Breach of Trust

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday served charges from an alleged incident in the fall of 2016. 36-year-old Dale Evonne Davis was booked with an address of 17675 Highway 25, Ware Shoals. A warrant listing her address on Audubon Road, Ware Shoals charges her with Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent. She is accused of receiving keys to a victim’s vehicle, in trust, on October 5th of 2016 and then using the vehicle without the owner’s consent. Ms. Davis was being held overnight, awaiting a bond hearing.

Laurens County Officer of the Year

The annual presentation of Laurens County’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year was part of Law Enforcement Day celebrated yesterday in the Laurens County Higher Education Center. Winner of the award this year was Officer J.C. Brewington of the Laurens City Police Department. The presentation was made by Micky Coats of the Sheriff’s Office, who received the award last year.

Brewington was nominated for Officer of the Year by Laurens Police Chief Sonny Ledda. Other nominees for this year’s Officer of the Year were Chris Wilkes, nominated by Clinton Department of Public Safety Director Robin Morse and Thomas Boyd, nominated by Sheriff Don Reynolds..

Guest Speaker for this year’s Law Enforcement Day was Jackie Swindler, Director of the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. He spoke of the humanitarian aspect of law enforcement and how officers can bond with the public. Director Swindler noted the all-too-often unfavorable press law officers receive while doing their duty and the lack of favorable press for officers performing duties above and beyond what is expected. He told those gathered yesterday that he does not want this media criticism to cause officers to hesitate before doing what they are appointed, out of fear of negative repercussions. He noted, “The negative press reports are almost always caused by a lawful command that was refused by a subject.

Others participating in yesterday’s Laurens County Law Enforcement Day included the Clinton High Jr ROTC, presenting the colors with the National Anthem sung by Merial Roberts of Laurens’ Welcome Baptist Church.

Marshall Davidson, of Clinton’s Westminster Presbyterian Church, played the bagpipes in honor of deaths noted in the Memorial of Line of Duty.

3 Held for Charges

Sightings of a stolen utility trailer yesterday began a series of events that eventually led to three arrests by Laurens County Deputies. The Sheriff’s Office received a report Monday about a burglary in which a utility trailer and a four-wheeler were stolen from a residence in the Clinton area. Yesterday, a friend of the victim reported seeing what he believed to be the stolen trailer, being pulled by an older model Dodge Dakota. A Sheriff’s Deputy on patrol then reported observing this vehicle and trailer on Whelon Road, just west of Laurens. The Deputy attempted a traffic stop on the vehicle, but it fled, headed toward Gray Court. The Deputy reportedly observed the fleeing vehicle attempting to enter Interstate 385 in the wrong lane. Deputies backed off at that point and attempted to warn oncoming traffic.

A Sheriff’s report indicates that the driver of the vehicle lost control and collided with another vehicle. The driver of the suspect vehicle was identified as Toby Horne, who allegedly fled on foot following the collision. Deputies apprehended Horne following a brief foot chase.

Sheriff’s Captain Wilkie reported that two additional suspects were also taken into custody, and that deputies later discovered that the suspect vehicle had been stolen out of Spartanburg County.

Sheriff Don Reynolds said, “It’s a miracle no one was killed by these thugs. They put everyone on the roadway in danger and we’re thankful no one was seriously injured. We intend to keep these criminals behind bars where they belong, so hopefully they won’t be a danger to anyone else in the future.”

Booked yesterday in the Laurens County Detention Center were 36-year-old Toby Christopher Horne of 9954 Highway 101 South, Gray Court along with 47-year-old Darrell Scott Ellason and 47-year-old Nikkie Lee Fields, both of 109 Martindale Drive, Simpsonville.

Toby Horne

Nikki Lee Fields

Darrell Ellason

 

The woman and two men were being held overnight in the Laurens County Detention Center, awaiting being served with warrants.

Multiple Charges: Probation & Parole Violated

Multiple charges from three agencies were served yesterday on a man arrested overnight by Clinton Public Safety. 22-year-old Stanley Montrez Walk was booked early morning with an address of 101 Gray Drive, Gray Court.

Warrants that were served later in the day yesterday note Clinton Lt. Cathy Anderson as prosecuting officer in the arrest. These warrants charge Stanley Walk with 3rd Offense Driving under Suspension, Unlawful Carrying of a Firearm, Unlawful Possession of a Pistol by a Convicted Felon, Unlawful Transport of Liquor and Open Container of Beer. These documents state that on May 15th Stanley Walk was driving a vehicle in Clinton with his driver’s license under suspension, and that he had a Styrofoam cup containing liquor in the vehicle and an open bottle of beer in the floorboard. He’s also accused of having in his lap a Haskell JS .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol while operating a motor vehicle and that he had this pistol while being a felon convicted of Armed Robbery, which prohibits his possession of a weapon or ammunition.

In addition to all these charges, South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon served two more warrants on Stanley Walk yesterday. They charge him with Violation of Probation and Violation of Parole. The Violation of Probation warrant cites probable cause to believe Stanley Walk was in unlawful possession of a weapon due to a Clinton Public Safety case yesterday. He’s also accused of being behind on required supervisory payments.

Stanley Montrez Walk remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

New Information Tool for Industrial Development

Current information that can help companies select sites for new industrial plants was demonstrated yesterday for the Laurens County Development Corporation. James Chavis of the South Carolina Power Team explained to the LCDC Board how information gathered from industry, education and employees across the state can be accessed. He showed information about people living within a 45-minute commute of the new Connexial Center and Clinton’s I-26 Park.

Chavis pointed out that the electric cooperatives across the state helped create the Power Team, a 501-C-3 non-profit company, to help develop infrastructure in less urbanized areas of South Carolina, served by the coops.

James Chavis noted that the South Carolina Power Team has three major industrial development projects across the state. One is the new “Connexial Center,” announced a few weeks ago for the frontage road along I-385 off Friendship Church Road. The Conexial Center is basically across I-385 from the Owings Industrial Park. The South Carolina Power Team contributed $3.5 million for developing roadways and utility infrastructure in the industrial park. Laurens Electric Cooperative added another $3.5 million. The Laurens County Development Corporation accessed funds collected from existing industries to contribute $1 million for the new park.

Failure to Show – Six Years Ago

A Greenville man was lodged in the Laurens County Detention Center yesterday regarding an alleged failure to appear in court here eight years ago. 35-year-old Christopher Allan “Chris” Chandler of 141 Pleasant Ridge Avenue, Greenville was served with a Laurens County General Sessions Court Bench Warrant. It states he failed to appear in court May 6th of 2011 to face a charge of Failure to Stop for a Blue Light. “Chris” Chandler is being held until his next opportunity to appear in General Sessions Court regarding the charge against him.

Draining His Bank Account

Clinton Public Safety yesterday charged 33-year-old Toshia Renae Shockley of 90 Cedar Street, Clinton with three counts of Financial Card Fraud. Detective Tyrone Goggins states that Ms. Shockley withdrew money from a man’s bank account, without his consent, at three ATM machines in Clinton March 5th. She allegedly received $600 from an ATM at 102 South Broad, $500 at 819 South Broad, $100 from an ATM at 100 Summeral Street. Ms. Shockley was held with bonds totaling $3,000.

Stealing & Selling Car While Owner is Jailed

Laurens City Police yesterday served a Petty Larceny warrant on 41-year-old Annie Darlene Hill of 255 East Main, Laurens. In it, Detective Jones states that between January 10th and March 18th this year Ms. Hill took a 2004 Dodge Durango when the owner of the vehicle was incarcerated and sold it to another man for $250. She was held overnight, awaiting arraignment.

Audit Approved, Wholesale Water Rate Hike

The Laurens Commission of Public Works formally approved results of their 2017 audit last night and also made adjustments in one category of its rate structure, based on last year’s costs.

The Commissioners voted unanimously to approve their 2017 Audit, which was presented at the April meeting by Larry Finney of Greene, Finney, and Horton.

The summation of the report was that the CPW was in good financial condition at the end of the year. They received an unmodified opinion on the financial statements, and their total net position was $22.2 million, which was an increase of $1.2 million from the year before.

The Laurens CPW also voted unanimously to increase the wholesale rate of water sold to the Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission. A fact sheet presented to commissioners before the vote stated the current rate has been in place since July 1st of 2011.  Calculations for the new rates are based on the CPW agreement with the LCWSC using the audited financials for 2017. This results in an increase in the cost of the first 600,000 gallons of water a day from the current rate of $1.58 to $1.66. In presenting the new rate structure, General Manager John Young said, “We probably should have done this a couple years ago.” The new rate for selling water to the Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission goes into effect on July 1st of this year.

Is a Traffic Circle Next?

Traffic a few miles west of Laurens on US Highway 76 had another stop sign added last year, as the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SC DOT) installed 4-way stop signs at the Highway 76 intersection with Trinity Church Road and Dials Place Road. There was talk about the possibility of an even bigger change for that intersection last night during the Laurens Commission of Public Works’ May meeting.

CPW General Manager John Young alerted the commissioners about a possibility that SC-DOT may install a round-about at that intersection. He said that should the state decide to add a traffic circle there, this will cost the CPW over $100,000.  Young said the cost would be incurred by the CPW to move a 10-inch natural gas line that is underground along the highway.

Grant Writing Workshop

The Laurens County Community Foundation (LCCF) is hosting a grant writer’s workshop next month. This is designed to help local non-profits seek funding for their programs. It’s set for June 13th. A beginner’s portion, Session I, is called the “Basics of Grant Writing,” and it begins at 1:00 in the afternoon. Session II, “Beyond the Basics of Grant Writing,” begins at 3:00 that afternoon.

The Laurens County Community Foundation’s mission is to enrich Laurens County by creating charitable funds, promoting education, and providing community resources that have lasting impact. The June 13th grant writing workshop will be at the Laurens County School District 55 Training Room, 301 Hillcrest Drive, in Laurens. To register for the Grant Writers Workshop, you should email: LCCF@laurenscountycf.org.

All News Doesn’t Have to Be Bad

“No news is good news,” so the saying goes. In the interest in sharing good news here on WLBG, we note that Laurens County, again this past week, did not have any traffic fatalities reported to the Highway Patrol. As a result, with this week’s update from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, Laurens County has dropped out of the Top Ten counties with the highest traffic death count.

The 10 traffic fatalities in Laurens County as of May 13th, 2018 is compared with 17 for the same date in 2017.

Neighboring Spartanburg County this past week dropped from having the most fatalities of any county to 2nd highway. Lexington County has 30, Spartanburg has 28, Charleston and Greenville are tied with the 3rd highest traffic fatality count, at 24 each. Richland County has 5th highest, with 19.

Horry has 16, Anderson 13, Orangeburg County has 12, and Florence and Dorchester Counties both had 11 highway deaths, thru May 13th.

In neighboring counties, we note that both Abbeville and Union Counties have had no traffic fatalities for 2018, as of this past Sunday at midnight.

Across the state, this year’s traffic death count continues to be improved from last year. As of Sunday midnight, the state had 322 deaths, down from 382 on May 13th 2017. This year’s deaths include 234 people in motor vehicles, 48 pedestrians, 31 people on motorcycles and five on bicycles have died on the highways of our state.

Wanted from 2014 & 2015 Bench Warrants

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday booked a man to serve a sentence from Magistrate’s Court in 2014 and for failing to appear for a General Sessions Burglary case in 2015.

26-year-old Christopher Charles “Chris” Solesbee of 975 Clark Road, Inman was served with Bench Warrants from traffic and burglary charges.

In a Magistrate’s Court Bench Warrant, Judge Thomas Copeland states that Solesbee was convicted July 18, 2014 for Driving under Suspension of his license and sentenced to 30 days in jail or a $652 fine. Yesterday, he was placed in the Laurens County Detention Center to serve that sentence.

Solesbee was also served with a Bench Warrant from Laurens County General Sessions Court. It states that on January 26th, 2015 he failed to appear in court regarding a charge of 2nd Degree Burglary. He is to be held until he can be discharged from the Burglary case through due course of law.

2 Charged with Theft

Two men were arrested yesterday afternoon on charges of a theft from a resident on Willow Creek Drive, Gray Court. Laurens County Sheriff’s Deputy McLain issued Petit Larceny tickets at 1:45 yesterday afternoon on 28-year-old Francis Lawrence Janarella of 2635 Augusta Street, Greenville and 27-year-old Christopher Aaron “Chris” Owens of 163 Willow Creek Drive, Gray Court. Both men were being held overnight, awaiting a bond hearing.

Theft of Smart Phone

The Sheriff’s Office yesterday arrested 23-year-old Christine Geraldine Bridges of 2278 Harris Bridge Road, Woodruff on a Petit Larceny warrant. It accuses her of taking a black ZTE smart phone on May 6th. Ms. Bridges was released on a $1,087.50 PR bond.

Unauthorized Lexus Use

Use of a Vehicle without Permission of the owner was the charge yesterday with the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office’s arrest of 36-year-old Homer Steve “Jody” Simmons Jr. of 129 Pasture Drive, Gray Court. He’s accused of taking a 1996 Lexus from Wham Lawn Road May 5th for temporary purposes. Mr. Simmons was released on a $1,058.50 personal recognizance bond.

Assault by TV Remote Control

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday arrested 36-year-old Stephen Carroll Garner Jr. of 435 Joyce Lane, Fountain Inn on a 3rd Degree Domestic Violence charge. A warrant states that an investigation by Deputy Roberson indicates that Mr. Garner struck the victim with a TV remote control, along with threatening her knife with a knife and wrench yesterday.

Stephen Carroll Garner remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning with a cash or surety bond set at $4,000.

Absconding Supervision

27-year-old Christian Manuel “Chris” Rosa La Frosse of 513 Happy Valley Road, Fountain Inn was arrested in Greenville County and delivered to the Laurens County Detention Center yesterday, where he’s charged with Violation of Probation. He’s accused of not following advice of his agent, including failing to report since August 10th of 2016 and moving to an undisclosed location, thereby absconding supervision.

He’s accused of failing to report since August 10th of 2016, and of moving without permission to an undisclosed location, thereby absconding supervision. He was held overnight, awaiting a bond hearing.

Two Murder Attempts on North Broad

A Spartanburg woman remains in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning charged with trying to kill two women in Clinton Friday. Clinton Public Safety arrested 25-year-old Tamara Kristen Pearson of 181 Sandifer Road, Spartanburg and charged her with two counts of Attempted Murder and two more warrants charging her with Pointing and Presenting a Firearm at a Person. Pearson was also charged with Unlawful Carrying of a Pistol and Resisting Arrest.

Two warrants state that on May 11th Ms. Pearson committed Attempted Murder by pointing and presenting a handgun while shooting toward the two female victims several times, and that she did this with malice and aforethought, with the expressed intent to kill the two victims. The two Pointing and Presenting warrants state that on May 11th Tamara Pearson pointed and presented a loaded handgun at the two victims.

A warrant charging Pearson with Unlawful Carry of a Weapon states that on May 11st she carried and discharged a 9 mm pistol in the parking lot of an apartment complex at 505 North Broad Street in Clinton. The Resisting Arrest warrant states that Pearson actively, knowingly and willfully opposed law enforcement officers who were placing her under arrest by pulling away from and kicking at Lt. Cathy Anderson, and by refusing to obey lawful commands of the officer.

During arraignment, bond was denied on all charges, so that Tamara Kristen Pearson remains in the Laurens County Detention Center.

Assault of Officer in Resisting Arrest

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office reportedly had a man assault a deputy who was serving a legal process on him Saturday. 33-year-old Bryant Levon Sullivan of 80 Honeysuckle Avenue, Laurens was charged with Assaulting a Police Officer while Resisting Arrest. The warrant cites an investigation of Deputy Hall as indicating that Sullivan did knowingly and willfully assault, beat and/or wound a law enforcement officer Saturday who was engaged in serving a legal process. A cash or surety bond was set this weekend at $25,000 on the Assault while Resisting Arrest charge. Bryant Levon Sullivan remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.