Student Killed in Crash

A Lander University student died last night in a one-vehicle wreck in Western Laurens County, when his car crashed as he approached the bridge over the Saluda River. Laurens County Chief Deputy Coroner Vickie Cheek said the wreck killed 19-year-old James Logan Lusk of 225 Daniel Boone Trail, Pickens. Cheek said that Lusk died of Blunt Force Trauma to his head and chest. He was pronounced dead as of 10:01 last night, at the time of the crash. He was a student living on campus at Lander University.

South Carolina Highway Patrol Lance Corporal Gary Miller said the victim was driving a 1999 Ford Mustang Couple southbound on US 25 when he ran off the right side of the roadway, struck a guard rail, then struck a monument that dedicates that bridge over the Saluda River.

Alert! That’s Not Your Sheriff’s Office Calling You!

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday issued an alert for us to watch out for people posing as law enforcement officers. A release states the Sheriff’s Office continues to receive notifications of phone calls by people impersonating law enforcement officers. The Sheriff’s Office states that they, and any reputable law enforcement agency, will never call to solicit funds, pre-paid cards or to use bully techniques to get money. The Sheriff’s Office warns that if you receive such a call, it is a scam.

The Sheriff’s Office statement indicates that these calls often appear to be coming from a local number, but are really coming from distant places, using modern technology to appear to originate locally. Officers advise you to be aware of these phone scams and do not allow yourself to become a victim of these social engineering tricks. These scams can be disguised as coming from federal agencies such as the IRS, state agencies such as the Department of Revenue, or local agencies such as the Sheriff’s Office. If you are contacted by a source in question, it is better to assume it is a scam than to become a victim.

Gunfire & Unlawful Gun Possession

Unlawful Possession of Firearms charges were served yesterday on two men arrested the day before, following alleged gunfire on Laurens’ Spring Street. Laurens Police Sgt. Jody Thibodeau issued tickets charging both men with Discharging a Firearm in the City Limits at 5:46 Wednesday afternoon on Spring Street.

30-year-old Anthony George Curry Jr. of Apartment 23 at 218 Spring Street, Laurens is also charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Violent Offender. Sgt. Thibodeau states that Curry was in possession of a .22 caliber Mossberg rifle Wednesday behind 218 Spring Street. The warrant also states that Curry has two prior convictions for Burglary 1st Degree.

Anthony George Curry Jr. was released from the Laurens County Detention Center yesterday on cash or surety bonds of $15,000.

23-year-old William Bowden Jackson of 201Reedy Fork Road, Laurens has been charged with Unlawful Carrying of a Pistol. In a warrant alleging that offense Wednesday, Sgt. Thibodeau states that Jackson was carrying a handgun about his person. The officer further states that Jackson had a Ruger 9 mm handgun with two loaded magazines in his hand upon contact with officers, behind 218 Spring Street.

William Bowden Jackson was released yesterday on cash or surety bonds totaling $6,000.

Eleven Sentenced Yesterday in Laurens

Two persons plead to Burglary and Auto Break-In cases yesterday during Laurens County General Sessions Court.

33-year-old Randenn Christopher Matsuda, 19165 North Hwy 221 Laurens, pled guilty to Burglary 3rd degree, 1st offense, and was sentenced to 4 years, with credit for 109 days already spent in jail.

24-year-old Joshua Shane Skaggs of 113 Fifth Avenue, Clinton, pled guilty to Breaking into Motor Vehicle or Tanks and was sentenced to 5 years. That was suspended to 84 days, time served, plus 3 years on probation, 50 hours of public service employment and random drug and alcohol testing. A charge of Pointing and Presenting a Firearm at a Person was dismissed.

 

Pleas on two Financial Transaction Card Fraud cases were heard yesterday by Judge Don Hocker.

25-year-old Richard James Painter of 790 Shiloh Estates Road, Gray Court, pled guilty to Financial Transaction Card Fraud, valued $500 or less in a six-month period and he was sentenced under the Youthful Offender Act to a term not to exceed three years in jail. He was given credit for 86 days in jail. Six more charges of Credit Card Fraud were dismissed under Nolle Prosequi.

54-year-old Deborah Sumeral Simmons of Apartment 5D at 209 Exchange Drive, Laurens also pled to Financial Transaction Card Fraud, value $500 or less, and was sentenced to One year, provided that with the 6 days already served, the balance is suspended to a term of 6 months on probation. Other charges against Ms. Simmons that were dismissed were 2 counts of Credit Card Fraud, one charge of Credit Card Theft and 1 cunt of Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute.

 

Two people were sentenced yesterday after entering guilty pleas on drug charges before Judge Don Hocker in Hillcrest Square.

36-year-old Cedric Terry Bailey of 95 Joy Drive, Laurens pled to Manufacturing and Possession of Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute. He was sentenced to 5 years, but with the 2 days already served the balance is suspended to a 2-year term on Probation and to 30 hours of public service employment.

35-year-old Joshua Neil Putman of 34 Sirrine Street, Laurens pled guilty to possession of less than one gram of meth. or cocaine base, 1st offense, and was sentenced to 18 months, with credit given for 77 days already behind bars. Another charge against Putman. dismissed by Nolle Prosequi, was Possession of Controlled Substance in Scheudle II.

 

Two people received sentences yesterday following pleas entered for Shoplifting. 62-year-old Carol Ann Cunningham of Unit 10 at 255 East Main, Laurens was sentenced to 51 days, time served, and to pay court costs within 90 days. 51-year-old Nathan Thompson Jr. of 409 Magnolia Drive, Greenwood, was sentenced to 10 days, time served, and also given 90 days to pay court costs.

 

One person was sentenced yesterday after entering a plea to 3rd Degree Domestic Violence. 45-year-old David Michael Samples of 97 Elledge Road, Ware Shoals was sentenced to 90 days. After 21 days, already served,  the balance is suspended to a year on probation. Probation is to be terminated upon completion of anger management counseling, if he is fully compliant. He is also to pay court costs and assessments.

 

Two men yesterday were sentenced after entering guilty pleas for traffic offenses.

53-year-old Harvey Kendall Fowler of 1094 Graden Road, Ware Shoals pled to Reckless Driving. He was sentenced to 30 days, time served. Other charges, dismissed yesterday under Nolle Prosequi, were Driving under Suspension, and Driving under the Influenve.

26-year-old Brandon Allen Smith of 46 Latimer Ridge Road, Honea Path pled to Use of a Vehicle Without Permission for Temporary Purpose. Judge Hocker sentenced him to 90 days, with credit for 68 days already spent in jail. Charges of 1st Degree Burglary, 2nd Degree Burglary and Grand Larceny were dismissed.

Possession with Intent to Distribute Meth, Xanax

A man and woman were charged yesterday with Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute, following their early morning arrest by Laurens City Police. Officer Napier initiated a traffic stop on Hillcrest Drive shortly before 4:00 Thursday morning, with the suspect vehicle crossing Church Street and stopped at a bank. The driver, 40-year-old Chad Allen Stites of 452 Branch Street, Woodruff, was initially issued a ticket accusing him of Driving under Suspension of his license at 3:56 AM. Both Stites and a passenger of the vehicle were held for additional charges, after drugs were allegedly located during the traffic stop.

Stites and 42-year-old Mary Patricia Watson of 6508 Cross Anchor Highway, Enoree, were charged yesterday with Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine. Warrants, citing an investigation by Officer Napier, allege that Mr. Stites and Ms. Watson had in their possession 1.39 grams of Crystal Methamphetamine and two orange-tipped syringes which contained 10 units of meth per syringe.

Ms. Watson was also accused of having unlawful possession of Xanax. In a warrant charging her with Possession of a Schedule IV Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute, she is accused of having in her direct possession, on her person, one plastic bottle labeled as Ibuprofen which contained six white pills identified as Xanax.

Both remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning. Cash or surety bonds were set yesterday totaling $5,647 for Chad Allen Stites and $7,000 for Mary Patricia Watson.

5 Locals Make PC President’s List

Five Laurens County residents made the President’s List at Presbyterian College for the Fall semester. They are:

  • Ms. Abigail Lane Crisp, a senior psychology major from Laurens
  • Ms. Victoria Rebecca Fleck, a senior early childhood education major from Laurens
  • Mr. Jonas David Ha, a sophomore business administration major from Gray Court
  • Mr. Kenneth Joseph Kern III, a senior biology major from Gray Court
  • Ms. Sela Claire Vaughan, a senior business administration major from Clinton

The President’s List at PC is composed of students who earned a 4.0 grade point average for a semester.

“Tee Off on Addiction”

Golf teams are being solicited for the 4th Annual ‘Open Door’ Golf Tournament, coming this spring. The folks at ‘Open Door Ministries’ are inviting golfers to “tee off on Addiction, putt out Hunger & drive out Homelessness” thru their participation in the event.

Rev. Charles Brewington said teams may register for $240, while individuals may enter the tournament for $60. Cart, hole and event sponsorships are also available. Brewington said the tournament is limited to 25 teams, and will be held April 28th at Lakeside Country Club.

Registration deadline is April 25th. More information is available from Jimmy Webb at 833-4949, Wesley Harrell at 981-6087 and Charles Brewington at 923-1642.

Breach of Peace, Flight from Police

Laurens Police made an arrest in a disturbance on Church Street Wednesday night. 31-year-old Quinten Nicholas Green of 204 Price Street, Laurens was charged with Breach of Peace and Flight Upon Sight in tickets issued by Officer Napier, alleging the violations at 8:48 Wednesday night at 900 Church Street. Mr. Green was released yesterday on posting cash or surety bonds totaling $1,500.

Social Media Threats of Shooting at LDHS

A Laurens teen was arrested yesterday for allegedly threatening a shooting at Laurens District 55 High School on a social media post. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrested 17-year-old Mikal Aaron Culbertson of 106 Jasmine Place, Laurens and charged him with Disturbing Schools. Investigator Michael Polson states in the arrest warrant that Mikal Aaron Culbertson yesterday willfully and unnecessarily disturbed the students and/or teachers of Laurens District 55 High School by posting a snap chat message indicating that there would be a school shooting. Polson stated this caused unnecessary fear and terror to students and staff. Culbertson was being held overnight in the Laurens County lockup.

9 Sentenced Yesterday at Hillcrest Square

Nine people entered guilty pleas yesterday during a second day of this week’s term of Laurens County General Sessions Court, presided over by Judge Don Hocker.

 

37-year-old Sarah Kinsey Campbell of18 Simmons Street, Laurens pled to Forgery of under $10,000 value and was sentenced to three years provided. After the nine days already served, and upon payment of costs and assessments, the balance of the sentence was suspended to two years on probation. The probationary release will be terminated, however, if restitution is not paid by nine months. Eleven other counts of Forgery were dismissed thru Nolle Prosqui.

 

33-year-old Gary Lee Jacks of 433 Summit Street Clinton pled guilty to 2nd Degree Burglary and was sentenced to 4 years, with credit for 217 days served in jail. Jacks also pled to Grand Larceny of between $2,000 and $10,000 value and was given another four-year sentence. Since both sentences are to be served concurrently. Charges against Gary Lee Jacks that were dismissed yesterday included Malicious Injury, Safe-Cracking, Criminal Conspiracy and 2nd Degree Domestic Violence.

 

26-year-old David Drake Eitzman of 39 Peachtree Street, Clinton, pled guilty to Enhanced Shoplifting and was sentenced to 8 years, with credit for 49 days already spent in jail. However, upon service of 20 months, the balance is suspended to two years on probation. Two other Enhanced Shoplifting charges were dismissed.

 

60-year-old Melody Lynn Neely from Laurens Villa on Exchange Drive pled to Possession of a Controlled Substance in Schedule I to V, 1st Offense. She was sentenced to 14 days, time already served, and to pay court costs within 90 days.

 

24-year-old Christopher Bryan Alford of 216 Maddox Bridge Road, Ware Shoals, pled guilty to Hit and Run following involvement in an auto accident with property damage. Judge Hocker sentenced him to one year. That was suspended to eight days, already served, plus court costs and assessments. Alford was also sentenced to one year on Probation and 30 hours of Public Service Employment.

An Enhanced Shoplifting case for Christopher Alford was dismissed.

 

54-year-old Worley Lee Brown Jr. of 17708 Sc Highway 121, Newberry, yesterday pled guilty to reckless driving. He was sentenced to 28 days, time served, and to pay court costs within 90 days. A 2nd Offense DUI charge was dismissed thru Nolle Prosequi.

 

A guilty plea to Unlawful Carrying of a Pistol was entered yesterday by 36-year-old Tevin O’Neil Brown of 188 Gray Drive, Gray Court. He was sentenced to one year, but that was suspended to 27 days, time served, and one year on Probation. Judge Hocker also ordered Brown to have random drug & alcohol testing and was prohibited from possession of firearms. Other charges against Tevin Brown that were dismissed yesterday included Possession of a Firearm by a Person Convicted of a Felony and 1st Degree Domestic Violence.

 

54-year-old Larry David Davenport of 138-B Main Street, Whitmire, pled guilty to Possession of Less than one gram of Meth or Cocaine Base and was sentenced to 40 days. He was given credit for ten days in jail. Davenport is to also pay court costs within 90 days. Additional charges of Criminal Conspiracy, Common Conspiracy and Grand Larceny were dismissed.

 

49-year-old Alisia K. Thomas, 49, of 227 Reason Street, Woodruff pled to Petit Larceny. She was sentenced to one day, time already served, and was given 90 days to pay court costs.

3 AM Assault Arrest & Drug Charges from Fall

Drug Distribution charges from last fall were added yesterday to a man arrested early yesterday morning from an alleged assault incident.

Laurens City Police arrested 36-year-old Dumarcus Antonio Franklin of 129 Lurey Street overnight. Officer Blackstock issued tickets charging him with 3rd Degree Assault and Malicious Damage at a Cemetery Street address at 3:00 yesterday morning.

The Sheriff’s Office yesterday served warrants charging Franklin with Distribution of Crack Cocaine and Distribution Near a School. Investigator Matthew Veal states that on October 30th, 2017 Dumarcus Antonio Franklin distributed crack cocaine and has a prior conviction for the same offense. This allegedly occurred within a half-mile of Sanders School.

Dumarcus Antonio Franklin was being held overnight with cash or surety bonds set at $15,500 from Laurens City charges and $30,000 on the two county charges.

Assaults Alleged to Avoid Trespass Notice

Clinton Public Safety served three charges on a local resident yesterday from an altercation with officers Tuesday. 19-year-old Davian Shquon Holman of 213 Cleveland Street, Clinton was charged with Interference with Police and two counts of Assault and Battery 3rd Degree.

He’s accused of resisting and interfering with police in performing their duty Tuesday by refusing to identify himself in order to be placed on writing trespass notice, and by continuously walking away from officers and resisting being placed in investigative detention. He is accused of striking the hand of the arresting officer who was attempting to prevent him from leaving the location. He is also accused of grabbing the arm of another officer who was assisting the arresting officer in placing him in investigative detention.

Holman was also served with a Violation of Probation warrant yesterday. It states that he failed to follow the advice of his Probation Agent, as evidenced by a police report on the incident Tuesday with Clinton Public Safety Officers.

Davian Shquon Holman was held another night, awaiting a bond hearing.

Probation Violations from 2015

Probation violations three years ago were alleged with yesterday’s arrest of a Gray Court man. 33-year-old Eric Allen Taylor of 1451 Bluff Road, Gray Court was charged with Violation of Probation. A warrant states he failed to report since January of 2015, and changed his residence to an unknown location, thereby absconding supervision. He’s also accused of Unlawful Possession of Controlled Substances, such as Methamphetamine, as evidenced by two Laurens County Sheriff’s Office cases from April of 2015. Taylor was also charged with failure to follow advice and instructions of his agent, including failure to pay required fees. Eric Allen Taylor was released on a $15,000 personal recognizance bond.

Moving Without Notice Alleged in Jailing

South Carolina Pardon, Probation and Parole yesterday arrested a Laurens man for allegedly failing to follow the advice and instructions of his agent. 50-year-old Gerald Howard Bluford of 128 West Cliff Drive, Laurens was charged with Violation of Probation. He is accused of failing to follow the advice and instructions of his agent. Bluford is alleged to have moved without notice or consent to an undisclosed location and/or giving untruthful reports to his agent regarding his residence, thereby making his whereabouts unknown. He also is accused of testing positive for alcohol on February 18th. Judge Glenda Tucker set a surety bond at $75,000. Gerald Howard Bluford remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Laurens City Council Updated on Economics

Laurens City Council watched videos at their February meeting last night. The two videos were a part of an update from Jonathan Coleman of the Laurens County Development Corporation along with giving an overview of last year’s economy in Laurens County.

One of the LCDC’s new videos presents Laurens County’s advantages for people looking for a place to locate a new industrial plant. The other video was produced to show Laurens County youth the opportunities for well-paying jobs in manufacturing here Laurens County. Coleman told council that this video is now shown on-screen before movies at the Capitol Theatre in Laurens. He said, “We’re trying to get this video out there as much as possible.”

City Council member Sara Lattimore responded by saying, “I wish these opportunities were around when I graduated high school.”

Information on the local economic situation in 2017 came during a Power-Point presentation for City Council. It showed that new project announcements last year created 122 new jobs, down from 195 the year before. Wages were up in 2017, at $15.70 an hour, compared to $15.07 the year before. Coleman said 2018 wages are at $16.00 an hour.

Coleman said 2017 unemployment in Laurens County was at 4.3%, down from 5.3% in 2016. Capital investments announced last year totaled $128,660,000. He said revenues to the county from Fees-In-Lue-of-Taxes are hovering at just over a million dollars.

8 Sentenced After Entering Guilty Pleas

Eight people received sentences yesterday in Laurens County General Sessions Court, conducted by Judge Don Hocker. Sentences ranged from Drug Distribution to Burglary and to Assault and Battery.

 

36-year-old Bryan Lee Roeker of 227 Lake Rd., Clinton, pled guilty to Distribution of Methamphetamine, and was sentenced to 15 years with credit for 212 days in jail. Other charges were dismissed under Nolle Prosequi. These were 2nd Offense Driving under Suspension,  2nd Offense Failure to Stop for a Blue Light along with a 3rd Degree Burglary charge and a charge of Distributing a Controlled Substance near a School.

 

23-year-old Fabian Diaz of 10 Smythe Street, Laurens pled guilty to 2nd Degree Assault and Battery and was sentenced under the youthful offender act to a jail term not to exceed 3 years. This was suspended to 30 days of time served, with 1-year probation and restitution of $200.00, and random drug/alcohol testing.

 

43-year-old Tyrone Dawkins of 107 Ballpark Drive, Cross Hill  pled guilty to 2nd Degree Assault & Battery and was sentenced to 3 years, but sentence was suspended to 5 days time served, 18 months’ probation, random drug/alcohol testing and restitution forthcoming. Dawkins also pled to 3rd Degree Domestic Violence and was sentenced to 5 days, time already served, plus payment of court costs within 90 days. Other charges of Threatening the Life or Family of a Public Employee were dismissed.

 

36-year-old Eric Gerod Wicker of 1622 Bodie Street, Newberry, pled to 2nd Degree Domestic Violence and was sentenced to 3 years, backdated to November 3rd, 2017. That’s to be served concurrent with an active sentence in State Department of Corrections.

 

36-year-old Wendy Lynn Elizondo of 690 Lanford Road or 205 Sloan Road, Woodruff, pled guilty to possession of less than one gram of meth. or cocaine base, first offense, and was sentenced to 3 years. That was suspended to 51 days’ time served, 18 months’ probation and to stipulations of obtaining her GED, receiving Substance Abuse Counseling and random drug/alcohol testing. Other charges dismissed under Nolle Prosequi included 2nd Offense, Possession of Other Controlled Substance and 2nd Offense, Possession of Less than One Gram of meth or cocaine base.

 

Robert Wayne Mcnair, 54, of 1006 Highside St., Greenwood, pled guilty to Use of vehicle without permission for temp. purpose only, unconnected to other crime, and was sentenced to 8 days’ time served, pay court costs within 90 days.

 

25-year-old Justin Michael Brown, of 920 Hurricane Church Rd., Clinton, pled guilty to Financial Transaction Card Fraud of under $500 value and was sentenced under the youthful offender act to five years, provided upon service of 22 days already served, the balance is suspended to two years’ probation. Charges dismissed for Brown included Credit Card Theft and Receiving Stolen Goods.

 

48-year-old Henry Thomas Bowman of 712 Sullivan Street, Laurens, pled guilty to Simple Larceny and was sentenced to 16 days, time served, and was given 90 days to pay court costs. Charges of Grand Larceny charge and Unlawful Carrying of a Pistol were dismissed thru Nolle Prosequi.

Failure to Show for Four Drug Charges

Failure to show in Laurens County Court for four drug cases last fall was alleged with four bench warrants served yesterday on 58-yer-old James Michael Johnson of 835 South Main Apartments, Greenwood. The warrants ordered his arrest, citing he failed to appear for an initial appearance on October 13th, 2017. Johnson is accused of two counts of Unlawful Narcotics Possession, one charge of Possession with Intent to Distribute and one charge of Possession with Intent within Proximity of a School. James Michael Johnson is to be held, pending appearance in court, until he be discharged by due course of law.

Traffic Fatalities Down in Laurens County & SC

With 7 traffic fatalities across the state last weekend, South Carolina’s Department of Public Safety yesterday announced we now have had 96 people killed in traffic this year, as of midnight Sunday. That’s down from 137 last year on February 18th. Laurens County has had 5 fatalities this year, down from 9 the same date in 2017. While our 5 fatalities is an improvement, there had been no fatalities for the year on the same date Abbeville, Greenwood, Newberry, Saluda and Union Counties.

Of our more populous neighbors, Anderson has had 4 fatalities, Greenville has had 7 and Spartanburg had 10 traffic fatalities as of the 18th.

Burglary & 4 Traffic Charges

Laurens Police and the Sheriff’s Office yesterday both had charges for a Western Laurens County man from this weekend. 54-year-old Randall Craig “Chuck” Fowler of 1094 Graden Road, Ware Shoals was jailed Monday.

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday served a warrant that cites an investigation by Captain Wilkie in a charge of Burglary east of Laurens Saturday. The 2nd Degree Burglary warrant alleges that Mr. Fowler entered a dwelling on East Jerry Road Saturday without consent and with intent to commit a crime therein.

Laurens Police served citations alleging traffic violations Saturday. The tickets issued by Officer Napier charge “Chuck” Fowler with traffic violations on Pridmore Street at 5:54 Saturday afternoon. He’s charged with 2nd offense Driving under Suspension, Careless Driving, Driving an Uninsured Vehicle and with having No Tag.

Cash or surety bonds on the four traffic charges were set totaling $2,192. A $20,000 bond was set on the county’s 2nd Degree Burglary warrant. Randall Craig “Chuck” Fowler was released yesterday afternoon after posting bond.

Joanna-Area Burglary February 4th

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office served Burglary and Petit Larceny charges yesterday from an incident early this month. 48-year-old Donna Gail Knott of 113 Whitmire Highway, Joanna is accused on of a break-in and theft from another Whitmire Highway residence. Deputy David Staton states that Ms. Knott entered a Whitmire Highway residence on February 4th, 2018 without consent and with intent to commit a crime therein. She allegedly took away various items valued at $2,000 or less belonging to the resident of that home. Donna Gail Knott remained in custody this morning with cash or surety bonds set totaling $12,000 on the two charges.