Open House for Revolutionary War Exhibit March 1st

The Laurens County Museum has announced an Open House celebration to welcome the Simpsonville Revolutionary War Museum and their volunteers to the Laurens County Museum at 205 West Laurens Street, Downtown Laurens.

The open house is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, March 1st from 2:00 until 5:00 o’clock.

The Simpsonville Revolutionary War Museum has moved all its displays, artifacts and library to Laurens.  The new displays highlight the importance our area played in our nation’s fight for freedom.

The Open House celebration is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

More information is available with a call to (864)681-4907, with an online visit to laurenscountymuseum.org or a visit to the Museum’s Facebook page.

Jarvis Reeder Announces for Sheriff

A former Chief Deputy of Laurens County yesterday formally announced his intention to run for Sheriff. Jarvis K. Reeder announces as a Laurens County native who now lives in Laurens. The 1994 Laurens District 55 High School alumni graduated from Lander in 1998 with a BS in Sociology with Emphasis in Criminal Justice. Reeder said an internship with SLED “fueled the passion and love that I now have today for Law Enforcement.”

Jarvis Reeder said he’s dedicated his life to law enforcement for the past 21 years, serving with the Greenwood County Sheriff’s office for 17 years. He was a Command Shift Captain there when in January, 2017 he left to “return home” as Chief Deputy with the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office, where he served for 18 months.

Reeder said he’s now employed by the Abbeville County Sheriff’s Office as an investigator, but currently assigned to the Federal Government’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a Federal Drug Enforcement Task Force Officer, working out of the Greenville Resident Office.

Reeder’s career includes awards and recommendations such as Officer of the Year for Greenwood County and Task Force Officer of the Year for DEA. He reportedly received a life-saving award from the American Red Cross in 2001.

Jarvis Reeder said, “As a candidate for Sheriff of Laurens County, it is my desire to run a “clean” and positive campaign with the hopes of letting the citizens know who I am and what I stand for.”

Reeder said he will work with local police and other first responders, sharing information to make Laurens County a safer place. He also vows to “strategically fight the war on drugs in our county!” He said he plans to increase the number of narcotics investigators in the Sheriff’s Office.

Jarvis Reeder said he has a vision for law enforcement in Laurens County. “I want the citizens of Laurens County to know that first and foremost I have a servant’s heart! I also want each of you to know that as your Sheriff, I will be accessible you. As your next Sheriff, I simply want to make a difference in the community that my wife and I have chosen to raise our daughter in, restoring honesty, faith and integrity to this profession.”

Social Media Noted in harassment Charge

Unwanted contact and social media posting this month was cited with an arrest Sunday. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office booked 54-year-old Alfreda Williams Coleman of the 300 block on Clinton’s East Florida Street. She is charged with Harassment 2nd Degree. A warrant states she engaged in a pattern of unreasonable intrusion into the private life of the victim by causing emotional and mental distress. She was reportedly warned by text message February 3rd to have no contact with the victim. On the 11th of February she allegedly went to the victim’s house with the intent to cause a disturbance and took pictures of the victim’s vehicle. She allegedly sent several messages to the victim Saturday, the 15th, and reportedly posted a harassing post on social media, slandering the victim. Ms. Coleman was released from the Johnson Detention Center on a $2,000 personal recognizance bond.

Malicious Damage to Fence, Post

A Sandy Springs resident was arrested yesterday on allegations of damage to a cattle gate. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office charged 54-year-old Howard Ray Johnson of Highway 308 Laurens and charged him with Malicious Damage to Personal Property. He is accused of ramming a cattle gate, causing it to become bent and of ripping a wooden post out of the ground on February 3rd at a location on Highway 308 in the Clinton area. Howard Johnson remained in the Johnson Detention Center overnight, awaiting a bond hearing.

Drug Distribution Charge

A late Friday night arrest this past weekend led to a drug distribution charge. A Laurens County Sheriff’s Deputy arrested 46-year-old Eric Christian Chart of the 400 block on West Georgia Road, Woodruff, issuing a ticket charging him with Driving under Suspension on Interstate 385 in the Gray Court area just after 11:30 Friday night. Mr. Chart was later served with a warrant charging him with Possession of Marijuana with Inttent to Distribute. It alleges he had possession of individually wrapped packages of a green leafy substance which weighed roughly 42 grams Friday night. Eric Christian Chart was released from the Johnson Detention Center Sunday on posting cash or surety bonds totaling $6,270.

Failure to Face 1st Degree Burglary Charge

Failure to appear in court to face a charge of 1st Degree Burglary was alleged with a Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrest yesterday. 37-year-old Timothy Paul Davenport of the 400 block on Fairview Street, Fountain Inn was served with a Bench Warrant which states he failed to appear in Laurens County General Sessions Court in October, 2018 as required. Mr. Davenport is to be held in Laurens County’s Johnson Detention Center, awaiting his next date in court.

Obtaining Funds Under False Pretense

Obtaining Signature or Property under False Pretense was charged with a Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrest yesterday. 32-year-old Heather Renee Sims of the 100 block on McDowell Street, Laurens is accused of fraudulently obtaining goods and currency in the amount of $50 from the victim on the 4th of February. Heather Renee Sims remained in the Johnson Detention Center with a cash or surety bond set at $2,125.

New Charges Added 

A man arrested Sunday has been served with two rounds of Bench Warrants as well as new charges from Laurens Police from last weekend. He is 31-year-old Patrick Deshawn Webb of 491 Chapman Road, Fountain Inn.

Laurens Police Sgt. Jones issued tickets charging Mr. Webb with Driving under Suspension of his license and Resisting Arrest just before 10 o’clock last Saturday night on Fleming Street. Bonds were set on these two new charges totaling $1,992.

Patrick Webb was served Bench Warrants issued last August 20th stating he failed to appear in court to face charges of Driving under the Influence and Driving without a License. These carried sentences of thirty days in jail or payment of fines of $1224.50 and $232.50. The sentences are to be served consecutively.

The Sheriff’s Office also served Patrick Deshawn Webb with a Bench Warrant on a Failure to Stop for Blue Lights charge. It states he failed to make an initial appearance in court last August 13th. He remains in jail, in part, awaiting a new date in court for the cases he failed to appear for.

3 Charged with Child & Animal Neglect

Three people have been charged with both Child and Animal Neglect, following an investigation last Thursday. A Sheriff’s statement indicates that at about 4 PM February 13th Laurens County Animal Control requested assistance from the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office in reference to a horse being found in poor condition at 401 Pickens Street, Joanna. Upon arrival, the horse was discovered to be malnourished and had issues with its hooves and legs. One goat was also found to be in poor health. In addition to those two animals, Animal Control removed six cats, four dogs, two ducks, one chicken, one guinea pig, and one rabbit from the residence. Lori Lockey, James Adams, and Jaron Adams, all of that address, were arrested without incident and charged with three counts each of Animal Neglect, as well as two counts each of Unlawful Neglect of Children, with warrants citing the residence was found in disarray.

Sheriff Don Reynolds said, “Unfortunately, this is not Ms. Lockey’s first incident with alleged animal neglect. At the time of this incident, she was out on bond from another animal case and shouldn’t have been in the possession of any animals. Enough is enough. Hopefully we can work as a team with the Solicitor’s Office to keep her in jail this time. I appreciate the hard work that Laurens County Animal Control puts into making sure the animals of this county are properly taken care of.”

Jail records note that James Aubrey Adams is 57 and Jaron Aubrey Adams is 30.

Warrants state that two minor children were being kept inside the home with several of the animals. The interior of the house allegedly had feces in the floor and living space where the minors were present. Warrants further note piles of trash and metal tools with cutting edges lying around where a child could make contact. They are also accused of having poorly lit areas where a child could stumble and fall on some of the tools and metals lying around.

Man Dies in Laurens County Wreck Friday Night

A man was killed in a single-car wreck in Western Laurens County Friday night. South Carolina Highway Patrol Master Trooper Brandon Bolt said the fatal wreck occurred at 8:15 Friday evening about five miles east of Ware Shoals. He said a 2006 Accura sedan was headed west on SC 252 near Lamplight Drive when it ran off the right side of the road, then swerved back across the roadway, off the left side and struck a tree. The driver and only occupant died at the scene.

Laurens County Deputy Coroner Rodney Hartsell identified the deceased as 33-year-old Donald Lee Ruff of Greenwood. Hartsell said that Mr. Ruff died from Multiple Blunt Force Trauma.

Brandishing a Handgun

Entering someone’s residence while brandishing a handgun was alleged of a Cross Hill man arrested yesterday. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office Sunday arrested 25-year-old Deandre Martavious Bowers of S Cook Street, Cross Hill. He is charged with Aggravated Breach of Peace from an alleged incident on Tuesday of last week on Mobile Home Park Circle, Cross Hill. The warrant states he entered a residence there Tuesday brandishing a handgun, then yelling and making threats. Deandre Matavious Bowers remained in the Johnson Detention Center overnight, awaiting a bond hearing today.

Drugs & Scales Cited in Arrest

Drugs and scales to weigh them were allegedly found Friday, leading to multiple charges. Clinton Police Officer Howard arrested 24-year-old Tyquevius Breshaud Parks of Washington Street, Clinton and charged him with Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute, Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Mr. Parks is accused of having in excess of 28 grams of marijuana in his possession Friday, along with 3 black digital scales and bags with residue, commonly associated with distribution. He is further accused of having several blunt wrappers in his possession and a quantity of cannabis wax. While a $250 personal recognizance bond was set on the Paraphernalia charge, Tyquevius Parks was released on posting $20,000 cash or surety bonds on the other two charges.

Wake Up, You’re Under Arrest!

A man from Coastal South Carolina was arrested this weekend in connection with a burglary in the Clinton area Friday night. Laurens County Sheriff’s Deputy Oggenfuss arrested 37-year-old Adam Rodney Antes of Rose Hill Drive, Pawleys Island and charged him with Burglary 1st Degree. Mr. Antes is accused of breaking into and entering a dwelling on Four Oaks Circle, Clinton without consent, during the night. He was reportedly found asleep in the residence by the victims. He had allegedly consumed food and beverages belonging to the resident and is also accused of trying to take items from the residence Friday. Adam Rodney Antes of Pawleys Island remained in Laurens County’s Johnson Detention Center this morning with a cash or surety bond set at $30,000.

Repeat Drug Arrest Cited

A repeat drug offense was alleged with a Sheriff’s Office arrest Friday. 32-year-old Derique Keshad Suber of 491 Chapman Road, Fountain Inn was charged with 2nd Offense, Possession with the intent to Distribute Marijuana  and Unlawful Carrying of a Pistol. He is accused having in excess of 28 grams of marijuana packaged in two separate containers and having multiple empty packaging materials along with working digital scales in his possession Friday. He is further alleged to have stored a handgun under the driver’s seat of his vehicle, rather than in a lockable compartment, as required by law. Derique Suber remained in the Johnson Detention Center earlier this morning with cash or surety bonds totaling $12,000.

Criminal Conspiracy Regarding Armed Robbery

Criminal Conspiracy in Laurens County was alleged this weekend with an arrest by Fountain Inn Police. 26-year-old Dara Joyce Garrett of Page Road, Pelzer was charged with Criminal Conspiracy, Accessory After the Fact to Felony and Accessory Before the Fact to a Felony. She is accused, along with two other people, of conspiring to commit the crime of Armed Robbery. She and the others are reported to have been witness to this and rendered assistance to a felon, knowing he had committed the felony of Armed Robbery. She is accused of helping him to avoid consequences of a February 9th robbery on Gulliver Street, Fountain Inn. Dara Joyce Garrett remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning with cash or surety bonds set totaling $45,000.

Domestic Assault, Escape

A man is facing multiple charges following an alleged domestic assault and attempt to escape arrest Saturday. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrested 28-year-old John Michael Gault of Hazel Drive, Clinton and charged him with 2nd Degree Domestic Violence along with 3rd Degree Assault and Battery and Escape.

Mr. Gault is accused of inflicting physical harm to the victim by grabbing her by the hair during an argument in the presence of minor children. He’s further accused of assaulting her by jumping over a couch and grabbing her by her clothing as she was attempting to leave the residence.

John Gault is also accused of attempted to escape from lawful custody by running away from the arresting officer after being placed under arrested and handcuffed Saturday, at his residence.

Cash or surety bonds were set on the three charges totaling $12,087.50. John Michael Gault remained in the Johnson Detention Center earlier today.

Overnight Arrest with Six Charges

The South Carolina Highway Patrol had six charges for a man following an arrest late last night. 30-year-old Joshua Thomas Roberts of Lynn Avenue, Laurens was booked in the Johnson Detention Center early this morning following his arrest on Lynn Avenue. Trooper Webb issued tickets charging Mr. Roberts with Driving under the Influence and with 3rd Offense Driving under Suspension just after 11:00 last night on Lynn Avenue. Other tickets issued also charged Roberts with Uninsured Motor Vehicle Fee 1st Offense, Open Container, Operating Vehicle Without Registration and License, and Failure to Maintain Proof of Insurance. This morning, Joshua Roberts was awaiting a bond hearing on the six charges.

42nd Annual Chamber Awards Banquet

The Laurens County Chamber of Commerce celebrated successes of 2019 and looked forward to 2020 last night during its 42nd Annual Awards Dinner, held at Presbyterian College. President and CEO Amanda Munyan highlighted some of the accomplishments for the past year, including 55 scholarships awarded for Workforce Development. She noted that since 1980, 440 people have graduated from the Leadership Laurens County program. Since 2013, 4,200 3rd grade students have completed the Team Ecology program teaching better treatment of our environment. She also noted ongoing promotion of thinking local.

Adult volunteer involvement in the annual Team Ecology program was just one of the programs benefitting Laurens County that was cited with this year’s John P. Faris Volunteer of the Year award. Each year the chamber recognizes an individual for outstanding dedication, participation and leadership. This year, the award was presented to Debbie Vaughn. Other areas of her involvement noted last night include extensive participation in the Laurens County Master Gardeners program. Some of the ways Debbie has assisted in successes of the Laurens County Museum Association in recent years were also cited. Debbie Vaughn was thanked for the “True Passion” she demonstrates for the community.

In other awards presented last night, Courtney Motes of Diverse Solution was given the Duke Energy Award for Public Service, citing her organizations work in teaching special needs individuals of Laurens County.

The Cecil O. Davenport Citizenship Award is presented annually to outstanding tenth grade students for their ability and innovation as youthful leaders. The 2019 award was presented to Catherine McKenzie Little of Laurens District 55 High School, daughter of Craig and Cathy Little. Runners-Up for this year/s citizenship award were Matthias (Ma Tee’ Us) Sebastian Bettger of Laurens High and Grace Adair Wiggins of Clinton High.

The Robert M. Vance Small Business of the Year award went to Forest Adair of Adair Apothecary. The Ambassador of the Year award was presented to Lee Anne Kitchen of Roper Staffing.

The Laurens Electric Cooperative Community Initiative Grant was presented last night to the Laurens County Trails Association. Director Bud Marchant accepted the award, which includes a $2,000 grant for trail development.

School District 56 Superintendent David O’Shields and incoming District 55 Superintendent Ameka Thomas joined the chamber last night in recognizing Teachers of the Year. These are Elizabeth Crowder of District 56 and Savannah Campbell of District 55. The Chamber also recognized the 2019 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, Investigator Farrah Cook of the Sheriff’s Office.

Incendiary Device

Use of an incendiary device in an assault on a vehicle last summer was alleged with a Laurens Police arrest yesterday. 25-year-old Ethan Graham Bridges of Bentwood Drive, Inman was charged with Arson/Attempt to Burn along with Manufacture of a Destructive Device and Malicious Damage to Personal Property.

Bridges is accused of manufacturing and possessing a crude incendiary devise comprised of a glass bottle, flammable liquid and paper wick. A warrant states he used this last summer trying to set fire to another person’s motor vehicle. He reportedly lit the device and threw it at a 2003 GMC Envoy. He also allegedly threw a large piece of concrete at the same vehicle, causing a dent on the left rear lift gate and scratches on the rear bumper. This reportedly occurred on Garlington Street in Laurens on July 5th of 2019.

Ethan Graham Bridges remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning, awaiting a bond hearing.

Higher Pay for Some CDL Drivers

Higher pay for some drivers with the Laurens County Public Works Department was approved this week by County Council. Public Works Director Dale Satterfield said the department has reached a critical point with the lack of drivers who hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).  Satterfield said ads for new drivers have not succeeded, noting it appears Laurens County remains three or four dollars below hourly wages paid for CDL drivers.

He recommended raising salaries for the five CDL positions in solid waste, for three positions in Roads and Bridges and for one post for heavy equipment operator. Annual salaries in the $29,000 to $32,000 range were raised to the $33,000 to $35,000 range. A vote from County Council Tuesday night unanimously approved the salary increases.