Two Jailed on Court Orders

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday booked 41-year-old Timothy Ray Smith of 111 Willis Street, Gray Court and served him with bench warrants from two courts.

A General Sessions Bench Warrant states he failed to appear for a docket appearance in court September 15, 2017 to face a Domestic Violence 3rd Degree charge. He is ordered held until that case is disposed of by due course of law.

Smith was also served with a Bench Warrant from Magistrates’ Court states he was convicted on a Violation of a Domestic Order of Protection on September 18, 2017 and sentenced to a fine of $465 or jail time of 30 days.


A General Sessions Court Bench warrant from Laurens County was served yesterday on 34-year-old Leslie Bishop Lee of 2010 Evergreen Drive, Boiling Springs, NC. It states she failed to appear in court June 19th, 2015 to face a charge of Concealing, Selling or Disposing of a Stolen Vehicle. She is ordered held until the case can be disposed of by due course of law.

Six Jailed for Family Court

Laurens County Family Court sent six people to the Laurens County Detention Center yesterday. Non-Support was charged on four, including a 29-year-old Anderson man, a 37-year-old Laurens man, a 26-year-old Fountain Inn man and a 36-year-old Clinton woman. Contempt of Court was noted on a 43-year-old Clinton man and a 26-year-old Greenville man.

Hair Styling Device in Shoplifted Loot

Could someone’s hair style indicate criminal activity? Probably not, but the question just had to be asked, based on an investigation of Laurens Police this week. Police were called to Walmart on another shoplifting report late Tuesday morning. A store employee told of observing a female and male loading a shopping cart full of items into a white Cadillac and riding off without paying for them. The employee showed the officer an overhead picture of the cart as it was pushed out of the store, showing it contained several items including what appeared to be some sort of electrical hair styling device.

Should we all be on the lookout for anyone with a “shocking” hair style!

Praises for Response to Tornado Strike

Responses to the tornado that struck Laurens County Sunday evening was the subject of praise at last night’s Laurens County Council meeting. Council was informed that only minor injuries were reported to people from the storm. Praises included thanks for the actions of Laurens County First Responders. Emergency Communications Director Joey Avery noted “This seems like my regular routine, briefing council on our response to serious storms.” Also speaking out in praise of staff response to the Sunday tornado were directors of EMS, Fire and Laurens County Public Works, expressing gratitude for the teamwork of county employees during the storm. Joey Avery also thanked Sheriff Don Reynolds and the Laurens Sheriff Office for their response.

Avery reported on damage to 17 homes, ranging from minor to some that were destroyed by the storm. He expressed concern that some of the victims who were renting their residence did not have renter’s insurance. The 911 Director also said that the Red Cross responded and arranged for those who had nowhere else to go to obtain hotel rooms.

“Squealin’ on the Square” Review

The Grand Champion of this past weekend’ 17th Annual Squealin’ on the Square BBQ Festival was Smoke Central BBQ, heading by Kevin Merritt of Summerville. Smoke Central BBQ receives the newly designed Grand Champion trophy, a $2,000 cash prize and opportunities for national competitions. They have an opportunity to represent South Carolina at the Jack Daniel Invitational and an invitation to the Kansas City BBQ Society’s American Royal. They also have their entry fee waived for next year’s Squealin’ on the Square KCBS competition in Laurens.

Reserve Grand Champion for the 2017 Squealin’ on the Square competition was Midnight Burn from North Carolina.

1st place finishers in the four primary categories of competition were Sauced! Barbeque receiving the Pork Rib 1st place trophy, Hickory BBQ Company taking 1st in Brisket, Smoke Central BBQ was 1st in Pork and Midnight Burn took the 1st place trophy in the Chicken Category.

While no local participants took top prize this year, Jonathan Irick noted one local entry placed well. “Hey Good Buddy BBQ, which, the two team leaders are Bryan Able and Homer Elwood, placed in the top ten – I believe in three categories – which I think is their best showing they’ve had here at Squealin’ on the Square in a good long time.”

Irick said the 17th Annual Squealin’ on the Square started with big attendance Friday night, but rainfall Saturday morning put a “damper” on the crowd for that day. He said the rain delayed the kid’s rides and kept others away for the morning. Irick said when the rain stopped Saturday afternoon, some of the crowds then began to arrive, overall attendance was down from last year.

We asked for an overall assessment of the festival. “This ranks up there…..Friday night was pretty good attendance. I would say this is kind of an average attendance for us, I wouldn’t say it was really better than what we’ve had. But it was certainly, for what we were dealing with the weather, was a pretty good attendance.”

“Our volunteers talked about when they were selling the coupons there were certain times on Saturday that they were pretty busy in the coupon sales. I haven’t actually had a chance to look at all those numbers, but I will say that on Friday night, what we were paying out to our teams look like about what we were doing last year. So that tells us that had Saturday been nice weather, we probably would have exceeded what we did last year, which was one of our better years.”

Three Charged with Two September Burglaries

A woman and two men were each charged yesterday with two 2nd Degree Burglaries east of Laurens. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office served warrants accusing each of entering two buildings east of Laurens last month.

Each of the three stands accused of entering a building at 277 Fairground Road, Laurens without consent and with intent to commit a crime therein on September 21st and on September 24th of entering a building at 20,878 Highway 76 East without consent and with intent to commit a crime therein.

After cash or surety bonds were set totaling $20,000 during arraignment yesterday, 31-year-old Tony Shun “T” Smith of Apt. 2-A, 309 Exchange Drive, Laurens remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Being held overnight, pending bond hearings today on the two 2nd Degree Burglary charges were 20-year-old Rhomiesha Danielle Henderson of 111 Jackson Street, Laurens and 27-year-old Jason A. Wilson of 800 Spring Street, Laurens.

Summer Assault Alleged

Clinton Public Safety yesterday arrested a man regarding an alleged assault on his girlfriend this summer. 27-year-old Denais Mallashjuan Jones of Apartment I-3 at 590 Phillips Street, Clinton was initially issued a ticket by Sgt. Phillip Wicker charging him with Simple Possession of Marijuana at 1:00 yesterday afternoon on the Highway 56 portion of Willard Road.

Jones was also served a warrant charging him with 2nd Degree Domestic Violence from an alleged assault on July 29th. In the warrant, Lt. Stephen Lawton states that Jones hit the victim in her face with an open hand and grabbed her by the arm, causing a minor laceration to the left inside of her arm at the bicep. Lt. Lawton further stated that Jones and the victim have a child in common and live together. The assault allegedly happened in their apartment at Westchase.

Denais Mallashjuan Jones remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning with a cash or surety bond of $5,000 set on the 2nd Degree Domestic Violence warrant.

Two Drug Charges Follow Traffic Stop

Unlawful possession of two drugs yesterday was alleged following a Laurens City Police arrest yesterday. 50-year-old Michele Bell Ridley of 557 Deer Meadows Road, Laurens was charged with Possession of Less than One Gram of Methamphetamine and unlawful Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance. Warrants citing an investigation of Officer Van Pelt allege that Ms. Ridley had a clear plastic baggie of a substance believed to be methamphetamine during a lawful traffic stop on Watts Avenue in Laurens yesterday. She’s also accused of having possession of one and one-half (1 ½ ) Hydrocodone pills. Michele Bell Ridley was released on personal recognizance bonds totaling $9,000 on the two charges.

No Charges Seem Likely

Laurens Police Sgt. Thibodeau & Chief Sonny Ledda responded to Fleming Street Monday afternoon where a woman said her son spit in her face and flipped over a table. She said he’d left the house before they arrived. She kept changing the story, at one point saying he’d flipped the table and put his fist on her forehead. Later, she said he didn’t flip the table but threatened to, and had thrown a salad at her. She said he’d assaulted her before. A check only revealed one incident on file and the son was the complainant then. No visible injuries were noted by the officers and charges don’t appear likely.

School Bus Wreck

A Laurens County District 55 school bus was reportedly involved in a three-vehicle wreck this afternoon. District 55’s Ed Murray said he understands the wreck occurred on US 221 south of Laurens. Another source informed WLBG that the wreck occurred on US 221 in the vicinity of New Prospect Baptist Church.

Mr. Murray said he was still awaiting some details, but initial reports indicated the bus had already dropped off all students, and that the driver was not injured. There was some indication that the drivers of the other two cars and one auto passenger may have been transported for treatment.

Man Shot in Upper Body

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office this Tuesday evening was investigating a domestic incident that reportedly sent a man to the hospital with gunshot injuries.

Chief Deputy Jarvis Reeder said that Deputies were dispatched to the 1100 block of Simmons Road in Laurens County’s Green Pond Community at 3:27 this afternoon on a report of a domestic violence situation. Reeder said that while Deputies were responding to the call, Laurens County E-911 informed officers that a person inside a residence at the incident location “had inflicted injuries from a gunshot.” The Chief Deputy said that as deputies arrived on the scene on Simmons Road, they observed a male that had an injury consisting of a gunshot wound to the upper extremities of his body. This male was transported to Greenville Memorial Hospital for medical treatment. Reeder said that as of 5:00 this Tuesday evening, the incident remained under investigation of the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office. He said there was no threat to the general public from the incident.

Laurens Academy Resumes Classes

It was back to school today for students at Laurens Academy. Joani Stribling of the academy announced that the school would be safe for students to return on a normal schedule. Parents and students were asked to be aware that there is some exterior damage to the gymnasium building, as well as several downed trees around the campus. Laurens Academy is working with insurance and local contractors to make repairs and cleanup throughout the week. Stribling said that, at present, volunteers were not needed to help with cleanup. The school is waiting on the professional crews to complete their work. Once the professionals and their equipment have completed the heavy work, Laurens Academy advises they will send out a request for volunteers to assist them with the remaining work in returning the campus to normal.

Many Others in Tornado Recovery Mode

Residents along the path of Sunday afternoon’s tornado were dealing with damage to homes, barns, sheds and trees through the day yesterday. Numerous TV reports were filed from the scene of damage at the Town and Country Trailer Park off Curry & Rocky Springs Church Roads. Heavily damaged homes were observed on Highway 49 between I-385 and Laurens Academy and on Sandy Springs Road. One person reportedly escaped serious injury when a garage apartment was destroyed while occupied on Sandy Springs Road. Sandy Springs United Methodist Church had some damage to the exterior of the sanctuary and to their Fellowship building.

No Bond on Drugs Charges

A Drug Distribution charge was served yesterday from an alleged incident last month. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrested 32-year-old Heather Marie Wymer of 1193 Leesville Church Road, Clinton and charged her with Distribution of Methamphetamine 3rd of Subsequent Offense and Simple Possession of Marijuana 2nd Offense.

Narcotics Investigator Matt Veal states that on September 12th Ms. Wymer possessed methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and that she has prior convictions of drug-related charges. She’s also accused of having 28 grams or less of Marijuana on September 12th, in a warrant that noted she has prior convictions for possession of marijuana.

No bond was set on either charge during arraignment yesterday. Marie Wymer remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Car Theft, Drug & Traffic Charges

From car theft to drug possession to driving infractions, a local woman is now facing charges from three law enforcement agencies, following her arrest, which apparently occurred Sunday night.

The Highway Patrol issued tickets charging 32-year-old Kimberly Dianne Wooten of B-5 at 201 Elizabeth Street, Clinton with 2nd Offense Driving under Suspension and 1st Offense Driving under the Influence at 10:10 pm in the Ware Shoals area of Laurens County.

Overnight, Laurens County Detention Center officers reportedly located an illegal substance on her personal belongings. She was served with a warrant yesterday in which the Sheriff’s Office charged her with Possession of less than One Gram of Ice, Crank or Crack Cocaine, 3rd or Subsequent Offense.

Kimberly Wooten has also been charged with Grand Larceny from an alleged auto theft in Clinton Sunday. PC Public Safety Officer Mark Gary states that on October 8th Ms. Wooten unlawfully took a 2014 Nissan Altima valued over $10,000 from a parking lot at the Presbyterian College Pharmacy School.

$2,287 cash or surety bonds were set yesterday on the two traffic charges from the Highway Patrol. Kimberly Dianne Wooten remained held, pending arraignment on the Grand Larceny and Drug Possession charges.

Contract Approved for Laurens Sewer Rehab Project

The final phase of a sewer rehabilitation project on the west side of Laurens was approved at last night’s Laurens Commission of Public Works October meeting. The commissioners gave a unanimous vote to approve Resolution 17-10, which authorizes General Manager John Young to sign a contract with North American Pipeline Management, Inc. of Greenville. Their $397,849 bid was the lowest bid for completion of the Forest Hills Sewer Rehabilitation Project. This part of that project is to install 1,600 linear feet of 8” gravity-flow sewer pipe. Young said “This project has taken three times longer than it should, hopefully this company will complete it by the spring of 2018.”

Three Main Street Clinton Meetings Wednesday

Main Street Clinton is holding three meetings tomorrow to provide information to and seek input from members of the community. Main Street Clinton will present results of its Baseline Assessment and its work-plan. The Baseline Assessment is the evaluation and conclusions made by Main Street South Carolina for Downtown Clinton’s participation in Main Street SC.  The information used in the assessment came from the public input sessions conducted by Main Street South Carolina in March of this year.

The purpose of these public meetings is to give the public the opportunity to ask questions and become familiar with the assessment and the work-plan going forward.  In addition, it will give the public an opportunity to be involved in the revitalization process of Downtown Clinton.

The first and last of tomorrow’s meetings will be held in City Council Chambers of the M.S. Bailey Municipal Center at 211 North Broad. Those will be held from 9:00 until 10:00 tomorrow morning and from 5:30 to 6:30 tomorrow evening. The middle meeting will be held on the Square in Downtown Clinton tomorrow afternoon from Noon until 1:30.

Eustace Takes State Position

A department-level management change was announced at last night’s Laurens C.P.W. meeting. Commissioners were advised that Johnny Eustace has submitted his resignation as Superintendent of the Natural Gas Division, effective November 1st. Mr. Eustace has accepted the position of Pipeline Safety Supervisor with a South Carolina Office regulating pipeline safety.

Traffic Deaths Down Across SC, Still Up Here

Traffic fatalities were much higher this past weekend that the previous, with 10 persons killed on state roadways from 6pm Friday until midnight Sunday. The weekly update from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety yesterday noted that statewide fatalities are still below the previous year. 740 people had been killed on state highways as of midnight Sunday night. That’s down from 774 at the same date last year.

This year’s 740 deaths include 506 motor vehicle occupants, 104 pedestrians, 93 motorcyclists and 14 bicyclists.

While South Carolina is doing better this year, Laurens County is still way ahead of last year, with 26 fatalities for 2017, compared to 12 for the same time last year.

Laurens County is currently tied with Berkley and Aiken Counties with the eighth highest fatalities per counties, each with 26 deaths on roadways this year.

Neighboring Anderson County is 7th with 32, Lexington has 37, while Spartanburg and Richland Counties are tied at 4th highest with 38 deaths.

Charleston County has 42 deaths, Greenville 48 and Horry County has 49 traffic fatalities for the year, as of midnight Sunday.

Damaged Alleged to Rented Residence

A “Tenant of the Year” award appears unlikely for one Laurens area man, based on allegations made during an arrest yesterday by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office. 24-year-old Ryan Montel Fowler of 102 Woodmont Lane, Laurens was charged with Malicious Damage from an alleged incident over two years ago.

A warrant alleges that on August 25th of 2015 Mr. Fowler willfully, unlawfully and maliciously did damage of less than $2,000 value to personal property of the victim by vandalizing a mobile home he was renting from the victim. Ryan Montel Fowler was released on a $2,000 personal recognizance bond.