Clinton, Fountain Inn Want Increase in Fire Fees

Two requests for an increase in payments for fire protection were made to Laurens County Council last night. Laurens County Fire Director Greg Lindley was joined by Fountain Inn Fire Chief Ronnie Myers and Clinton Public Safety Director Robin Morse as they requested increases for their contracts to provide fire protection outside their city limits.

Fountain Inn requested a 5% increase, which is an additional $10,274.68 and Clinton requested a 2% increase, which would amount to $5,388.07.      Both departments cited the need for the increases due to a rise in call volume, especially medical calls.

Chief Morse told council that the rural that the Clinton rural district includes interstate highways, which adds many calls due to traffic accidents and transportation needed to hospitals other than Laurens County. He also stated that Clinton is adding programs dealing with hazmat issues and trench recovery instruction.

Fountain Inn Chief Meyers told council that his increase is needed due to addition of staff and because of rising employee insurance rates.

Council Chairman Joe Wood told Director Lindley that the requests will be discussed in executive session at County Council’s next meeting. He noted this will delay the public hearing and third reading vote on the county budget until Council’s August 22nd meeting. Wood said “This is the first county budget that has not been approved by July 1st in 15 years, but we will get it worked out.”

Attempt to Flush a Pound of Marijuana

An alleged attempt to flush a pound of marijuana down a toilet Monday led to an additional charge from the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday. 30-year-old David Antwain McGowan of Laurens was booked in the Laurens County Detention Center Monday with an address of 1780 Boyd Road, Laurens. Yesterday he was served with warrants charging him with 2nd Offense Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute and with Obstructing Justice.

The drug warrant states that on Monday Mr. McGowan was in possession of more than a pound of marijuana, along with a digital scale and multiple packaging materials. It also states he has a prior drug-related conviction.

The Obstruction of Justice warrant states that McGowan attempted to destroy evidence in the form of approximately one pound of marijuana by putting it in a toilet during the execution of a search warrant at a Boyd Road residence, west of Laurens. The warrants give a Williams Street residence for the suspect.

Cash or surety bonds were set at $20,000 on the drug charge and $5,000 on the Obstruction of Justice warrant. David Antwain McGowan remained in custody earlier this morning,

Pills Sold from New Prescription Bottle

Selling pills from a newly-filled prescription Monday was alleged in a warrant served yesterday. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrested 30-year-old Brandon Jarod Walker of 200 Hemmingway Drive, Laurens Monday. Tuesday, he was charged with Possessing a Schedule II Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute and with Simple Possession of Marijuana.

Walker is accused of possessing 10 mg Oxycodone Monday with intent to distribute it. A warrant states he was in possession of the schedule II controlled substance in a prescription bottle that had been filled Monday with 90 pills, and was missing 27pills. He allegedly admitted he had sold several of the pills.  Walker is also accused of knowingly and willfully possessing 28 grams or less of marijuana Monday.

Cash or surety bonds set on the charges totaled $10,615. Brandon Jarod Walker remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Burglary Suspect’s Cell Phone Left at Scene

Laurens City Police yesterday arrested a local man in connection with the burglary of a Church Street residence last week, where he reportedly left his cell phone behind. 37-year-old Joshua Taboris Hill was booked with an address of 103 Rosemary Lane, Laurens and charged with Burglary 2nd Degree and Petit Larceny. The warrants gave an address at 123 Spring Street for Mr. Hill.

The warrants cited an investigation by Detective Kanipe as indicating that Joshua Hill committed 2nd Degree Burglary between July 2nd and 5th and stated that a cell phone belonging to Hill was located inside a Church Street residence in the 900 block, where the back door had been forced open. Hill reportedly did not live there and, according to a resident, had no right to be in that residence. Hill was accused of taking a 50-inch TV from that residence and of selling it. A Petit Larceny warrant states that Hill took a flat screen TV from the Church Street residence.

Cash or surety bonds were set for “Josh” Hill yesterday including $60,000 for the 2nd Degree Burglary and $1,000 for the Petit Larceny. Hill remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Violation of  Probation

South Carolina Pardon, Probation and Parole yesterday arrested 45-year-old Melissa Kay Thomas of Marshall Road Clinton on a Violation of Probation charge. She’s accused of failure to follow advice and instructions of her agent. Specific instances of this that were noted in the warrant included failing to report to the Probation office May 26, 2017, failing to refrain from the use of controlled substances and failing to attend counseling sessions. She’s also accused of failing to report contact with law enforcement as evidenced by Clinton Public Safety reports regarding a Domestic Violence incident and a Laurens County Sheriff’s Office report. Ms. Thomas was also alleged to have failed to make required payments and of having been in contact with a person who Judge Hocker had ordered her to stay away from. Melissa Kay Thomas remained in custody earlier today.

Laurens County Now 7th in SC Highway Fatalities

Late last year and in the first months of this year, Laurens County suffered with an unusually high number of traffic fatalities; especially in the Gray Court area. Early this year Laurens County had the highest number of fatalities of any county. By mid-year, we no longer have the dubious distinction of still being in the top ten.

South Carolina Public Safety statistics as of midnight July 9th had Laurens County with the 7th highest traffic fatality count in the state, with 20.

Greenville County now has the highest, with 33 highway deaths, Horry is next with 32 and Charleston is 3rd with 30. Richland County has 27 deaths, Anderson County has 23, while Lexington and Spartanburg counties each have 22 highway deaths as of July 9th.

Compared to Laurens County’s 20 deaths, Greenwood County – with about the same population as Laurens, only has 7 fatalities. Other neighboring counties traffic fatalities have Abbeville with 5, Newberry with 4 and Union with 3.

Laurens County’s 20 is a substantial increase from 7 this time last year. Statewide, traffic fatalities are down from last year, from 516 this time in 2016 to 506 this year as of July 9th. The 506 deaths include 365 motor vehicle occupants, 68 pedestrians, 50 motorcyclists and 9 bicyclists.

Two Charges from City Plus One County Warrant

A woman arrested late last night for minor drug charges then received a third charge from another agency from an alleged assault back in May. Laurens City Police Sgt. Billy Sellers arrested 22-year-old Charity DeShayla Ferguson of 126 Gary Street, Clinton, issuing tickets charging her with Simple Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia at 11:08 last night at or near the intersection of South Harper and Hance Streets.

Ms. Ferguson was then served with a Sheriff’s Office warrant charging her with Assault and Battery 3rd Degree. It accuses her of assaulting another woman on May 23rd, 2017 by hitting the victim about her face, causing bruising and “busting” her lip.

Charity Deshayla Ferguson was being held this morning, pending bond hearings on the City and County charges.

Resisting Arrest…..Again

A Laurens woman reportedly resisted her arrest last evening, when an officer was picking her up for Municipal Court action earlier in the day. Laurens Police Sgt. Billy Sellers arrested 47-year-old Kimberly Moss of 126 Park Street, Laurens, issuing a ticket charging her with Resisting Arrest at 7:23 PM at her residence. Ms. Moss when then served with two Bench Warrants from Laurens Municipal court. These show she was convicted of two offenses and sentenced to 30 days on each, or fines totaling $1,257. She remained in the Laurens County Detention Center earlier this morning, pending a bond hearing on last evening’s Resisting Arrest ticket, and pending satisfaction of her sentences in Municipal Court yesterday on charges of Breach of Peace and…..Resisting Arrest.

Three Face Drug Charges after Traffic Stop

One man and two women are now facing drug charges following an early morning traffic stop in Laurens yesterday. 32-year-old Shelly Brooke Ray of 307 Beauregard Street, Clinton and 49-year-old Susan Lynn Case of 1817 Highway 92, Gray Court were charged with Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute, Possession with Intent within Proximity of a Park and Possession of a Schedule IV Controlled Substance.

37-year-old Harold Andrew Case Jr. of 1847 Highway 92, Gray Court was charged with 2nd Offense Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute, as well as Possession with Intent within Proximity of a Park and Possession of a Schedule IV Controlled Substance.

Warrants served on all three suspects cite an investigation of Officer Robert Napier as indicating that during a lawful traffic stop on East Main Street each was found to have 2.6 grams of methamphetamine in his or her possession, and that this possession was within a half mile of Brownlee Park. Each of the three suspects was also reportedly determined to have been in possession of three white pills identified as Xanax, also discovered during the traffic stop.

In addition to the warrants served yesterday, each of the three received initial charges following the traffic stop from Officer Robert Napier. He cited all three with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia at 1:33 yesterday morning on East Main Street. Ms. Case was also ticketed on a Simple Possession of Marijuana charge at 1:33 am.

With his Meth Possession with Intent to Distribute charge being 2nd Offense, cash or surety bonds set on the four charges served on Harold Andrew Case Jr. totaled $62,500. Bonds on the five charges for Susan Lynn Case totaled $38,115. Bonds on Shelly Brooke Ray’s four charges totaled $37,500. All three remained in custody in the Laurens County Detention Center earlier this morning.

DSS Pushing for More Foster Homes

South Carolina Department of Social Services is doing a county-by-county push to recruit homes and for 90 days this summer, and that includes a focus on Laurens County. As of July 1st, there were 80 children in regular foster care in Laurens County, but only 30 licensed homes. Therefore, 52% of children in Laurens County are placed outside their home county. DSS is doing an  educational campaign in the Laurens County community in an effort to recruit more homes and raise awareness of the issues facing children in care.

More information on foster care is available online at To apply as a foster care family one should call 1-888-828-3555.

Across South Carolina as of July 1st, there were 4,190 children in foster care and 2,894 of those children were in regular placements. Across the state there were only 1,645 licensed regular foster homes, so that 60% of children have to be placed outside their home county.

“Child Neglect” Charge Cites Deplorable Home Conditions

Unsatisfactory living conditions are cited in the arrest of a woman yesterday. 42-year-old Laurel Jane Arrowood of 403 Pickens Street, Joanna was charged with Unlawful Child Neglect. A warrant accused “Jane” Arrowood of placing her child at unreasonable risk of harm by allowing the minor child to live in the home they shared with deplorable living conditions. It states she had custody of and is parent of the child.

Laurel “Jane” Arrowood was released on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.

Ekom Fire Station Helping a Family Saturday

The Ekom Beach Fire department is having a “Boot Drive” this coming weekend to raise money to help a family where a16-year-old girl is battling a rare and potentially life-threatening disease. Allison Cash is the daughter of Bubba and Lori Cash, and she’s been diagnosed with EDS. A memo asking for folks to come by and make donations this Saturday notes that Allison first needs to go to Boston in August to see orthopedic doctors to determine what may be needed in a spine surgery. She is then to travel to Cincinnati for treatment to help control the advancement of the disease.

Event organizers are asking for folks to stop by the Ekom Beach Fire Station near the corner of Ekom Beach and Neely Ferry roads starting at 8:00 this Saturday morning.

Early Morning Arrest Alleges Cutting June 30th

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrested a woman early this morning in connection with an alleged knife cutting in late June. 51-year-old Linda Gail Manley of 30 Huff Creek Drive, Pelzer was charged with Assault and Battery 2nd Degree. An investigation by Deputy Perry is cited as giving evidence that on June 30th in Laurens County Ms. Manley assaulted another woman by striking her and cutting her with a knife. Linda Gail Manley was being held this morning, pending a bond hearing.

Theft of Tool Used by Mission Group

An arrest was made yesterday in connection with the theft of a power saw being used by a mission group to repair a Cross Hill area home last month. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office booked 49-year-old Carlton Clayton Fuller of 3643 Harris Springs Road, Cross Hill on a charge of Petit Larceny. Deputy Michael Polson states that on June 20th Mr. Fuller took a Craftsman saw valued at $225. Carlton Clayton Fuller was released on a $1,087 personal recognizance bond.

A co-defendant was also mentioned in the warrant.

Possession with Intent to Distribute

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday arrested a man on a “Marijuana Possession with Intent” charge. 50-year-old Michael Robert O’Conner of 220 Mill Rock Church Road, Gray Court was initially issued a ticket by Deputy M.R . Crain Jr. charging him with Improper Vehicle License at 9:15 yesterday morning near the intersection of Geddy Road and Mill Rock Church Road. A warrant was served also charging him with attempt to Possess or Manufacture Marijuana yesterday with Intent to Distribute. Michael Robert O’Conner was being held overnight, pending arraignment.

Unlawful Entry of Closed Area

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday arrested a man for an alleged illegal entry Saturday. 33-year-old Gary Lee Campbell Jr. of 210 Moultrie Street, Joanna was charged with Trespassing – Unlawful Entry into Enclosed Places. Deputy Adam Galloway states that on July 8th, 2017 Mr. Campbell entered fenced and posted property of Ledbetter’s Automotive while the business was not open for business. Gary Lee Campbell Jr. was released yesterday afternoon on a $2,000 personal recognizance bond.

Court Order Re: Obstructing Justice Charge

An Anderson man was placed in the Laurens County Detention Center yesterday on orders from General Sessions Court. 54-year-old John Phillip Morehead of 2205 West Whitaker Street, Anderson was served with a Bench Warrant from Laurens County General Sessions Court which states that on June 19th, 2015 Morehead failed to be present in court for an initial appearance on a charge of Obstructing Justice. He is to remain in custody until he is discharged by due course of law.

Simple Assault Alleged Late Monday

One Laurens Villa woman’s assault on another resident of the apartment complex was alleged with a Laurens City Police arrest late yesterday. 19-year-old Alexis Tonay Jenkins of 309 Exchange Drive was issued a ticket charging her with Simple Assault at 8:13 pm. She was being held overnight, pending a bond hearing.

Suspect Barricades Himself Following Assault

Bond was denied Friday following a man’s alleged assault on his girlfriend the night before. Laurens City Police issued a ticket charging 34-year-old Jason Darrell Byrd of 89 2nd Street, Laurens with Resisting Arrest at 11:00 Thursday night. They charged him with Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature and Breach of Peace, Aggravated in Nature.

Warrants cited an investigation by Officer Gambrell as indicating that on July 6th Byrd caused severe and traumatic fear of life to the victim by displaying and advancing towards her with a knife, with malice intent. He also allegedly made comments concerning death to the victim while holding a knife about the shoulder region in an aggressive manner. The victim reportedly suffered minor injury, and her clothing was damaged during the allegedly violent attack. The defendant and victim are in a relationship and lived with each other at the incident location on Second Street.

In the Breach of Peace of a High and Aggravated Nature warrant, Byrd is accused of disturbing and disrupting the tranquility of the neighborhood due to his violent actions and that he barricaded himself within his residence, resulting in law enforcement officers from multiple agencies responding to the scene on Second Street.

While bond was denied on the Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature charge, a $5,000 bond was set on the Breach of Peace, High and Aggravated Nature warrant. A $1,000 personal recognizance bond was set on the Resisting Arrest ticket.

When Jason Darrell Byrd was booked overnight for Laurens Police, the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office served him with a warrant charging him with Assault and Battery 2nd Degree from an alleged assault earlier this year on March 5th. Byrd is accused of hitting a victim in the face twice with a bottle, causing a large laceration, and also allegedly causing a vehicle to be backed down into a ravine. An $8,000 cash or surety bond was set on that charge. Mr. Byrd remained in the Laurens County Detention Center today.

Attempted Murder by Auto Friday

An alleged attempted assault by auto led to an Attempted Murder charge for a Laurens man. Laurens City Police arrested 46-year-old Eddie Gene Bagwell of 296 West Patton Road, Laurens Saturday. Officer Bryant Cheek served warrants charging Mr. Bagwell with Attempted Murder and Breach of Peace, High and Aggravated in Nature.

Officer Cheek states that on July 7th at 225 East Main Street in Laurens one Eddie Gene Bagwell did with malice and aforethought attempt to kill another man by accelerating his 1990 Ford Mustang at a high rate of speed into the victim. The victim was reportedly walking away, down a hill with his back turned to the subject. Officer Cheek stated that Mr. Bagwell breached the peace on July 7th by accelerating his black Mustang into the victim in front of witnesses, and that this inferred terror upon the public.

Bond was denied on the Attempted Murder charge. A $10,000 cash or surety bond was set on the Aggravated Breach of Peace warrant. Eddie Gene Bagwell remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.