I-20 accident kills driver, sends two people to jail
A Martinez man was killed and two people arrested after an alcohol-related traffic accident Sunday morning on Interstate 20, authorities said.
Joseph Lester Kelley, 30, of Sioux Drive, was pronounced dead at Medical College of Georgia Hospital at 2:48 a.m. from head and chest injuries, said Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins.
Kelley was a passenger in a Ford Escape driven by David Blackwell, 35, of Martinez. Police say Blackwell lost control of his westbound sport utility vehicle at about 2:15 a.m. after it hit the rear of a Volkswagen Jetta between the Belair and Wheeler roads exits. The SUV flipped over and ejected Kelley, Collins said.
Blackwell and the Jetta's driver, Shatara Jones, 21, were charged with driving under the influence. Jones, of Evans, was released from the Columbia County Detention Center on Sunday after posting a $1,100 bond, according to jail personnel. Blackwell also was charged with following too closely and with first-degree vehicular homicide. He was released Sunday after posting a $13,300 bond, jail personnel said.
Death of toddler ruled accidental drowning
An autopsy Monday confirmed that the drowning death of a 2-year-old who fell into a residential pool Saturday was accidental, said Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins.
Bradley W. Miner, of the 400 block of Baker Woods Trail in Martinez, was found by his mother, Christi Hopkins-Miner, just before 10:30 a.m. Saturday, according to authorities.
Police say they believe the toddler wandered outside with the family dogs while his mother was in the shower andmight have been knocked into the pool by a dog.
The autopsy was performed at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab in Atlanta, Collins said.
Columbia County sheriff's Maj. Rick Whitaker said that an investigation into the death was continuing but that he does not anticipate charges to be filed.
The following accounts were taken from reports filed with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office:
Neighbor reports man sniffing Freon
A Martinez woman called police last week to report that her neighbor's son was sniffing Freon from her heating and air conditioning unit.
When deputies arrived, the woman told police the 22-year-old man was in her bushes. A deputy found the man on his hands and knees using a stick to extract Freon from the unit.
The deputy saw the man sniff the cooling gas through his nose and pass out. The deputy woke the man up and dragged him out of the bushes. The man was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital for observation.
A Columbia County magistrate issued a criminal trespass warrant for the man, who had not been arrested Monday, jail records stated.
Accused shoplifter charged with DUI
A Grovetown man was arrested Thursday for driving under the influence after a store clerk said he took food from a convenience store and drove away.
Paul Alex Majerus, 22, of the 5800 block of Jamie Drive, was arrested Thursday evening and charged with DUI and driving without a license, according to jail records. He was being held Tuesday morning on $3,200 bond.
The clerk of Stuckey's at 4099 Jimmie Dyess Parkway in Martinez called police just after 7:45 p.m. to report that a man, later identified as Majerus, entered intoxicated and tried to shoplift food. The clerk told police the man had problems walking when he entered the store and put a pizza, a ham and cheese sandwich, chips and a soda into his shorts pockets.
As Majerus tried to leave, the clerk said, his pants fell down and the pizza fell out of his back pocket. Majerus rapidly left the parking lot in a burgundy passenger car.
Deputies stopped the car on Old Wheeler Court a short time later. Majerus denied taking anything from the store but told deputies one of the other two people in the car could have. Majerus was driving alone, the report stated.
The sandwich and chips were reportedly found on a passenger's seat.
Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue Activity Report for June 3-9:
Structure fires, six; vehicle fires, three; wood/brush/grass fires, three; controlled/unauthorized burn, one; gas line rupture, one; damage from bad weather, one; activated fire alarms, nine; carbon monoxide detector activation, one; medical incidents, 28; CPR in progress, two; electrical incidents, two; various incidents, three; and assist residents, three.
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