Originally created 02/05/06

Across South Carolina



Pilot reported trouble before fatal crash

COLUMBIA - The pilot of a plane that crashed in North Myrtle Beach on Friday night, killing six people, reported trouble with his left engine, investigators say.

The twin-engine plane crashed at Grand Strand Airport in North Myrtle Beach. It had taken off from Trenton, N.J., National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Paul Schlamm said Saturday.

The plane made one approach and was coming back to try to land again when it crashed short of the runway around 8:45 p.m. Friday, Mr. Schlamm said.

Nursing assistant is charged in death

ANDERSON - Police have charged an Anderson nursing assistant with murder after a woman died when air was forced into her arteries.

Police say Mark Gregory Ballard, 43, had a relationship with 57-year-old Myrtis J. McAlister, of Belton, after she was a patient at AnMed Health Medical Center. She died Jan. 27.

Hospital spokeswoman Amanda Brasier says Mr. Ballard was a nursing assistant there for about five years. Family members told police Ms. McAlister was hospitalized last year and met Mr. Ballard about four months before she died. It is not clear whether he was involved in treating her.

Ronda Evans said her mother had a feeding tube that sometimes caused her stomach to swell, sending her to the hospital.

The Belton Police Department was called Jan. 27 after a doctor found excessive air in Ms. McAlister's brain. The police report says she had a permanent "central line" inside her neck that was part of a treatment for previous problems. The report said air had been forced through the tube.

Temporary Statehouse to be razed for school

COLUMBIA - The hotel that was home to legislators, the Legislature and lobbyists' free-spending ways in its 33-year history will tumble to the ground today in a series of blasts from 500 pounds of dynamite.

The Carolina Plaza, across the street from the Statehouse, is coming down to make room for the University of South Carolina's Innovista research campus.

The 14-story hotel opened in 1973 as the state's tallest hotel at a cost $6 million.

Gov.-elect James B. Edwards, the state's first Republican governor in 98 years, had his election night party at the hotel a year after the opening.

During its heyday, it was the place for thirsty, party-minded legislators who always found lobbyists willing to pick up their tabs.

In 1992, USC bought the hotel and the block it sits on out of bankruptcy for $4 million, and the Legislature used it for three years beginning in 1995 as the Statehouse was going through renovations.