Teen dies in chase that followed escape attempt
A former Martinez teen died Dec. 27 in a car chase after escaping from a Georgia youth detention center.
Christina Beard, 16, of Lithonia, Ga., escaped from the Georgia Center for Youth, between Reynolds and Butler, the morning of Dec. 26, said Taylor County Sheriff Jeff Watson. Beard stole an employee's car keys and drove off in the employee's vehicle.
A chase continued from Reynolds into Peach County.
The Peach County coroner said when Beard tried to make a turn her car went under a truck. He said she died instantly.
Watson said Beard left a note saying she was "ready to die" and he believed she might have had mental health issues.
Fire damages home; residents escape injury
No one was injured in a fire that destroyed a home near Interstate 20 early Friday morning.
Firefighters were called to 4524 Caliburn Way, off South Old Belair Road, about 5 a.m., said Jeremy Wallen, a spokesman for Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue.
The fire was confined to the kitchen, living room and attic, but heat and smoke damaged the entire home, Wallen said.
Mulch fire started by spontaneous combustion
A large Grovetown-area mulch fire that burned for at least two days started by spontaneous combustion, fire officials believe.
Firefighters responded to Ashbrooke subdivision off William Few Parkway Thursday evening to manage a large pile of burning mulch, including tree stumps, straw and other woody debris from cleared lots in the developing subdivision, said Emergency and Operations Director Pam Tucker.
The pile, estimated to be about 100 feet long, 30 feet tall and 30 feet wide, was pushed into a wooded area.
Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue personnel were at the scene for nearly six hours.
The fire produced thick smoke and burned for about 48 hours before rains likely extinguished it, said fire department spokesman Jeremy Wallen.
The following accounts were taken from reports from The Columbia County Sheriff's Office. Additional reports are available at www.columbia countyso.org:
Woman charged with being drunk in public
A Martinez woman was arrested Saturday after she was caught trying to steal wine from a Martinez grocery store while intoxicated, police said.
Patricia Mary Ann Simmons, 44, of Forest Creek Way, was charged with being drunk in public. She was released from the Columbia County Detention Center later that night after posting a $500 bond, according to jail personnel.
A manager of the Bi-Lo grocery store at 500 Furys Ferry Road called police just after 11 p.m. to report Simmons for shoplifting. A deputy found Simmons on the floor of the store laughing at the manager. Police also noticed a bottle of wine in her purse.
When asked to stand, Simmons tried, but fell back down. Police tried to place her in handcuffs when she stood up again, but Simmons fell back down and started to resist arrest. A deputy blasted her with pepper spray when she tried to bite him.
After being handcuffed, Simmons had to be carried out of the store.
She registered a .301 on a breath alcohol sensor.
Burglar, foiled first time, returns for watch, jewelry
A Martinez man said he interrupted a man trying to break into his home last week and found a message written on his wall after the burglar returned.
The man said that about 5:30 a.m. Dec. 29 he heard the door between his garage and Old Petersburg Road home close but assumed it was his wife, who was supposed to leave at 5 a.m. The man said when he looked into the garage, the light was on but his wife's car was gone.
He went back inside and saw a man outside his kitchen window. He said that when he rushed outside the burglar got into a van parked in his neighbor's driveway. The man called police, but nothing was missing or damaged.
The man said that when he returned home about 4:45 p.m. he found a message written on the living room wall that read, "Got y'all. Sorry, but it was for the money." Clothing had been pulled out of a dresser and an $800 Cartier watch and jewelry were missing.
Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue report for Dec. :
Medical calls, 24; vehicle wrecks, 11; activated fire alarms, nine; wood/brush/grass fires, eight; controlled/unauthorized burns, seven; investigations, five; structure fires, five; assisted citizens, three; vehicle fires, two; and gas line rupture, one.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.