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Sheriff's office using message boards to find speed hot spots

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Sat, 05/16/2015 - 8:04pm

Those electronic message boards posted along the busier thoroughfares in Richmond County recently aren’t just there to remind motorists to watch their speed.

They’re also tattling on speeders.

Since the end of March, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office has set up the message boards as part of its educational phase of traffic enforcement, said Lt. Ra­mone Lamkin. The message it wants to send is simple: Slow down.

“That will serve as a warning, because maybe a patrol car will be there next time to pull you over and give you a citation,” he said.

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American Pharoah wins Preakness Stakes in a romp

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Sat, 05/16/2015 - 6:24pm


BALTIMORE — Minutes before the Preakness, it was an ominous scene at Pimlico Race Course. Thunder and lightning. Wind and rain. A record crowd scrambling for cover. A drenched racetrack.

Nothing – absolutely nothing – was going to stop American Pharoah, especially the competition.

Thunder rumbled as the starting gate opened, and the Kentucky Derby winner took charge early on and overpowered seven rivals, winning by seven lengths to put trainer Bob Baffert back in the Triple Crown groove.

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Man arrested in Augusta tire slashing scam

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 9:49pm

A man suspected in a multicounty tire slashing scam was arrested in Richmond County on Friday, officials said.

Michael Simoneaux, 48, was charged with four counts of misdemeanor theft by deception and five counts of criminal trespass, according to Richmond County jail records. He was being held at the Charles B. Webster Detention Center.

Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris confirmed that Simoneaux was one of the suspects in a number of identical scams throughout the area.

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Truck driver cited in Johnston, S.C., train wreck

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 9:43pm


A truck driver who caused a train wreck in Johnston, S.C., after his tractor-trailer stalled on the tracks was charged Friday with disobeying a permit, officials said.

Trans United driver Thomas Blackiston, of Chesterfield, Mich., was cited for violation of a single trip permit, State Transport Police Cpl. Ronald Heitzenrater said.

The permit was issued for carrying an oversized load, he said. Blackiston violated the conditions of the permit when he failed to comply with a restriction at the railroad crossing on Lee Street in downtown Johnston.

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Time will tell if this is a special crop of 3-year-olds

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 5:00pm

On the back side of Churchill Downs – both before and after the running of the 141st Kentucky Derby two weeks ago – the opinion was voiced repeatedly that this is one of the best and deepest crops of 3-year-olds in many years.

In the aftermath of the first leg of racing’s Triple Crown, Bob Baffert – now a veteran of 16 editions of the Kentucky classic and with a fourth victory in his pocket thanks to the exploits of American Pharoah – simply stated, “This was the toughest Derby I’ve been in.”

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Bond denied for Augusta man accused of killing neighbor

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 4:52pm

Bond was denied Friday for an Augusta man accused in the shotgun slaying of his neighbor.

Walter Lee Johnson, 60, has been in custody since May 5, two days after 49-year-old Marion Utley was gunned down at his home on Norris Lane.

On May 3, Johnson spent the day drinking beer, Assistant District Attorney Garon Muller said. He found his roommate’s shotgun that afternoon and fired the weapon inside the house, Muller said.

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Death sentence in Boston bomb case

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 3:40pm


BOSTON — A jury sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death Friday for the Boston Marathon bombing, sweeping aside pleas that he was just a “kid” who fell under the influence of his fanatical older brother.


Tsarnaev, 21, stood with his hands folded upon learning his fate, decided after 14 hours of deliberations over three days in the nation’s most closely watched terrorism trial since the Oklahoma City bombing case two decades ago.


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Doctor says military failed soldier who killed police officer

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 3:03pm

An Army psychiatrist said Friday that he repeatedly warned Fort Gordon commanders of the dangers of a soldier who ended up shooting and killing a Richmond County sheriff’s deputy before killing himself in 2011.

After four years, Dr. Patrick Lillard, 74, said he could no longer keep quiet about how the military failed Spc. Christopher Hodges and as a result likely contributed to the death of Deputy James “J.D.” Paugh, a motorcycle patrolman whom Hodges shot Oct. 23, 2011, after driving drunk on Bobby Jones Expressway.

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Chick-fil-A working with S.C. highway patrol to reward motorists

Latest from The Augusta Chronicle - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 2:55pm

South Carolina troopers are rewarding motorists with chicken sandwiches and lemonade this summer for wearing a seatbelt.

Chick-fil-A has provided the South Carolina Highway Patrol with 55,000 coupons to thank people for buckling up and putting their children in proper child restraints. The Click’n 4 Chicken campaign, which runs alongside the annual Buckle Up, South Carolina campaign, started this week and will continue through Labor Day.

Officials said they hope it will be a “light-hearted” way to bring attention to a serious issue.

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