Across the area

Man gets life for rape of 15-year-old girl

Calling his crimes the worst possible, a judge sentenced an Augusta man to serve life in prison Wednesday for rape.

A Richmond County Superior Court jury also convicted Donnie Wynn of child molestation and sexual assault, crimes for which Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet sentenced Mr. Wynn to an additional 50 years in prison.

Mr. Wynn, 40, was accused of raping a 15-year-old girl on May 6, 2006. The girl's account was supported by DNA evidence.

Police seek man in theft of blank checks

Authorities are searching for a man who stole several blank checks while working at Gordon Chevrolet on Gordon Highway as a temporary worker on April 18.

Michael Lewis, 33, of the 2000 block of Cook Road, is wanted on two counts of negotiating checks knowing the information to be false, according to Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Shane McDaniel. He is accused of taking the checks while working at the lot as a temp through Jerome Personnel Business Temps on 10th Street and forging them at two food stores, Investigator McDaniel said.

Anyone with information on Mr. Lewis can call the sheriff's office at (706) 821-1080.

Purse thief flees, runs over woman's arm

The Aiken County Sheriff's Office is looking for a man who grabbed a woman's purse from her car and ran over her arm as he sped away in North Augusta.

Surveillance video from Greg's Gas Plus on Jefferson Davis Highway shows that about 7:45 p.m. Monday a black Honda CR-V drove through the convenience store parking lot, Lt. Michael Frank said in a news release Wednesday.

Mizelle Bennett, 64, of the 2500 block of Atkins Lane in Hephzibah, had just bought a bag of ice from an ice machine across the street, Lt. Frank said. As she returned to her car, she saw the man snatch her purse from the car. She grabbed the man and tried to retrieve her purse, but he threw the sport utility vehicle into reverse and rolled over her arm as she fell.

The woman was treated at University Hospital on Monday and released, a hospital spokeswoman said. Anyone with information is asked to call Investigator Charles Cain at (800) 922-9709 or Crimestoppers of the Midlands at (888) 559-TIPS.

Donation brings Fisher House closer to Augusta

With another contribution Wednesday, the Augusta Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers is a step closer to getting a Fisher House next year.

The CSRA Alliance gave the Augusta VA $100,000 on Wednesday, which brings the contributions so far up to $500,000, said Michael Shaffer, the assistant to the director/government relations at the VA.

The goal is for the community to raise $1.8 million of the $5.4 million cost so that construction can begin in 2009, he said.

Fisher House Foundation provides "comfort homes" for military families away from their homes who have a loved one hospitalized at a military or VA center, according to the foundation.

There is a Fisher House at Fort Gordon, but the VA needs one because it is has long-term rehab programs.

Traffic brief

The Interstate 20 eastbound off-ramp to southbound Bobby Jones Expressway will be closed today from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. as part of an ongoing interchange reconstruction project, according to a Georgia Department of Transportation news release. A detour will be in place for motorists by using Wheeler Road, the release said.

The Georgia Department of Transportation will scale back construction projects across the state, suspending lane closures on all interstates and highways through Monday to ease Memorial Day weekend traffic. The effort begins at 5 a.m. Friday and continues until 10 p.m. Monday. Affected areas include the I-20/I-520 interchange construction and I-20 widening projects.

-- From staff reports