Originally created 11/10/05

Across the area



Wreck injuries remain critical

A Thomson, Ga., woman taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital after suffering burns in a series of wrecks Tuesday on Interstate 20 remained in critical condition Wednesday afternoon, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Joyce Sheppard, 68, suffered burns to her head in one of three wrecks.

The driver of a log truck reportedly did not see traffic stopping for an initial one-vehicle accident involving a Chevrolet Blazer. The log truck slammed into the back of Ms. Sheppard's Chevrolet S-10 pickup, starting a fire.

Alicia Harris, 42, a passenger in the Chevrolet Blazer, was in good condition Wednesday, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

72-year-old and her cat are safe after fire

Firefighters were successful in putting out a blaze in a south Augusta subdivision Wednesday morning.

At about 11:50 a.m., firefighters arrived at a house in the 3300 block of Hastings Drive at Weldon Drive in the Georgetown subdivision. The fire was under control by 12:29 p.m., said Battalion Chief Tommy Willis of the Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department.

The house was occupied by a 72-year-old woman and her cat, he said.

Both occupants were removed safely from the home, and neither required medical treatment, Chief Willis said.

The fire started inside the carport area of the house and was caused by a faulty gas line on a hot water heater, he said.

Man says four dogs attacked him in woods

A 28-year-old Aiken man reported that he was attacked by four dogs late Tuesday night.

The man told the Aiken Department of Public Safety that he was attacked by four dogs in the woods near Osbon and Aldrich streets and was bitten on his left hand, according to a police report.

The dogs were a mix of Rottweilers and pit bulls, the police report states.

Man says he was robbed, hit with pipe

An Aiken man reported that he was robbed early Wednesday morning and hit on the head with a metal pipe, according to the Aiken Department of Public Safety.

Police were called to the Aiken Regional Medical Centers emergency room, where the man said he was attacked in the area of Laurens Street and Rutland Drive, according to a police report.

The man's wallet and cell phone were taken, the report states.

Fire department gets $128,525 in grants

The Central Community Volunteer Fire Department in Aiken has been awarded a $128,525 grant, it was announced Wednesday.

The grants come through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Civil-rights lawsuit dismissal is appealed

Attorneys for former Department of Juvenile Justice Behavioral Health Director Frank Berry are appealing a federal judge's dismissal of his civil rights lawsuit against his former bosses.

The lawsuit claims Juvenile Justice Commissioner Albert Murray and Deputy Commissioner Thomas Coleman violated his right to free speech by forcing him to resign because he refused to destroy a memo that indicated that a Florida-based corrections firm wasn't ready to take over the Augusta Youth Development Campus.

At the time, The Augusta Chronicle was trying to obtain the memo through an open records request.

U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper's order dismissing the case said the court was "disturbed by the allegations," but Mr. Berry's refusal didn't involve the First Amendment, rather his desire not to break the law by destroying a public document.

Man charged in theft of grandfather's gun

Richmond County sheriff's deputies have arrested a man who is accused of stealing his grandfather's shotgun, a police report states.

Sheriff's deputies charged Timothy Lavar Morton, 26, of the 500 block of Dupont Street, with theft by taking a firearm.

Man fondled himself in library, woman reports

North Augusta authorities arrested a man after a woman said he fondled himself at a public library, a police report states.

Derrick Oliver Tate, 40, of the 800 block of Groves Boulevard in North Augusta, was charged with public intoxication, a North Augusta Department of Public Safety report states.

A woman told police that after 7 p.m. Tuesday, at the Nancy Carson Library on Edgefield Road, she was helping one of her students at a computer when she noticed Mr. Tate staring at her without breaking eye contact.

She said he came over and sat at the computer next to her. She said she noticed Mr. Tate had his hand in his lap, groping himself.

Investigators seek help in downtown vandalism

Richmond County sheriff's investigators are searching for a victim in a case where a man was caught on videotape pulling rear windshield wipers off of vehicles in downtown Augusta, officials said Wednesday.

Investigator Robin Ashmore said deputies received a videotape from a witness, who at 12:21 a.m. Nov. 4 filmed a man in a parking lot near 11th and Ellis streets pulling the wipers off of at least two vehicles.

The owner of a Mitsubishi Montero the man damaged has been contacted, but authorities haven't heard from the owner of a station wagon or hatchback-type car that was also damaged, Investigator Ashmore said.

Wanted for criminal trespass in the case is Gary Len Payne, 30, Investigator Ashmore said.

Anyone who has information about the case, is a victim of the crime or has information about Mr. Payne's whereabouts is asked to call the investigator at 821-1025 or 821-1020.

Barton Field run ends today with gun salute

A two-week memorial run of Marines around Fort Gordon's Barton Field ends today with a 21-gun salute to fallen Marines and sailors, officials said.

Marines from the Augusta area have been running around Barton Field's track in tribute to Marines and sailors who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since Oct. 28.

The final Marine will run around the field at 6:30 a.m., with the 21-gun salute to follow.