Deputy arrested after car-lot wreck
An off-duty Columbia County sheriff's deputy was arrested and fired early Tuesday after he crashed a truck into several vehicles at a Martinez car lot and fled, police said.
Douglas Arthur Buono, 31, of Appling, who had worked for the sheriff's office as a dog handler since June 19, 2003, was charged with hit and run, driving under the influence and driving too fast for conditions, sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said.
The wreck occurred at about 3 a.m. Tuesday at Automobiles of Distinction, in the 3800 block of Washington Road, Morris said. Buono drove his westbound Ford F-350 off the road and slammed into a metal pole, the captain said. The truck then hit a vehicle in the car lot, causing a chain reaction of crashes involving seven vehicles.
Morris said the wreck caused about $75,000 in property damage.
Police say the deputy left the scene before other deputies responded. He was found at a residence on Gordon Highway and taken to the Columbia County Detention Center, where he was released on bonds totaling $3,300.
Morris said Buono's brother, Keith Smith, 23, of Appling, was a passenger in the F-350 but was not charged because he wasn't driving.
The captain said Buono was going home from an Augusta restaurant at the time of the wreck.
Driver charged after bus fight
Police said Tuesday that a Columbia County school bus driver was arrested on simple battery charges after he restrained a child on his bus after an argument between two pupils.
Michael Wayne Wallace, of Martinez, 34, was taken into custody March 13 and released on $1,000 bond, according to a sheriff's office report.
Sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said the incident occurred Feb. 9, after two 9-year-olds threatened each other.
The pupils, whose names were not released, were charged March 13 with making terroristic threats and were released to their parents.
According to a police report, Wallace had told one of the 9-year-olds to quit talking and sit down. He brought the bus to an abrupt stop after the child refused to obey.
He walked to the back of the bus, cursed at the boy and then put his hands on him, police said.
Morris said Wallace reportedly used his hands several times to "stiff arm" one of the 9-year-olds to make him stay in his seat, which the child refused to do.
Columbia County school officials said Wallace did not follow procedure in the incident and that he resigned the day after the incident.
The school system's outlined procedure for such incidents is for the driver to pull the bus over in a safe location and call the bus shop and the sheriff's office if things get out of hand, a school official said.
A driver is allowed to touch a pupil only if that child is harming someone, in which case the driver can perform a maneuver called a "basket hold,'' the official said.
The following account was taken from reports filed with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office:
Shoplifting arrests at Evans Wal-Mart
Columbia County sheriff's deputies arrested two people Tuesday on shoplifting charges after they were accused of trying to take 117 DVDs from the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Evans without paying.
Shirley Ann Furtick, 34, of Blythewood, S.C., and Issac Ricardo Lewis, 19, of Columbia, were charged with one felony count of shoplifting and both were released after posting $2,600 bond each at the Columbia County Detention Center as of 5 p.m. Wednesday.
A loss prevention manager told deputies she spotted Furtick place the DVDs into a cooler, and attempted to stop her outside the store after she failed to pay for them. Furtick tried to flee in a Lincoln Navigator but was caught nearby by deputies.
Lewis was charged, police said, for assisting Furtick by providing her a receipt for various items so she could leave the store.
The DVDs included 21 copies of Chicken Little; 25 copies of Derailed; 22 copies of Barbie: Mermaidia; 32 copies of Walk the Line; 10 copies of Jarhead; six copies of Capote and one copy of A History of Violence. They were valued at more than $2,000.
Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue Activity Report for the week of March 12-18:
Structure fires, six; woods fires, five; grass fires, six; vehicle fires, two; controlled burns, eight; fire alarms, nine; natural gas leak, one; medical calls, 13; rescue calls, 11; investigations, five; public service, one and other, three.
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