Doctor convicted in wreck that killed Lakeside High student
A Richmond County jury deliberated less than an hour on Tuesday before convicting a medical school professor on charges related to a 2003 wreck that killed a Lakeside High School senior.
Dr. Mohammad A. Behzadian, a professor at Medical College of Georgia, was convicted of misdemeanor second-degree vehicular homicide, and driving the wrong way on a divided highway.
Just after 10 p.m. Feb. 28, 2003, Behzadian crashed his vehicle head-on into a Toyota driven by 18-year-old Brandon Layton, who died at the scene of massive internal injuries, the Richmond County Coroner's Office has said.
Behzadian, 60, turned onto River Watch Parkway from Stevens Creek Road intending to go west, but admitted in testimony to turning into the eastbound lanes of the divided highway.
Prosecutors had sought a felony vehicular homicide charge saying the doctor caused the fatal crash while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, or because Behzadian was driving recklessly when he drove the wrong way on the divided highway. With its verdict, the jury disagreed.
Behzadian said he had one glass of wine with dinner, an amount corroborated by the blood alcohol test result of no more than .015, his attorney noted in his closing argument. Neither the attorney nor Behzadian explained the metabolites of stimulant and pain control medicines in the doctor's urine. The defense argued the drugs were no longer in the bloodstream and thus were no longer able to impair his driving that night. Layton's blood tested negative for alcohol and drugs.
The following accounts were taken from reports filed with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office:
Five teens arrested on burglary charges
Five people have been charged in an alleged Tuesday burglary at a Martinez home.
Two Hephzibah teens - Bryan Phillip White, 17, of the 3800 block of Crest Drive, and Jonathan Andrew Prince, 19, of the 3400 block of Morgan Road - along with 18-year-old Gilbert Holland, of the 4200 block of Stone Mill Court in Martinez, have been charged with burglary.
White and Holland each are charged with three counts of burglary, including two other incidents earlier Tuesday, and as of Friday were being held in the Columbia County Detention Center on bonds totalling $30,300. Holland also is being held for a Richmond County probation violation. Prince, who faces one burglary charge, was being held Friday on a $10,100 bond, according to jail personnel.
Two 16-year-old males, from Martinez, also were charged with burglary and were taken to the Regional Youth Detention Center. Both were later released to their parents, said sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris.
A man told deputies he saw a suspicious vehicle parked outside his neighbor's home in the 200 block of Leah Lane, and later saw four young males flee the house from a back door and drive off toward Columbia Road. Deputies responding to the witness' 911 call stopped a car matching the witness' description along Columbia Road.
The witness was taken to the scene of the traffic stop and identified the suspects and the vehicle as the ones he saw in front of his neighbor's home, according to a sheriff's incident report. The owner of the home told deputies two .22-caliber revolvers, three necklaces and a bottle of champagne were taken.
Wrens man arrested on shoplifting
A Wrens man was arrested late Tuesday after deputies say he stole beer and smokeless tobacco from an Evans grocery store.
David Mercer Thompson, Jr., 50, of the 200 block of Williams Street, was charged with shoplifting and was released Wednesday from the Columbia County Detention Center after posting a $1,100 bond, according to jail personnel.
Columbia County deputies responded to the Kroger on Washington Road and found Thompson outside the store talking to an off-duty Richmond County sheriff's deputy who stopped him. Kroger employees identified Thompson as a man who asked for three cans of Skoal smokeless tobacco. The employees told Columbia County deputies that Thompson then walked out of the store with a case of beer without paying for it and a search of his pockets revealed the tobacco, which also was not paid for, according to sheriff's office reports.
Wheelchairs, furniture stolen from Evans home
An Augusta woman told deputies Tuesday that someone burglarized her former Evans residence while she was in the process of moving.
The 78-year-old retiree, who currently resides on Sibley Road, told deputies that someone entered her former home in the 4000 block of Evans to Locks Road and made off with a motorized wheelchair, a manual wheelchair, a headboard and footboard and two lamps.
The theft occurred sometime between Aug. 18 and Tuesday morning.
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