Laurens High NJROTC Champions at Kings Mountain

The Laurens High School NJROTC Orienteering Team competed in the 23rd Annual Blue Ridge Orienteering Meet this past weekend at Kings Mountain State Park, taking the Overall Championship of 19 teams in the toughest course in the Southeast. Senior Ben Carter led the Raiders Varsity team, taking 2nd Place on the Male Varsity Course. Brianna Roberts took 4th place on the Female Varsity Course. Trevor Neal and Jesse Baker also contributed to the score for the varsity team who took 4th place on the Varsity Course. Commander Anthony Linardi praised members of the JV Orange team for their performance at Kings Mountain, as well as the Freshman team.

In the final awards, the LDHS NJROTC cadets were thrilled when named the 1st Place Winners and Overall Champions from the tough competition.

Four Jailed on Probation Violation Charges

State Pardon, Probation and Parole yesterday placed two men and two women in the Laurens County Detention Center on charges that they were in violation of the terms of their probationary release from jail.

25-year-old Shawna Carlea Stone of 1349 Neely Ferry Road, Laurens was accused of changing her residence without consent of her supervising agent and of testing positive for marijuana, methamphetamine and amphetamines yesterday. She is also accused of associating with others who have a criminal record and of being behind on required payments. Ms. Stone was being held with a bond set at $75,000.

30-year-old Brian Adam Lambert of 568 Mt. Pleasant Estates Road, Laurens is accused of failing to report on September 12th and October 5th and of moving without his agent’s knowledge or permission, moving to an unknown location, thereby absconding supervision. He’s also accused of failing to pay required fees and failing to pay $3,549 in restitution.

21-year-old Tonda Burdett of 1986 Arnold Lane, Waterloo is accused of failing to report to the office on October 3rd as instructed, failing to notify her agent of change in her address, testing positive for certain drug use yesterday, failing to pay fees as required and generally for failing to follow the advice and instructions of her agent.

34-year-old Avery Royshun Davis of Apple Orchard Road, Clinton is accused of testing positive for marijuana and cocaine on October 3rd and being behind on various fees. His alleged failure to follow advice and instructions of his agent was cited as constituting a violation of his home arrest agreement.

Brian Adam Lambert, Tonda Burdett and Avery Royshun Davis were held overnight, awaiting bond hearings today.


Arrest Alleges Waterloo Domestic Assault

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office served domestic violence charges alleging an assault a woman yesterday. 21-year-old Ryan Matthew Hodges of 105 Big Rock Road, Waterloo is charged with Domestic Violence 2nd Degree. Deputy Thomas Boyd states that on November 7th Mr. Hodges struck the victim in her face with a closed fist and had the apparent ability to cause physical harm or injury under circumstances that reasonably created fear of imminent peril to the victim. He also allegedly took her phone and broke it, preventing her from calling law enforcement. Ryan Matthew Hodges was being held overnight, awaiting a bond hearing today.

Clinton Approves 3 New “Pursuit-Rated” SUVs for Police

Clinton City Council last night also approved the purchase of three new “Pursuit Rated” SUVs for police work. A bid from Firmin Ford of Laurens, after comparison with state contract prices, was approved. The three new SUVs cost $28,542 each, for a total of $85,626.

WLBG asked Department of Public Safety Director Robin Morse about getting the three new SUVs.  “We’re buying these three to replace the five or six that’s already in the bone yard.”

Chief Morse indicated his department is still having to run some vehicles past their reliable life span.  “Yeah, we’ve got a few still on the road that have seen their life span come, but we’ve got to keep them on the road for right now.”

Answering a question from Councilman Kurkendall, Robin Morse said only this Ford SUV and a Chevy Tahoe are now “Pursuit Rated” SUVs.

Clinton Approves Garbage Truck Purchase

Some folks in Clinton have been wondering if Greater Greenville Sanitation has begun picking up garbage here. The answer is no, but Clinton Public Works has been using one of the Greenville trucks.

Last night, Clinton City Council approved the purchase of that 2008 International truck with a Load Master 25-cubic foot body from Greater Greenville for $35,000. Interim City Manager Dale Satterfield explained for WLBG: “Yes we had in our budget this year to purchase a new garbage truck at a cost of about $165,000. We currently have the opportunity to purchase a pre-owned garbage truck from Greater Greenville Sanitation at a cost of $35,000. The truck’s in excellent condition – a lot of life left in that truck. That’s going to save us quite a bit of money; about $130,000 savings with just that purchase. That will allow us to take one of our good cab & chassis and put new equipment on it for a backup garbage truck. Total savings in all of that to the City of Clinton is going to be about sixty to seventy thousand dollars.”

The new Loadmaster garbage rig for a currently owned truck is being purchased from Amik Equipment Company.

Man Charged with Two Burglaries of One Clinton Residence

Clinton Public Safety yesterday arrested a local man on allegations that he broke into another man’s residence twice this year. 44-year-old Marque Delepre Simmons of 111 North Bell Street, Clinton was served with two warrants charging him with 1st Degree Burglary.

Detective Shane Prather states that on August 12th and again on October 10th Marque D. Simmons entered a dwelling in the nighttime hours with intent to commit a crime, stating that without permission he entered the premises. These residential burglaries reportedly occurred at the same residence in the 500 block of West Walnut Street.

Marque Delepre Simmons was being held overnight, awaiting a bond hearing today.

Possession of Stolen Vehicle

The Highway Patrol yesterday arrested a man on charges of being in possession of a stolen vehicle this past Sunday. 29-year-old Sean Alan Robertson of 3200 Grandview Drive, Simpsonville was charged with Possession of a Stolen Vehicle. A warrant states that the investigation of Trooper Sprouse indicates that on November 5th in Laurens County Mr. Robertson was in possession of a stolen vehicle, valued between $2,000 and $10,000, and was involved in a collision in Laurens County. Robertson is accused of being in possession of a 2017 Yamaha motorcycle that was confirmed to be stolen. Sean Alan Robertson was being held overnight, awaiting a bond hearing.

Failure to Show for Four Accessory Before Felony Charges

The Sheriff’s Office booked a Belton man in the Laurens County Detention Center yesterday for General Sessions Court. 47-year-old Frank Aaron Evans Jr. of 304 Kay Street, Belton was served with four General Sessions Bench Warrants which state that Mr. Evans failed to appear for General Sessions Court this past July to face four Counts of Accessory Before a Felony. Mr. Evans was being held until he is discharged by due course of law.

SC Has 45 Fewer Fatalities, Laurens County Has 15 More

With last Thursday night’s Pedestrian fatality on US 76 east of Laurens and Saturday morning’s fatal car wreck south of Clinton on Old Milton Road, Laurens County remains in the top ten counties of South Carolina, according to the state’s Department of Public Safety weekly tally of traffic deaths.

Saturday’s early-morning fatality was one of eight people who died over the weekend across the state. These traffic deaths bring our state-wide total for 2017, as of midnight Sunday, to 817. Two of these deaths were pedestrians, killed from 6:00 Friday evening until midnight Sunday night.

These 817 deaths still represent a decrease in fatalities across the state this year, down from 862 from this time in 2016.

As of November 5th, the 817 traffic fatalities across the state include 549 motor vehicle occupants. 268 of these did not have their seat belts on.

Pedestrian deaths are up this year, statewide; after 120 pedestrians killed on roadways in 2016, we have 125 who died on state roads this year.

Motorcycle and bicycle highway fatalities are down for this year. From 131 this time in 2016, we have 102 motorcycle deaths as of November 5th, 2017. Bicycle fatalities in traffic across the state have dropped from 22 last year to 16 here in 2017.

Laurens County’s traffic fatalities as of Midnight Sunday totaled 28 people. That does not count the fatal wreck on US 25 in Western Laurens County around 6:14 Monday morning.

With 28 fatalities as of midnight Sunday night, Laurens County is now tied with Berkley County with the 9th highest fatalities in the state.

Other counties with more fatalities include Aiken with 29, Anderson with 35 and both Richland and Lexington counties with 39 each.  Spartanburg County now has the 4th highest number of traffic fatalities in the state, with 43. Greenville County is 3rd with 53. Charleston has 54 fatalities while Horry County, with 56 traffic fatalities thru midnight Sunday night, has been the deadliest county in the state to date.

Shooting Death Ruled Homicide

The death of a Laurens man early Sunday morning has been ruled Homicide, following an autopsy conducted today.

Laurens County Coroner Nick Nichols said that 35-year-old Michael Eric McCraney of 171 Colonial Acres Road, Laurens was struck by two .410 shotgun blasts. One to his neck was determined as the cause of death.

Laurens County Sheriff’s Officers were dispatched to a home on Colonial Acres at 12:45 Sunday morning, and reported finding the deceased lying in a pool of blood.

The Sheriff’s Office was working with the 8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office regarding any charges from the fatal shooting. The investigation continues.

One Killed in Western Laurens County This Morning

A Greenwood man died this morning in a two-pickup wreck in Western Laurens County, some five miles north of Ware Shoals.

Lance Corporal Justin Sutherland of the Highway Patrol said the wreck occurred at about 6:14 this morning on US Highway 25 near Cleve Knight Road. He said a 1999 Mazda pickup was traveling south on US 25 by 24-year-old David Raines of Belton and a 1996 Chevrolet pickup was traveling north on US 25. Trooper Sutherland said that the Mazda pickup crossed over the center line into the northbound lane of travel and collided with the Chevy pickup. Mr. Raines was injured and transported to Greenville Memorial Hospital.

The deceased driver of the Chevy pickup was identified by Laurens County Chief Deputy Coroner Vickie Cheek as 50-year-old Jeffery Allen Morris of 508 Bond Avenue, Greenwood. She said Mr. Morris was pronounced dead at the scene of the wreck at 13379 Highway 25, and that cause of death was blunt force trauma to his head and chest.

Trooper Sutherland said indicated the fatality was not wearing a seat belt, but was entrapped in his pickup.

Fatal Shooting under Investigation

(Story Updated Above – Shooting Ruled Homicide)

The fatal shooting of a 35-year-old Laurens man this weekend is now under the investigation of the Laurens County Sheriff’s and Coroner’s Offices and the 8th Circuit Solicitor. Laurens County Chief Deputy Jarvis Reeder said Deputies responded to the 100 block of Colonial Acres around 12:45 Sunday morning on report of a shooting incident. He said that on arrival, Deputies entered the home and observed a deceased white male laying in a pool of blood.

Laurens County Coroner Nick Nichols identified the victim as 35-year-old Michael Eric McCraney of 171 Colonial Acres Road, Laurens. Nichols said an autopsy would be conducted this morning. Death was pronounced at 2:20 Sunday morning.

No charges in connection with the fatal shooting were noted yesterday. The case remains an active investigation, with the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office, the Coroner’s Office and the 8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office are working together in this investigation.

Arrest in Fatal Hit and Run

The Highway Patrol Friday arrested a suspect in the fatal hit-and-run that occurred on US 76 near Holly Grove Church Road around 11:35 last Thursday night. The Laurens County Coroner’s Office Saturday announced the identity of the pedestrian victim as 55-year-old Timothy Smith, a homeless person from the Laurens Area. Smith had reportedly been treated in the ER at Laurens County Hospital and was walking toward Laurens when he was fatally struck by a vehicle.

The Highway Patrol Friday arrested 25-year-old Tevin Fitzgerald Boyd of 34 G & S Lane, Clinton and charged him with Traffic Hit & Run involving death and with Driving Too Fast for Conditions.

One warrant states that Boyd was driving too fast for conditions in that he ran off the road on US 76 and struck Timothy Smith as Smith was walking.

Another warrant states that the investigation of Trooper McCord indicates that on November 2nd one Tevin Fitzgerald Boyd, while driving a vehicle involved in an accident involving death, failed to stop or remain at the scene of the accident to provide aid and information, as is required by law.

Tevin Fitzgerald Boyd was released Saturday afternoon on cash or surety bonds of $5,000 on the Hit and Run charge and $232 on the Speeding case.

Criminal Sexual Conduct

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man Friday on allegations of a sexual encounter with a child almost eight years ago. 27-year-old Roger Dale Knight of 3342 Warrior Creek Church Road was charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor. He’s accused of engaging in sexual battery by fondling the privates of a female under age 11 in December, 2009. With a cash or surety bond set at $50,000, Roger Dale Knight remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Water &  Sewer Repairs Before Paving

In the summer of 2018 the South Carolina Highway Department plans to repave South Broad Street in Clinton from Downtown at Carolina Avenue out to Jacobs Highway (SC 56), at a cost expected to exceed $2 million. Before the new pavement project, the City wants to repairs to water and sewer lines under this portion of South Broad.

Clinton Public Works has experienced multiple leaks and clogs with water and sewer lines on South Broad in the Downtown area. These failures are due to the age of the cast iron water lines and clay sewer pipes. These are deemed to have reached the end of their useful life and are in desperate need of repair. The frequent need to go under the street and make repairs of these lines has reportedly led to numerous potholes along South Broad Street.

A statement from Public Works indicates that while they realize that many of Clinton’s water and sewer lines need repair, they want to complete repair to the lines on South Broad before next summer’s repaving of the street.

Plans are to replace the old 8-inch cast iron water line with an equal or larger size line of new material. During planning, they are to also look to see if it’s possible to move the water line outside the area to be paved. In addition to connecting to other lines this water main now serves, the water portion of this utility work will also connect all intersection side street waterlines with this new main line. Since these side streets are not now connected to the South Broad main line, this should promote better water circulation, flow and pressure in the downtown area.

The project will also include sewer rehabilitation along this stretch of South Broad. During a survey and evaluation phase for this project, the sewers will be cleaned and inspected to determine how to prioritize repairs. A design will then include spot repairs, new trench construction and trenchless construction techniques to ensure the sewers in the area to be paved will not require repair in the foreseeable future. Clinton Utilities does not plan to move the sewer lines from under the paved street.

The utility repair project for South Broad will patch any pavement disturbed in the work, preparing the street for the SCDOT pavement this coming summer.

Realizing residents may have questions about this work, Clinton’s Interim City Manager Dale Satterfield will be in the dining room at Whiteford’s Drive-In this Thursday, November 9th from 3:30 until 5:30 to answer questions anyone may have about the project.

Nighttime Burglary

A nighttime burglary of a North Harper Street business was alleged with a Laurens City Police arrest yesterday. 32-year-old Randeen Christopher K. Matsuda of 19165 North Highway 221, Laurens was charged with Burglary 2nd Degree.

A warrant citing the investigation of Sgt. Billy Sellers states that on November 4th, 2017 Mr. Matsuda unlawfully forced entrance into a secure business in the nighttime or early morning hours for the sole purpose to commit a larceny. This reportedly occurred Saturday at 646 North Harper Street in Laurens.

Bond was denied on the Burglary charge. Randeen Christopher Matsuda remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Assault on Man Holding Baby

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man Friday for an alleged assault on another man. 23-year-old Christopher Austin Burton of 205 Sumter Street, Joanna was charged with Assault and Battery 2nd Degree.

Deputy Barak Mclain states that on November 3rd Mr. Burton hit the victim in the back of his head with a glass door knob and also by shoving the victim in the face against the wall, while the victim had a baby in his arms.

Christopher Austin Burton was released Saturday on a $10,000 cash or surety bond.

Kidnapping and 1st Degree Assault

A kidnapping and 1st degree assault in Clinton this past summer was alleged for a man arrested Saturday by Clinton Public Safety. 32-year-old Joshua Emmanuel Airline of 62 Covington Drive, Due West was charged with Kidnapping and 1st Degree Domestic Violence in that case, and with

Malicious Damage from another incident back in June.

Mr. Airline is accused of Kidnapping a victim on August 25th by holding her against her will and confining her, dragging her into a bathroom and securing the door to prevent her fleeing. The Kidnapping warrant states that a domestic violence incident occurred as she attempted to flee the location at 100 Clinton Manor Drive.

Joshua Airline is accused of 1st Degree Domestic Violence by striking and choking the victim, restricting her airway, then taking her cell phone, interfering with her ability to contact law enforcement or to request medical attention.  Airline reportedly has a prior conviction for Domestic Violence in the past ten years.

He was also charged with a Malicious Damage incident on another woman’s car at Clinton Manor Drive on June 14th. He allegedly pulled off a window wiper and struck the window of the victim’s vehicle, causing it to shatter.

Joshua Airline remained in custody this morning with cash or surety bonds totaling $15,000 for the Kidnapping and Domestic Violence charges. A PR bond was set for the Malicious Damage.

Stomped Bare Foot with Boots

A domestic assault just over a month ago was alleged with an arrest yesterday. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office charged 49-year-old Socorro Ramerez Vega of 1769 Ranch Road, Laurens with Domestic Violence 2nd Degree.  Deputy Richey states that On October 1st of 2017 at his residence Mr. Vega struck his girlfriend on her right ear and grabbed her by the right arm as she was trying to get away. He also allegedly stomped on her left foot, which was barefoot at the time, with his work boots, tearing off her toenail, and then he reportedly took her cell phone, preventing her from calling law enforcement.

Socorro Ramerez Vega was being held overnight in the Laurens County Detention Center, with a bond hearing expected today. He was also being held for Homeland Security. (ICE)

2 Arrested This Morning Re Vandalism Case

Laurens City Police arrested two people just after midnight this morning from an investigation into Vandalism this past September.

49-year-old Jacqueline Jones Watts of 1577 Rabon Road, Laurens was charged with Vandalism of Property and Resisting Arrest. Officer Bryant Cheek states that based on an investigation of an incident and a voice mail left on the victim’s cell phone, it is believed that on September 2nd the defendant did malicious damage to personal property, with malicious intent. She allegedly destroyed four tires on a 2009 Dodge Charger during an incident at 111 Stuart Street.

Officer Lindsay issued a ticket charging Jaquelin Jones Watts with Resisting Arrest at 5 minutes after midnight this morning at 111 Stuart Street.

Also arrested at 12:05 this morning was 37-year-old Gerard Armand “Rod” Watts of 111 Stuart Street, Laurens. Sgt. Sellers issued a ticket charging Mr. Watts will Hindering Officers by Harboring a Fugitive at 111 Stuart Street this morning.

Jaquelin Jones Watts and Gerard Armand “Rod” Watts were being held this morning, awaiting arraignment.