investigators were called to Lanaynay's Barbershop, 2919 Peach Orchard Road, after employees reported that a masked man entered the business with a handgun and ordered customers and employees to lie on the floor as he demanded cash.

The incident occurred at about 6:30 p.m., police said.

Three employees who were robbed said the robber wore sunglasses and a green bandana over his face.

Late Thursday, police were interviewing a man who witnesses said matched the description of the robber, Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Thomas Johnson said.

Accident leaves girl in critical condition

A Columbia County girl is in critical condition after suffering injuries in a Burke County accident Tuesday night.

Bailey Arnett, a rising fourth-grader at Blue Ridge Elementary School in Evans, remained hospitalized Thursday night, said Medical College of Georgia Hospital spokeswoman Deborah Humphrey.

Six people were injured in the three-car accident that occurred about three miles east of Waynesboro.

Three of the injured were children.

Some were taken to the Burke County Medical Center and others to Medical College of Georgia Hospital, according to the Georgia State Patrol's Sylvania Post.

Funding approved for Fort Gordon center

A military construction appropriations bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, funding $61.5 million for new facilities for the Gordon Regional Security Operations Center at Fort Gordon, according to U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood.

The bill, which passed 425-1, also includes increased funding for veterans programs, increasing from $79.3 billion to $85.2 billion, a news release states.

The new facilities were approved for $61.5 million in the bill.

Woman says man broke into her home

An elderly woman told Richmond County sheriff's deputies that she was the victim of an early-morning home invasion Thursday, a police report states.

The 78-year-old woman said that after midnight while at her home in the 500 block of Richmond Hill Road West, she heard a noise and came into the hallway in her wheelchair.

She said a man kicked in the door, and demanded her money.

She said she was choked with a towel and fell out of her wheelchair, scraping her right elbow. The man took her purse and ransacked a bedroom, the report states.

Man reports being stabbed at party

An Augusta man told Richmond County sheriff's deputies that he was stabbed during a party at a VFW hall, a police report states.

The 18-year-old said Wednesday that he was at a graduation party for Cross Creek High School at the VFW in the 3200 block of Richmond Hill Road when a large fight started.

During the confusion, he was stabbed, but did not think it was a serious injury at first, the report states.

The report states officers observed a large cut to the 18-year-old's abdomen.