Meth & Marijuana with Intent to Distribute

Two charges of Possessing Meth with Intent to Distribute and multiple traffic offenses early this year were alleged of a man the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrested Friday. 39-year-old Richard Lloyd Long of 283 Locust street, Clinton is charged with Failure to Stop for Blue Lights and Siren and other traffic charges of Driving under Suspension, Habitual Offender for Driving under Suspension, Driving an Uninsured Vehicle and Driving an Unregistered Vehicle. Two drug warrants charge him with 2nd Offense Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute back in January and Deputy Roberson issued a ticket also charging him with Simple Possession of Marijuana on Henderson Road at Brookview Friday afternoon at 4:03 pm.

Two warrants citing an investigation of Deputy Ritter state that on January 4th of 2019 Long knowingly possessed Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute, 2nd Offense.

Warrants were also served on Richard Long stating that on January 4th 2019 he was driving with his license suspended, found to be a 3rd or subsequent offense in the past five years, and that he was found to be a Habitual Offender for driving while prohibited from doing so. He’s also accused of operating an uninsured vehicle, one that was not registered and that he failed to stop that vehicle when directed by siren and blue lights.

Cash or surety bonds on the seven charges were set totaling $53,387.50. Richard Lloyd Long, also reportedly known as Jason Burroughts, remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.


Concern About Losing $99,000 Grant for a Clinton Trail

Earlier this month, Clinton City Council received an overview on results of Clinton Progress 2013, a five-year plan developed in 2008. Susan Galloway said “Clinton Canopy” was developed from plans of Clinton Focus 2013’s green space subcommittee. She said City Council subsequently accepted recommendations from Clinton Canopy by unanimous vote.

Mrs. Galloway reviewed results from the 2008 5-year plan, noting Clinton has done “pretty well.” She said the city won a grant to conduct a tree inventory in 2009, established a tree ordinance to become a Tree City USA in 2014, has beautified an entrance into town from I-26 and developed plans for the Industrial Supply Complex. Galloway said a mural is to be painted on Musgrove Street this summer and another mural is in the works. She noted at least some work has begun on the Martha Dendy site along with improvements at Pine Street Park and work at Pinehaven Park. She said City Council committed $60,000 to establish a park on land donated by Sterilite and the city has been a support to citizens establishing community gardens.

Susan Galloway noted a final recommendation was to make Clinton friendly for walkers and bicyclists. She said much of that work has been done by the Laurens County Trails Association. She noted Clinton receive at $99,000 grant from SC PRT for a “Miller Fork Trail,” the first such grant to Clinton. She said Clinton has asked for multiple extensions of that grant, but the completion deadline is May 31st. With that date looming, She expressed concern that action on this was not on the April City Council agenda. She asked council to do whatever is necessary not to lose this grant.

After her comments, City Manager Bill Ed Cannon said the Miller’s Fork Trail project bids were wildly over budget and a second attempt generated a bid of $65,000 but without accompanying bond or proof of insurance. The city manager said, “I consider that a no bid,.” Noting the bid was well within the project budget, he said it did not meet the minimum requirements to be considered. Bill Ed Cannon added, “My recommendation would be to not touch it at all.” Mrs. Galloway responded that she realized her allotted time had expired but she did want to discuss this matter with the City Manager as soon as possible.

Powder Cocaine

Laurens Police arrested a man on a powder cocaine charge yesterday. He’s booked as 22-year-old Bradley O’Neal “Marvin” Irby of Washington Street, Laurens. The warrant shows his address on Boyd Road, Laurens. In that warrant, charging Possession of Cocaine, an investigation of Laurens Police Lt Charges Simmons is cited as indicating that Mr. Irby  possessed less than one gram of a white powder substance believed to be cocaine on Lynn Avenue in Laurens yesterday. Bradley “Marvin” Irby remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning with a bond set at $10,000.

Ecstasy at Traffic Stop

Possession of 15 dosage units of Ecstasy yesterday was alleged with the Laurens Police arrest of 40-year-old Leonard Lorenza Crocker of Woodridge Court, Jonesboro, Georgia. An investigation of Lt. Simmons is cited as indicating that Mr. Crocker had the Ecstasy in his possession at a lawful traffic stop yesterday on Holmes Street in Laurens. Leonard Crocker was released later yesterday on a $5,000 bond.

Tramadol Hydrochloride

Clinton Police arrested a man Saturday on charges he was in unauthorized possession of pills earlier this month. 28-year-old Michael Daniel Jamar Watts of 1935 Curry Road, Laurens was charged with Possession of a Schedule IV Controlled Substance without authority, accused of having possession of Tramadol Hydrochloride April 4th. He was later released on a $3,000 cash or surety bond.


Lorazepam Possession Alleged

Unauthorized Pill Possession was alleged with the Laurens Police arrest of a Cross Hill man Friday. 30-year-old Brian Shane Smith of 228 Lake Breeze Road is accused with Possession of a Schedule IV Controlled Substance. The warrant states he knowingly possessed a white, round-shaped pill believed to be Lorazepam Friday on Garlington Street in Laurens. Mr. Smith was in custody earlier today with a bond set at $2,000.


Assault by Intimidation

The Sheriff’s Office arrested a young Clinton man Friday on two allegations of Assault by Intimidation. Lt. Byrd issued two tickets charging 20-year-old Samuel William Harmon of 73 Buddy Hunt Circle with this offense at 9:33 Saturday night on Angel Court. Mr. Harmon remained in custody this morning with bonds of $1,087.50 set on each charge.

Man Charged with Hospital Shooting

SLED arrested a Clinton man yesterday following the early morning shooting at the Laurens County Hospital. 27-year-old Kevin Boyce Patterson of 1080 Fuller Road, Clinton was booked in the Johnson Detention Center late yesterday afternoon, charged with Kidnapping, Attempted Murder and Pointing and Presenting a Firearm at a Person.

In all three warrants, SLED agent Melissa Wallace cites probable cause, a SLED investigation, video surveillance and victim statements in alleging Patterson kidnapped his father at gunpoint as well as shot a hospital police officer with intent to murder him. Warrants state that Kevin Patterson kidnapped his father by dragging him away at gunpoint while at Laurens County Hospital early yesterday morning. He’s accused of forcefully moving his father across the waiting area of the emergency department before releasing him at the door. He’s also accused of pointing a firearm at his father at Laurens County Hospital.

The Attempted Murder warrant states that Kevin Boyce Patterson shot a firearm at a hospital police officer with intent to kill him at the Laurens County Hospital yesterday, with the Officer sustaining a gunshot wound.

We believe Kevin Patterson was released to SLED custody after local treatment for his gunshot injury and that the hospital police officer was being treated in Greenville.

Kevin Boyce Patterson remained in the Johnson Detention Center overnight, awaiting his first court appearance on the three charges.

ZF To Build Transmissions for BMW

An agreement has been reached between ZF Transmissions and BMW that is expected to localize the supply chain between the two companies. The Laurens County Advertiser this week reported this comes from statements from both companies last Friday. The front-page story states that ZF’s Gray Court facility will manufacture its advanced 8-speed automatic transmission for BMW’s plant at Greer. The Advertiser article quote’s ZF CEO Wolf-Hennig Scheider saying, “This business win is the largest single order in the history of ZF.” He added, “When it comes to electrification of passenger cars, in addition to pure electric drives, it confirms our strategy to focus on plug-in hybrids as an every-day solution and to develop attractive products in these areas.” ZF reported this order has a ‘double-digit billion (Euro) value.’

The Advertiser quoted Laurens County Development Corporation Executive Director Jon Coleman as saying this new partnership between ZF and BMW is tremendous for ZF’s Laurens County facility. “This announcement shows that the Upstate of South Carolina is one of the major automotive manufacturing hubs, not only in the U.S. but in the world.”

The report indicates production of the new generation of the transmission is set to begin at ZF’s Saarbrucken plant in 2022 then move to Gray Court and China.

More details on this development are available in this week’s Laurens County Advertiser.

Three Charged with Child Neglect

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday arrested three people on charges of Child Neglect. Warrants on all three people cite an investigation of Deputy Ritter indicates that each placed a minor child at unreasonable risk of harm yesterday by exposing the child to marijuana and by failing to provide proper living conditions. Each allegedly had custody of the child and is the child’s parent or guardian.

Charged with Unlawful Neglect were 50-year-old Daniel Timothy “Tim” Branyon of 91 Halloween Drive, Laurens, 28-year-old Amanda Michelle Branyon of 565 Perrin Avenue, Woodruff and 26-year-old Travis Dwayne Owings, also of 565 Perrin Avenue, Woodruff. Travis Owings was also charged with Obstructing Justice. That warrant states that he obstructed justice yesterday by giving false information regarding an investigation into the welfare of a minor child.

Each of the three were held overnight in the Johnson Detention Center, awaiting a bond hearing today.

New Lighting to Save $100,000 Annually

$100,000 in annual savings for Laurens County is the goal of action County Council took this week. Council approved a recommendation of County Public Works Director Dale Satterfield and authorized his request for $190,485 to change over all lighting in county facilities to LED lights. Satterfield noted that after two years, the county will have the investment back from savings.

Good Fire Truck. Nice Color, Too

Laurens County Council this week approved reimbursement for work on a new fire truck for the Joanna Fire Department. Laurens County Fire Service Director Greg Lindley reminded council they had authorized use of up to $250,000 to purchase a pre-used platform truck from Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  He noted this truck was in excellent condition and had been well-maintained. While the original asking price was $250,000, Lindley said that after several discussions with that fire department Laurens County was able to purchase the platform truck for $210,000. He explained the problem was the truck was light-blue. Joanna paid to have it painted to match their fleet. They requested a reimbursement for the amount they spent painting the truck and having some body work done. Lindley said, “They’re requesting $24,300. This still puts the total purchase and painting at $234,300; still below the $250,000 authorized. Council’s vote was unanimous.

Council was advised the current fire reserve fund balance is $650,000.

Possession of Fentanyl Pills

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday booked a man wanted for drug charges from last fall and for convictions of traffic offenses in March or 2018.

26-year-old Jonathan Malachi Barber of 202 Tennessee Walker Drive, Gray Court was charged with Possession of a Schedule IV Controlled Substance and Possession of a Narcotic. Warrants citing an investigation of Captain Wilkie states that on November 28th of 2018 Barber unlawfully possessed a quantity of Heroin/Fentanyl pills and was also in unlawful possession of a quantity of Alprazolam.

Barber was held overnight, awaiting a bond hearing on the two drug charges. Meanwhile, the Sheriff’s Office also served him with two Bench Warrants from Laurens County Magistrate’s Court. They state that on March 7th of 2018 he was convicted on charges of Driving under Suspension and 2nd offense Driving under the Influence.

Jonathan Malachi Barber remained in the Johnson Detention Center.

New Swift Water Rescue Craft Approved

Rescuing Laurens County’s ability to rescue people threatened in swift water emergencies was the subject of one Laurens County Council vote this week. Council unanimously approved a request by County Fire Service Director Greg Lindley to take $8,000 from the fire reserve fund in order to replace one of the swift water team’s inflatable boats. He reported it was damaged while returning from deployment to Hurricane Florence.

Lindley told council that a request was made to FEMA for replacement, but the federal agency denied the request due to the boat being pass its service life. Lindley said, “The team only has two inflatable motorized boats that were purchased at the same time with grant money, and the other boat could go at any time.” He stressed a need to avoid having major issues with the rescue boats during the upcoming summer months.”

Mayor & Police Chief Join Rotary

The Laurens Rotary Club welcomed two new members at yesterday’s weekly luncheon held on the 3rd floor of Laurens City Hall. Both new members are already familiar with City Hall.

Laurens Mayor Nathan Senn and Laurens Police Chief Chrissy Cofield were inducted by long-time Rotarian King Dixon and welcomed by Club President Chris Benson.

Chief Cofield joined under a new technique, called a corporate membership, where Laurens Police Captain Scott Satterfield or Lt Heath Copeland will attend whenever Chief Cofield is unable to.

Officer-Involved Shooting in Hospital This Morning

The State Law Enforcement Division investigated an officer-involved shooting early this morning at the Laurens County Hospital. It reportedly happened shortly before 2:00 am today. SLED was called at 2:15 am.

SLED Spokesperson Thom Berry said a hospital police officer was notified of an individual being in the hospital who may have a weapon. There was a confrontation between the officer and the suspect, who pulled his weapon and fired, hitting the officer. The officer returned fire, also hitting the suspect.

Berry said that the suspect was taken into custody a short time later. The suspect and the Prisma Health police officer were being treated for their gunshot injuries. Thom Berry said that meanwhile, SLED officers are continuing their investigation into the early morning shooting.

Berry and a Prisma Health spokesperson at the Laurens County Hospital this morning told WLBG News that Laurens County Hospital is restricting access.

Muffin Mam investing $18 Million in Laurens

A leading manufacturer of baked goods yesterday formally announced plans for a 100,000 square-foot facility in Laurens. “The Muffin Mam,” headquartered in nearby Simpsonville, announced investments of just over $18 million that will create 114 new jobs with the facility, already under construction in the Hunter Industrial Park. The Laurens plant is to complement the company’s existing production facility in Greenville County. Tuesday night, Laurens County Council gave final approval for tax incentives for the plant, previously known as “Project Blueberry:”

The Muffin Mam, Inc. is a portfolio company of Azalea Capital of Greenville.

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has awarded a $350,000 Set Aside grant to Laurens County to assist with costs related to the project.

Muffin Mam CEO Dewey Armstrong said, “Our new Laurens County facility will house high-capacity baking equipment, which will produce muffins, cupcakes, pound cakes, crème cakes and more, all sold across the United States and internationally through leading retail grocers and food service channels.”

Laurens County Council Chair David Pitts said, “We are grateful for The Muffin Mam, Inc.’s commitment to our county. The influx of new industry and the continued growth of the existing industries in Laurens County proves that we are a great place for business and the shared commitment that our county has with our industry partners. We look forward to continuing to build upon our relationship with The Muffin Mam, Inc. and are proud for them to call Laurens County home.”

Laurens Mayor Nathan Senn said, “We are very pleased that The Muffin Mam, Inc. is coming to Laurens, and that they recognize our tremendous resources and potential for growth. I look forward to building a strong partnership with The Muffin Mam, Inc., so they know our city will do all it can to facilitate their continued growth. There is a revitalization taking place here in Laurens, and we thank them for the vote of confidence in our future shown by locating here and wish them the warmest welcome.”

Attempted Murder from Tuesday Night Shooting

Attempted Murder is one of the charges served yesterday following a Laurens-area shooting Tuesday evening. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrested 39-year-old Travis Omandell Miller of 67 Badgers Trestle, Laurens overnight, placing him in the Johnson Detention Center early Wednesday morning.

A Sheriff’s Office statement indicates deputies were dispatched Tuesday evening to a South Harper Street residence where they located a man who had been shot in his lower extremities. This victim was transported to hospital for treatment of his potentially life-threatening injuries.

The statement did not indicate where the shooting had occurred, but stated they quickly determined the identity of a suspect. Officers located the suspect at a Wattsville community residence on Copeland Street and he was taken into custody without further incident.

Travis Omandell Miller, also known as “To,” was charged yesterday with Attempted Murder, Possession of a Weapon During a Violent Crime and Possession of a Weapon by a Person Convicted of a Violent Crime. In warrants, Sheriff’s Investigator Andrew Turner states that on April 9th  Miller committed the crime of Attempted Murder by shooting the victim, causing life-threatening injuries and that he was in unlawful possession of a hand gun, due to his previous conviction of a violent crime, and allegedly displayed what appeared to be a weapon during the Tuesday shooting.

During an initial court appearance on the charges yesterday, no bond was granted for either charge. Travis Omandell Miller remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.


Gray Court Teen Sentenced

A Gray Court teen pleaded guilty yesterday in the 2017 death of man he stabbed at least 28 times in what was to have been the robbery of a different person. reports that 19-year-old Ahmad Neely pled to Voluntary Manslaughter, Criminal Conspiracy and Possession of a Weapon during Commission of a Violent Crime.

Details of the case from Anderson County indicate that Neely and a group of other males and females planned to rob a man they knew of money, suspecting he had money due to being a drug dealer. The details from indicate that when they arrived a man they didn’t know was also there and apparently disrupted their plan of attack. That person, 49-year-old Charles Hillery, of New York, was reportedly stabbed to death in an altercation with Neely.

Fox Carolina’s report on the court action yesterday indicates that Ahmad Neely was sentenced to thirty years.

Flood Zones Updated

Laurens County Council this week unanimously approved an ordinance to update the flood zones of Laurens County. Laurens County Code Enforcement Director Chuck Bobo said this also brings the county flood ordinance in compliance with state changes. He said the new 2019 FEMA flood maps must be adopted by county council to be in effect on June 20th. Bobo said the changes will help owners of some of Lake Greenwood waterfront lots, making a lot of people happy to get out of the flood zone.