Across the area

Man dies in crash after car crosses median, hits rail

An Augusta man died Monday afternoon in a single-car wreck on Bobby Jones Expressway near Laney-Walker Boulevard.

George Hoffman, 63, of Boykin Road, was heading west on the expressway after entering the highway from Laney-Walker Boulevard when his car struck a guard-rail, crossed over a grassy median and struck another guard-rail before sliding down an embankment, said Richmond County Chief Deputy Coroner Mark Bowen.

The wreck happened at 4:54 p.m. Mr. Bowen said he pronounced Mr. Hoffman dead at 5:22 p.m. at University Hospital.

A witness said Mr. Hoffman appeared to be hunched over and reaching for something on the floorboard just before losing control of his 2000 Toyota Camry.

Mr. Bowen said a cause of death was not apparent Monday night and an autopsy is scheduled today at the GBI Crime Lab on Phinizy Road.

Mr. Bowen said Mr. Hoffman had just completed his shift at DSM Chemicals on Columbia Nitrogen Road.

State high court overturns man's murder conviction

ATLANTA --- The Georgia Supreme Court unanimously decided Monday to overturn the murder conviction of a Burke County man because of the way the judge instructed the jury.

Lawyers for Jeffrey Daniel "Sug" Lewis had argued that he deserved a new trial because of the way Superior Court Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet laid out the choices for the jury of malice murder, felony murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. The seven Supreme Court Justices agreed.

The justices also concluded that the jury had ample reason to find Lewis guilty in the May 2004, shooting death of Richard Golden while the pair argued about their year-earlier knife fight.

Wounded West Lake intruder is still sought by authorities

Columbia County authorities say they are still looking for a man they think was wounded last Monday when he was caught breaking into a vehicle in the West Lake neighborhood.

A Medical College of Georgia police officer said he thought he shot a gun from the man's hand. Blood was found at the scene.

The West Lake Property Owners Association is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest of the intruder, described as a black man, 5 feet 4 inches to 5 feet 7 inches tall, and about 160 pounds. Anyone with information can call the sheriff's office at (706) 541-2800.

Ex-Laney athlete gets 10 years in jail for robbery

A former Lucy C. Laney High School football star who joined in an armed robbery plot was sentenced to 12 years in prison Monday.

Marquise D. Taylor, 19, pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to two counts armed robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault and two weapon violations for the April 11, 2006, robbery of the Wendy's on Walton Way, near the sheriff's department.

Mr. Taylor drove two other young men to the fast food restaurant, where they held employees at gunpoint and stole $800.

Once released from prison, where he must remain for at least 10 years without parole, Mr. Taylor must serve an additional 15 years on probation.

Teachers can apply for Richmond County

Richmond County will hold a job fair for anyone interested in transferring to the school system and anyone interested in becoming a teacher.

The job fair will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School.

Glenn Hills offering special family night

Glenn Hills Middle School will hold an extended family night Thursday from 5:30 to 8 p.m. to present information on state standardized tests.

The event, open to families of Glenn Hills Middle, Glenn Hills High and Morgan Road Middle schools, will include door prizes, interactive activities and a free dinner.

An athletic booth will have information on requirements for high school and middle school teams. Other booths will offer information about clubs and organizations.

Voter drive scheduled at Hains Elementary

A voter-registration drive will be held at A. Dorothy Hains Elementary School from 1:45 to 5 p.m. March 4 and 5.

The Richmond County Board of Education's 21st Century Community Learning Center is sponsoring the voter drive.

For more information, call Cheryl Price (706) 796-3819 or Nolan Goss, (706) 796-3766.

School board plans to hold blood drive

The Richmond County school board will hold a blood drive for Shepeard Community Blood Center at its central offices, 864 Broad St., from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Davidson to be host of student drama festival

John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School will play host to the 2008 Junior Thespian Festival next month.

The event takes place March 7-9. Davidson students, under the direction of Junior Thespian Troupe Director Heather Davidson, will perform Bridge to Terabithia on March 8.

Burn aims to reduce risk of forest fires

Another scheduled burn-off of vegetation and underbrush on Fort Gordon property produced a smoky haze Monday over parts of Columbia, Jefferson, McDuffie and Richmond counties.

According to a press release, the Fort Gordon forestry unit was burning about 399 acres in an attempt to reduce the chance of dangerous forest fires.

Mortgage fraud earns man 6 months in jail

An Evans man must serve six months in federal prison for mortgage fraud, a judge ruled Monday.

Daniel Goodwin, 42, must pay $25,710 in restitution, spend four months in home detention once he is released and serve three years on probation, U.S. District Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. said.

Mr. Goodwin and Marilyn Swan conspired in a scheme to defraud mortgage companies by falsely claiming expenses for maintenance and repairs. Ms. Swan pleaded guilty to knowing about the crime and not reporting it.

She was sentenced in December to three years' probation. She must pay $84,630 in restitution.

Fourth burn patient released from hospital

A patient who underwent treatment for burns suffered in the Imperial Sugar Co. explosion was discharged Monday from the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital.

Center Spokeswoman Beth Frits confirmed that Gene Bryan was the fourth patient to be released from the hospital.

Twelve patients from the Feb. 7 disaster at the plant near Savannah remain in critical condition at the hospital, according to Ms. Frits. Two remain in serious condition.

Drug use in dementia patients is questioned

Road closure

Officials will close Greenville Road in Graniteville for more than a month beginning Monday as part of bridge replacement project. The road will remain closed until May 16, according to a South Carolina Department of Transportation news release.

-- From staff reports