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April 10, 2003 Issue

Wrens resident Curtis Wynn is arrested at the intersection of Kelly Quarter Road and Old Stapleton Road April 3. Between 7-8 grams of suspected crack was found under the back seat of his vehicle.

Four busted with crack

Together, busts netted approximately one-half ounce of crack cocaine

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

Four Wrens men were charged in separate drug-related arrests April 3 and 4. Seized in the arrests was approximately one-half ounce of suspected crack cocaine.

Curtis Wynn, 27, of Wrens, was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, according to a spokesman for the sheriff's office.

The arrest occurred at the intersection of Kelly Quarter Road and Old Stapleton Road west of Wrens near 3 p.m.

Sheriff's deputies and investigators were positioned at the location after receiving information from a confidential source that Wynn was distributing crack cocaine and would be passing through the intersection.

Officers approached Wynn's car as he came to a stop at the intersection. The county's drug dog was brought to the vehicle and alerted to the presence of suspected drugs.

Deputies removed a small rock of suspected crack that Wynn had in his hand when he exited the car. Officers searching the vehicle found a plastic bag containing approximately one-quarter ounce of suspected crack cocaine hidden under the back seat, investigators said.

When being interviewed by deputies at the scene, Wynn said he did not smoke crack but added that he dealt it, investigators said.

Wynn was currently on probation for another conviction.

Also arrested at the same site was Daniel Marcus Birt, 18, of Wrens, who was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and transporting non-taxed alcohol, according to investigators.

Officers checked a number of vehicles while at the scene while processing Wynn's vehicle.

The vehicle driven by Birt approached the intersection from the direction of Wrens. Birt voluntarily gave officers a small blue pill bottle located in the vehicle's center console after the drug dog alerted on the vehicle. The bottle contained less than one gram of suspected crack cocaine. Birt told deputies he did not use crack, but that it was intended for someone else. Birt also informed officers that a partly-filled, pint liquor bottle in the vehicle contained moonshine, said investigators.

Earlier in the day in Wrens, officers had arrested 49 year-old Wrens resident Johnny King on charges of possession of less than one ounce of suspected crack cocaine, investigators said. Deputies noticed King apparently attempting to hide something under the seat cushion just prior to asking for his license at a traffic stop. King was arrested moments later for driving on a suspended license. Officers subsequently found the suspected crack under the seat cushion.

Little more than 24 hours later deputies and investigators arrested 25 year-old Wrens resident Kelton Williams at a Center Street location. Williams was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.

The arrest came as Williams was in route to Stephens Street to make a delivery of suspected crack cocaine, according to investigators. Williams was approached and voluntarily gave up the suspected crack after investigators asked him if he were willing to give it up, investigators said. Williams handed over approximately five to six grams of suspected crack and less than one ounce of marijuana. Williams was currently on probation for another conviction.

The arrest occurred as a result of information provided by a confidential source, investigators said.

Storm proves deadly on highway

North Carolina man killed in early morning accident

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

A rainy Monday morning along US Highway 1 north of Jefferson County High School became the scene of a head-on traffic accident that claimed the life of a North Carolina man.

Killed at the scene was 25 year-old Yadkinville, North Carolina, resident Jardiel B. Olea after his late model Kia was struck by a Ford Ranger pickup driven by 28 year-old Hephzibah resident Ronald P. Ryan, Jr.

Olea was pronounced dead at the scene at 6:40 a.m. by Coroner Johnny Nelson.

Results from the state crime lab in Atlanta revealed the cause of death to be blunt force trauma injuries, including atlanto-occipital joint dislocation in the base of the skull, Nelson said Tuesday.

Ryan also received multiple blunt force trauma in the accident, resulting in multiple chest and abdominal injuries, significant head injuries, a broken left leg and a broken left arm, Nelson said Monday. Ryan was transported to MCG Hospital for treatment.

The accident occurred when Ryan's vehicle, traveling southbound, entered the northbound lane and struck Olea's vehicle, according to Georgia State Patrol (GSP) Trooper D. S. Peebles. The investigation of the accident by GSP's Reidsville-based Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team #4 is ongoing. Consistent with normal investigation procedure, charges are pending and blood samples were taken to determine if a possible blood-alcohol level might have been a variable in the accident.

Two shot in Louisville home invasion

Suspects are being sought in the robbery attempt

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

A Louisville couple escaped death during a home invasion early Monday morning but suffered gunshot wounds at the hands of two armed men who entered their home in an apparent robbery attempt.

The home invasion occurred between 12:30-1:30 a.m. Monday at the Moore Street residence of Glennis Dukes and John Harris in Wrens Quarters.

Dukes told sheriff's investigators that she and Harris were awakened by two armed men and ordered at gunpoint to go into the living room.

Dukes, age 51, said the men asked them several times if they had money in the house and where it was located.

One of the men held Dukes and Harris, age 25, at gunpoint with a handgun while the other searched the house, investigators said.

After he completed the search, the man exited to search a vehicle outside. Dukes told investigators that, while the other burglar was outside, Harris began struggling with the man holding them at gunpoint.

The gun discharged during the struggle, at which point the burglar searching the car re-entered the house and shot Harris several times with the small caliber rifle. Bullets struck Harris as many as four times, leaving wounds in the torso and left thigh, investigators said.

Simultaneous with the shooting of Harris, the burglar holding the couple at bay approached Dukes, put the gun to her head and fired one round. The bullet struck her in the right temple.

The men fled the house after the shootings, stealing the vehicle upon leaving the property. The stolen vehicle was a primer gray-colored 1985 four-door Chevrolet Caprice classic with a black metal top, investigators said.

Both victims made their way across the street and went to the homes of two neighbors to seek help.

Harris was taken to Jefferson Hospital by neighbors and later transported to MCG Hospital. Dukes was transported by ambulance from a neighbor's home to MCG.

Dukes was able to be interviewed by sheriff's investigators and Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents later Monday.

Investigators said bullet fragments could be seen in X-rays in Dukes' head but the decision by medical personnel to operate had not been made. Investigators said an interview with Harris was anticipated to be delayed for one or more days due to the surgeries. Both Dukes and Harris were listed in stable but guarded condition, investigators said.

Investigators said the armed burglars entered the home after breaking a bedroom window located on the opposite side of the house from where Dukes and Harris were located. Dukes told investigators she did not recognize the men. Investigators added that they do not think the suspects were local residents.

Anyone with information relating to the ongoing investigation is asked to contact Jefferson County Sheriff's Office at (478) 625-7538.

Support Our Troops

Special projects and events to support our soldiers planned

By Parish Howard

Nearly 10 years ago, during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield, 138 Jefferson and Glascock county natives were called to serve their country's military in the Middle East. All 138 came home.

"We hope we're going to be that blessed this time but you never know what's going to happen. We are at war," Jan Marsh, a Louisville resident whose son is serving oversees right now, said to a small group gathered last week to begin planning homefront support for local troops.

The group discussed plans for a special program on Flag Day where they will ask residents to wear red, white and blue.

Other projects included creating care packages and assigning pen pals for soldiers who aren't receiving much mail.

"It means so much to these guys, when they get something. You wouldn't believe how much of a difference it makes," Marsh said. "This whole thing is about the troops. I'm not doing this in support of the war. I'm interested in supporting the men and women we have over there."

The group seemed very interested in promoting the use of patriotic yard signs, ribbons and flags throughout the county.

"I'd love to see ribbons on every tree downtown, on nearly every house and business," Marsh said. "When someone drives through our towns I want them to know that these people really care."

Marsh's group also discussed the creation of a "Wall of Heroes" displaying photos of all local people serving in the war which will be moved around the county.

Both Marsh's group and The News and Farmer/The Jefferson Reporter are trying to gather information on local men and women who have been called to duty.

Both seek name, rank, city of residence and addresses for our local people, active duty military personnel, national guardsmen or reserves who are in anyway serving their country during the current conflict.

The newspaper is planning a special section for the week of April 24 in which it hopes to print this information along with stories on a number of local efforts of support.

For more information on where to send items or names and pictures, or information on how to get involved with these projects, you can contact the newspaper at (478)625-7722 or Marsh during working hours at (478)625-8458.

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Last modified: April 10, 2003