Originally created 06/20/06

Across the area



Man is sought over stolen, forged check

Authorities are seeking an Augusta man who is wanted in connection with a stolen and forged check.

Darrell Latrell Wilkerson, 26, is accused of stealing a check from a neighbor and endorsing it to himself before cashing it for $350, said Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Michelle Walden.

The check was stolen May 24 and cashed at a local Wachovia bank branch, Investigator Walden said. Police are reviewing a surveillance videotape of the incident, she said.

Mr. Wilkerson's last known address is in the 1900 block of Steiner Avenue.

Man sues over wreck deaths

The widower of a Martinez woman killed in a June 4 car wreck filed a lawsuit Monday against two women who authorities say were fleeing the scene of a shoplifting when the wreck occurred.

John J. Branton's wife, Patricia Branton, 63, died in the wreck with her son, Lonnie D. Turner, 37, when police say a Ford Explorer driven by Tiara Maria Smith, 20, of Augusta, sped through a red light on Washington Road headed east and struck the car driven by Mr. Turner.

Mr. Branton's suit against Ms. Smith and her passenger, Nebula Smith, also known as Denise Yvonne McNeely, 42, of Augusta, claims that because the two women were fleeing a shoplifting, they caused the wrongful death of Mrs. Branton and Mr. Turner.

Mr. Branton's attorney, Richard Ingram Jr., said Monday that Ms. Smith had no vehicle insurance. Ms. Smith faces two charges of vehicular homicide, feticide, shoplifting and 10 traffic charges.

Mr. Turner's wife, Mary Turner - who was 19 weeks pregnant, but lost her child as result of the wreck - was in serious condition at the Medical College of Georgia Hospital on Monday, said Cathy Gilbert, a hospital spokeswoman.

Woman with a knife holds up restaurant

A woman clad in a black mesh mask and wielding a knife robbed an Augusta restaurant Monday morning.

According to a Richmond County sheriff's report, a woman in a blue sleeveless shirt and white flip-flops entered the Subway in the 2800 block of Washington Road and demanded the money in the register.

After grabbing a cash drawer from the register, the woman ran from the restaurant and fled in a white car with tinted windows.

Man robbed while walking to his car

Walking to his car Sunday night, an Augusta man was robbed at gunpoint by three men.

Michael Saunders, 41, was confronted by a man with a handgun in the 2200 block of Southgate Drive, a Richmond County sheriff's report said.

According to the report, the armed man stole Mr. Saunders' wallet and ran into a nearby wooded area with two other men.

Fire in stolen car spreads to church

A stolen car caught on fire and the blaze spread to an Augusta church early Monday.

According to a Richmond County sheriff's report, a white Ford Expedition ignited in the vicinity of Jordan Grove Baptist Church and caused damage to the Railroad Street building.

In the report, fire investigator G.B. Hannan said it appeared to be arson.

The cost of damage to the church was not determined Monday.

Duffel bag is taken from homeless man

A homeless man's duffel bag was stolen while he was sleeping in a parking lot Sunday night.

In a Richmond County sheriff's report, Kwangil Tae said a cell phone and clothing were stolen from him while he slept in the parking lot of the Greene Street Salvation Army.

Mr. Tae's identification and Social Security cards were taken as well, the report said.

Utilities Department gets award for water

Augusta's Utilities Department was honored recently as recipient of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies' annual Peak Performance Award for outstanding operation of a wastewater treatment program.

The award, which recognizes facilities that achieve 100 percent compliance with their environmental permit standards, was awarded to the Messerly Wastewater Plant on Doug Barnard Parkway, which treats a daily average of more than 30 million gallons of sewage.

Deputies find woman missing since April

Aiken County sheriff's authorities have located a woman whose family said they hadn't seen her since April.

Kelly M. Jones, 32, of the 100 block of Square Circle Road in Graniteville, was found at an apartment complex in Clearwater, according to the sheriff's office.

Men's trial in robbery delayed until hearing

The trial of two men accused of robbing a Harlem store at knifepoint was continued Monday morning.

Tifiloe Maurice Council, of Aiken, and Timothy Wayne Osborne, of Langley, were charged with robbing Pumpkin Center Store at 1313 Appling-Harlem Highway about 2 a.m. July 7.

Assistant District Attorney Jeff Davis said the case was continued because a recent mental evaluation deemed Mr. Council incompetent to stand trial.

In the next 90 days, court proceedings will be explained to Mr. Council and he will then have another hearing to determine whether he can stand trial, Mr. Davis said.

- From staff reports