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Top Stories
February 24, 2005 Issue

Wrens firefighters look up at the MCG Lifenet helicopter as it searches for a place to land near the fatal accident at the intersection of Highway 17 and Highway 80 North of Wrens.

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Two killed in weekend wrecks

Other Top Stories
Alleged drug dealer busted in Glascock
Rabid raccoon infects dogs; Avera man has to get treatment

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Two killed in weekend wrecks

By Parish Howard

Two Burke County residents were killed and a third was hospitalized after two separate motor vehicle accidents this weekend on opposite ends of Jefferson County.

Friday night emergency personnel responded to an accident on Highway 17 north of Wrens at the intersection of Highway 80 in front of Jefferson Electric Membership Cooperation where a car was mangled by its collision with an 18-wheeler.


Twice, firefighters, while attempting to extricate the occupants, had to extinguish flames where burning gasoline running from the vehicle ignited grass on the shoulder of the road.

Jefferson County EMS Director Mike Bennett said the vehicle's passenger, Ezekiel Richardson, 51, of Waynesboro, died on the scene due to multiple system trauma.

At first two helicopters were requested, but when it was determined that the passenger was not a candidate for flight, one was canceled.

The Medical College of Georgia Life Net helicopter landed in the Jefferson EMC parking lot and airlifted the driver, 46-year-old Robert Abrams to the hospital's trauma unit.

According to Bennett, Abrams was treated for multiple system trauma and severe head injuries. The hospital confirmed that he was still in the trauma unit as of Tuesday afternoon.

"From what I gathered the two men had been doing some construction work in Atlanta and were on their way home," Bennett said. "They apparently ran the stop sign on Highway 80 where it meets Highway 17 and ran under the second vehicle's trailer."

Saturday evening Jefferson County Sheriff's Office received a call reporting an erratic driver in the Bartow area weaving in the roadway, Bennett said.

Responding to the call, a county deputy witnessed the 1993 Lexus LS 400 run off the right side of GA Highway 171, strike two culverts and begin flipping.

The driver, Vivian Johnson Sapp, 58, of Sardis, was ejected from the vehicle.

She was transported to Jefferson Hospital's ER where she was pronounced dead a short time later.

Bennett said that it was later determined that Sapp had a medical condition that may have contributed to the accident and that no alcohol was involved.

Alleged drug dealer busted in Glascock

Three Glascock County residents arrested in two separate drug-related incidents

By Parish Howard

Over the last couple of weeks the Glascock County Sheriff's Office has taken more than a pound of marijuana, .8 grams of powdered cocaine and .4 grams of crack cocaine and a small amount of methamphetamines off the streets.

With three drug related arrests since Feb. 10, newly elected Sheriff Dean Couch says he is only getting started.


"I have something to say to anyone who manufactures, buys, sales or transports illegal drugs in Glascock County," Sheriff Couch said Monday afternoon, "you need to find somewhere else to go, because if you don't I will find somewhere else to send you. I'm not going to tolerate drugs in Glascock County. I'm going to clean this county up, if I can."

Officers served a no-knock search warrant around 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 18 at 11374 Hwy 80, outside of Warrenton.

During a search of the premises officers discovered several small clear bags containing a green leafy substance in the closet of 23-year-old Bryan J. Harris's bedroom. Officers also found two small clear bags in the pocket of a coat belonging Harris, which contained a white powdery substance and a white rock-like substance. These substances later field tested positive for marijuana, cocaine and crack cocaine.

"Money was found hidden all over the bedroom area, under the bed, closet, desk, dresser and in a yellow cookie can," according to the incident report. "A search of Harris' vehicle in the back of the residence, a burgundy Chevrolet Caprice, a large clear bag was found containing 10 small clear bags and one large ziplock bag containing a green leafy substance."

Harris was charged with possession of powdered cocaine, crack cocaine and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Officers also charged Jametta Shantae Shields, 22, of the same address with possession of marijuana after two small bags of a "green leafy substance and rolling papers" were found in her purse, a half-smoked blunt was found in her coat and six small burned rolled marijuana cigarettes were found in her bedroom.

In all, Sheriff Couch's department seized over a pound of marijuana, .8 grams of powdered cocaine, .4 grams of crack cocaine, $2,412.39 and a vehicle they say had been used to sell and purchase controlled substances.

In addition to three officers from the Glascock County Sheriff's Office, Couch had assistance from two Wrens Police officers and K9 unit, two Jefferson County Sheriff's deputies, two Georgia State Patrolmen, one DMVS officer and one DNR game warden.

"We've done real well," Sheriff Couch said. "I appreciate all the support from the different agencies in our efforts to stamp out drugs in Glascock County. That was one of my promises in my campaign."

Sheriff Couch said he also appreciated the support of Glascock County Magistrate Judge Misty May who also joined officers on the scene.

"We needed someone to search a female and she agreed to come," Sheriff Couch said. "She stayed with us through the whole thing until we finished up."

In a separate incident, on Feb. 10, Glascock County officers arrested David William Wells, 28, of Mitchell on criminal trespass and obstruction charges that led to the discovery of a small amount of marijuana and methamphetamines.

Early that morning a deputy was dispatched to the Old Mitchell Road area in reference to a subject hallucinating.

According to the police report, Wells described children turning to smoke and disappearing. The officer then spoke via telephone to the subject's stepfather who stated he believed the subject to be hallucinating as a result of coming off methamphetamine.

The officer said he then told the subject to "calm down and try to sleep it off and not disturb any other residents." Wells agreed to comply, the report says, but the officer was called back a short time later when a neighbor complained that Wells had forced entry through the front door of her residence, still obviously in a delusional state.

After returning the subject to his own residence and again telling him to "stay home," the officer decided to remain in the neighborhood to be sure Wells complied. A short time later he found him out of doors, walking towards another residence.

"I then advised dispatch of my location and took the subject into custody for disorderly conduct and transported him to McDuffie County Jail," the officer said in his report.

Later that day Well's residence was searched and officers discovered a clear bag of marijuana and a small clear bag containing a white substance. A bag containing a similar white substance was also found in the dash pocket of a vehicle parked under the carport.

Wells was later charged with possession of marijuana and methamphetamine.

Rabid raccoon infects dogs; Avera man has to get treatment

Health Department spokeswoman warns against animals acting unusually

By Parish Howard

An attack by a rabid raccoon has resulted in three dogs and a cat having to be put down and an Avera man beginning the vaccination regimen to counteract possible exposure to the rabies virus.

Nathaniel Newsome says he first saw the raccoon around 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 11, while on his way home from working the midnight shift.


"I saw this coon in the road right there before you get to our house," Newsome said. "I slowed down and he kind of bristled up at me. Then he took off into a sewer drain. I was tired and kind of sleepy so I went on to the house."

That night, the raccoon returned to their yard.

"We were in the house and heard the dogs start hollering," Newsome said. "So, we went out and there it was, locked down on the dog."

The raccoon, estimated to be around 16 to 17 pounds, was fighting with the family's Britney spaniel, Rusty, and mixed breed named Casey in the driveway near the house.

By the time Newsome and his son-in-law, Jason Bazemore, were able to get to the animals, the raccoon was under the spaniel with its head buried under Rusty's shoulder. Newsome grabbed a hoe and Bazemore, also of Avera, grabbed a hammer and the two attempted to separate the animals. While neither of the two men were bitten or scratched, when Bazemore finally was able to club the rabid raccoon, blood from the injury splattered onto his hand.

The family quarantined Rusty and Casey, the dogs which had been involved in the fight.

Sometime over the next few days Casey got out of the pen and fought with Bazemore's dogs.

Local vetinarian Chip Pritchard came out to give Rusty a booster shot, but it was too late for the other animals. In the end, three of the dogs and a cat, whose rabies vaccinations had been out of date, had to be euthanized.

As a precaution Bazmore has begun to receive the nine-shot regimen that will protect him from the rabies virus. He said he received his first shot in the arm last week, followed by three shots in the hip. The remaining shots, which he said he should complete by Feb. 28, will all be in the arm. The series of vaccination shots should last him 50 years.

Bazemore said they have since had to wash down the driveway with Clorox and throw away everything the infected animals may have handled.

Jefferson County Health Department's Belinda Sheram warns residents about the dangers of rabies exposure.

"If you see a wild animal acting strangely, coming onto residential property in broad day light, acting as if it has no fear of humans, destroy it, because that is not normal behavior," she said. "When you destroy an animal, try not to cause too much damage to the head, as laboratories need enough brain tissue to examine to determine whether or not the animal has the rabies virus."

Newsome said that his wife has since seen a fox around 10 a.m. in the same area the raccoon was first spotted.

"I told her; that isn't right," Newsome said. "Foxes and raccoons are animals you usually only see at night. They aren't normally out in the day time. I've told myself several times I should have taken care of that raccoon the first time I saw it. It really turned things upside down over here."

Sheram also warns against getting a possibly infected animal's blood or saliva on one's skin or especially, in open wounds.

"A lot of people think opossums carry the rabies virus, but they very rarely do," she said. "The main carriers in our area would be raccoons, foxes, bats, coyotes and infected domestic animals."

Sheram recommends anyone who suspects an animal of being rabid call the Jefferson County Health Department at (478) 625-3716. After regular working hours, she recommends residents quarantine any dogs, cats or other domestic animals which may have been infected, and keep any wild animal remains in cold storage until a representative from the health department can be notified.

"I will make arrangements for the remains to be sent to a lab," she said. "The main thing though, to prevent the spread of the virus, is to vaccinate your animals. Make sure they have their shots. But, anytime you are bitten by a wild animal, you should go to the emergency room immediately."

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