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September 13, 2007 Issue

Bus was bound for WES
County talks of auditing office of assessor
Officers take threats on man's life seriously

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Bus was bound for WES

Head-on collision overturns bus


• None of the 29 Wrens Elementary students seriously injured; driver of truck was air lifted

By Parish Howard
Editor/Publisher

Joe Nelson said he had just finished getting dressed when he heard a loud "kaboom" that shook his house at 6775 Zebina Road.

"It sounded like something had come through the roof," he said. "I ran upstairs and half-way there looked out the window and saw the school bus on its side and the truck all mashed up."

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Joe ran out to help and saw that it was bus 204, the bus he and his wife, Pam, had just put their 4-year-old daughter Kennedy on a short while earlier.

"There was so much smoke at first all you could see was the bus's tires," Pam Nelson said.

"You could hear the children screaming from up here."

Mrs. Nelson said one of the children on the bus was able to open the back emergency door and her husband began helping the children out.

She said that with the bus lying on its side, the children had to walk down the right side windows to reach her husband at the back door.

"I'm an RN," Mrs. Nelson said. "So I just started triaging them right there, separating them into groups of who was injured and who was not."

Her husband said the children were frightened at first, but soon calmed down.

When the bus overturned in the north-bound ditch the children, all students of Wrens Elementary, were all thrown to one side.

"They were lucky none of them were seriously injured," Mrs. Nelson said.

"Several of them had cuts and bruises, but nothing looked serious.

I could see the bus driver (Nancy Usry) had a cut on her arm that was bleeding, but she wouldn't leave them.

She didn't get off the bus until all the children were safely off."

According to Senior Trooper Earl Anderson with the Georgia State Patrol, the accident occurred around 7 a.m. Tuesday, when a white pickup truck driven by John Judson Taylor, 50, traveling north on Zebina Road, crossed into the southbound lane and struck the Jefferson County School bus head on.

The collision pushed the bus into the east ditch where it overturned on its passenger side.

"Neither vehicle appears to have gone very far from the point of impact, so I don't believe that speed was much of a factor in the accident, just the size of the vehicle," Trooper Anderson said.

School officials were on the scene shortly after the accident and a second bus was sent to transport all of the children to Jefferson Hospital where they were all checked by physicians.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Taylor, the driver of the pickup truck, had been admitted to the Medical College of Georgia and was listed in good condition.



County talks of auditing office of assessor

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

The commissioners discussed asking the state to audit the county’s assessor’s office during the Jefferson County Commission’s work session held Wednesday, Sept. 5.

Commissioner Tommy New said in defense of the tax assessor’s office and the tax assessor’s board, he wasn’t certain he understood the tax assessing process and that he doesn’t think anybody can keep up with how fast the price of land is going up. “I work in Glascock County and land has gone from $500 an acre to $1,500 an acre,” he said. “Let’s do whatever needs to be done to give the assessor’s office the information they need.”

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Commission Chairman William Rabun said, “This audit is not to make anybody look bad.”

Kay Heilig, a citizen who was present at the work session had already made some comments during the meeting about this issue and had said he strongly recommended a performance appraisal of the tax assessor’s office.

“It would make me the happiest man in the world if they came back and said everybody’s doing a wonderful job,” he said. “We don’t know what’s what until that’s done.”

Commissioner Johnny Davis said he knew some people who have benefited from the increase in land values by buying property and then selling at a profit. “Sometimes as much as 100 percent profit,” he said, adding he told them not to complain about the increase in property values when they contributed to that very increase.

New said he wanted to be certain the auditing was performed by the state rather than a peer review from another county. “It is to help us and help the tax assessor’s office,” he said, requesting the issue be placed on the agenda for the regular meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 11.

At the end of the session, another citizen said he had a problem with the selection of the 13 parcels of land the state used to review the county’s assessments.

“The trending in real estate is moving downward,” he said. This citizen said there are certain factors in the valuation of property. He mentioned a program he said helps a few at the cost of many.

“In my opinion, they’re doing all they can,” New said of the assessor’s office and board.



Officers take threats on man's life seriously

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

A 19-year-old resident of Keysville, Jamol Marquise Anfield, was arrested recently by Jefferson County Sheriff’s officers and charged with unlawful possession of firearm or weapons, three counts of terroristic threats and acts, possession of a sawed-off shotgun and possession of a firearm while trying to commit crimes.

Late Sunday, Aug. 26, a Wadley police officer called a family member of Anfield’s and said Anfield had started a domestic dispute in Wadley. When officers arrived on the scene, Anfield was belligerent and they could not reason with him, said a spokesman for the sheriff’s office. When the family member was contacted, he stated he could hear Anfield cursing in the background and told the officers to “do what they had to do,” the spokesman stated. Anfield did calm down and was therefore released.

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“Anfield came to Louisville and made possibly five phone calls to the family member, claiming he was going to kill them for supporting the officers in Wadley arresting him if he didn’t calm down,” the spokesman said. The family member called the sheriff’s department and 911 and reported the threats.

“While on the phone with law enforcement, Anfield continued to call and make threats and law enforcement heard the threats. Anfield told the family members where he was and what kind of weapons he had and dared them to come where he was,” the spokesman said. Law enforcement arrived on the scene where Anfield claimed he was. He ran into the bushes and hid from the officers. He was later arrested without incident.

“The sawed off shotgun was recovered," the spokesman said. “The phone was seized that he was making the threats on. The shotgun was a .12-gauge sawed off shotgun that was an illegal weapon. “You can saw shotguns off and if it’s a certain length, it’s still legal. If it’s shorter than 18 inches, you have an illegal sawed off shotgun.” Anfield has since been released on bond.




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