Originally created 02/22/06

Across the area



Workers are still listed as serious

Two independent contractors who suffered electrical burns during an accident at Standard Textile on Monday remained in serious condition at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital on Tuesday, according to spokeswoman Beth Frits.

Lawrence Fougere of Augusta and Hoke Thomas of McDonough, Ga., were burned by an electrical arc, which was described as a "splash of electricity" by Edward Frankel, senior vice president and chief administrative officer for Standard Textile.

Standard Textile makes blankets for hospitals, government agencies and other industries, he said.

Mr. Fougere is employed with High Voltage Specialists Inc. of Martinez, and Mr. Thomas is employed by Thomas Brothers Hydro Inc. of Covington, Ga.

Mr. Fougere was asked to hold a flashlight for Mr. Thomas, who was testing relays and trouble-shooting generators in an electrical room, said Frank Knox, chief financial officer for High Voltage.

The cause of the accident remained under investigation.

The plant was scheduled to reopen for third shift Tuesday.

Woman tells deputies of robbery at gunpoint

An Augusta woman told Richmond County sheriff's deputies that she was robbed at gunpoint Monday night.

The victim, 32, told deputies she was in a parking lot in the 2200 block of Walden Drive at about 10:50 p.m. when two men approached her from behind, a sheriff's office incident report states.

One of the men pointed a silver handgun, and the woman gave the men her purse containing $135 in cash, the report says.

Woman charged with misuse of credit card

Richmond County sheriff's deputies charged a woman with using a credit card to purchase more than $100 worth of cigarettes on the same day the card was reported stolen.

Investigator Michael McDaniel said Charity Candice Boyd was charged with one count of financial transaction card fraud.

He said Ms. Boyd is accused of using a Visa credit card, which was stolen from a vehicle at Lake Olmstead, to purchase $119 worth of cigarettes from the Pump 'N Shop in the 1700 block of Walton Way.

Teen is sent to prison for child molestation

A Martinez teen was sentenced to prison Tuesday after being convicted of aggravated child molestation last fall.

Superior Court Judge Sheryl Jolly sentenced John Michael Morris, 16, of Martinez, to 10 years in prison without the possibility of parole followed by 15 years of probation at a sentencing hearing in Columbia County on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr. Morris was convicted by a jury in September of aggravated child molestation, which carries a mandatory 10- to 30-year sentence without the possibility of parole. The jury acquitted him of one count of child molestation, according to court records.

Police say between Jan 1 and Feb. 26, Mr. Morris, then 15, persuaded a 13-year-old boy to engage in a sex act, according to the indictment.

Mr. Morris, who has been held at the Regional Youth Detention Center since February 2005, cannot be moved to an adult prison until he is at least 17, Assistant District Attorney David Parks White said.

Rail work will cause several road closings

Several temporary road closings will occur in Columbia County starting this morning and lasting through Thursday night as part of work on a CSX railroad.

The closing will occur at the railroad crossings at the Harlem streets of North Bell and West Boundary, the county roads of Old Augusta Highway and Sawdust Road, and the private road of Verdery Mill, according to a county news release.

All through traffic trying to cross north or south over the CSX line in the western end of Columbia County will be required to use Old Louisville Road or State Route 47/U.S. 221 (Louisville Street) in Harlem, the release states.

The maintenance work is to continue west through February along the rail line in Columbia County.

County will prioritize stormwater projects

Columbia County commissioners unanimously gave the go-ahead Tuesday night for a needs assessment study that will help prioritize stormwater projects.

The assessment is to be conducted by the firm Jordan, Jones and Goulding at a cost of $66,000, according to county documents. Billy Clayton, the county's waterworks director, said he expects that a report from the study could be completed and presented to county commissioners within six months.

"It's the first step toward a (stormwater) master plan,'' he said after the meeting.

Gunshot damages car at Augusta dealership

An Augusta car dealership employee told Richmond County sheriff's deputies that someone damaged a 2006 Mercedes ML 500 on Monday.

According to a sheriff's office incident report, Edward Lucky, an employee of Rader Mercedes in the 3000 block of Washington Road, told deputies he noticed a large hole in the driver's side window and glass inside and next to the vehicle.

The steering wheel also sustained damage, the report said.

A deputy noticed what appeared to be a spent bullet lying in the front seat and a copper jacketing from a bullet lying on the ground near the vehicle, the report said.

Mr. Lucky estimated the damage at $1,500, the report said.

Plea bargain reduces charges in rape case

A 37-year-old Augusta man accused of severely beating a woman in a rape attempt pleaded guilty to reduced charges Tuesday.

Tommy Lee Porter Jr. pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to false imprisonment.

Charges of aggravated assault with intent to rape and theft were dismissed in exchange for his guilty plea.

Mr. Porter has been in jail awaiting trial nearly a year.

Mr. Porter also maintained his innocence of the more serious charges in the case, said Kate Edwards of the public defender's office.

Judge Neal Dickert sentenced Mr. Porter to two years in prison.

- From staff reports