Published in News on February 9, 2005 2:14 PM
An electrical malfunction was blamed Tuesday for a predawn fire that caused about $24,000 in damages at Ash Street Automotive at 602 E. Ash St., a Goldsboro fire official said.
Assistant Fire Chief Ray Boyette said the fire may have started in computer wiring between two desks.
Goldsboro police had been notified by the business' alarm company about a possible burglary, Boyette said. When an officer got to the shop, he noticed the fire and called for firefighters. Boyette said the police saw flames, but firefighters did not. "Our guys walked up to a window," he said, "and they felt it and it was hot. That's when they realized they had a fire."
Firefighters found that most of the damage was around the computer, but there also was significant heat and smoke damage in the room.
Boyette said the heat from the fire had melted a cash register, television, printer, a wall clock, fans and window blinds and damaged auto supplies.
The building and contents, owned by Ivey Atchison of LaGrange, were valued at $150,000 each. Damage was estimated at $4,000 to the building and $20,000 to contents.
"It's a good thing he had all the doors shut, because the fire was confined to one room," Boyette said. "...It could have gotten ugly."
Fourteen firefighters responded to the 1:15 a.m. alarm.
Deer meat case
The trial of a Walnut Creek man on six misdemeanor game-law violations involving illegal deer meat was continued Tuesday until March 8 in Wayne County District Court.
Joe Cunningham, 67, of Dogwood Trail was charged with three counts of selling or buying deer and three license violations -- use of another's license number, failure to validate a big-game report card and failure to report or tag big game. He pleaded not guilty to all charges during his first court appearance..
The trial was postponed, because the investigating officer, Wayne County Wildlife Officer Joey Deal, was participating in specialized training. Cunningham's lawyer, Robert Smith, also did not attend the brief hearing before Judge Beth Heath of Kinston.
Cunningham was arrested Jan. 14 after an undercover state wildlife officer bought 192 pounds of deer meat. Cunningham's meat-grinding and sausage-making equipment, his 2004 Dodge pickup truck and two guns inside the truck also were seized.
At the time of Cunningham's arrest, Deal said he had received an anonymous call about a man selling deer meat and reports also had come from the agency's Raleigh headquarters. An undercover officer then came to Wayne County and bought 50 pounds of link-style deer sausage, Deal said. A second buy was set up a few days later, Deal said.
A man was robbed before dawn today of his car, and another man was pistol-whipped Tuesday night, according to Goldsboro police reports.
Stuart Kyle Grady, 22, of Beautancus told police that he was driving through North Alabama Avenue and West Oak Street at about 12:30 a.m. when two black men jumped in front of his car.
One suspect displayed a handgun, and both demanded that he stop, police said. They ordered Grady from his car, jumped in and drove away, police said. Grady could not describe the robbers.
The green, four-door 1994 Nissan Maxima was valued at $5,000. Grady said there was $400 in the glove box.
Calvin Elliott, 30, of Goldsboro reported that a car stopped at about 9 p.m. when he was walking in the 200 block of North Georgia Avenue. Several people jumped out, and one struck Elliott with a handgun, the report said.
Elliott walked home and called for help. He was taken to Wayne Memorial Hospital, where he was treated and released, a spokeswoman said. He could not describe the assailants.
Five people were injured and damages were estimated at $65,250 in seven recent traffic collisions in Wayne County, officers reported.
*A driver was injured at 3:13 p.m. Tuesday when his car hit a tire that had fallen from a truck on the M.L. King Jr. Expressway near the Wayne Memorial Drive exit, Goldsboro police said. After the car struck the tire, it skidded 80 feet off into the median. The driver, Tremayne Prescott Coley, 27, of North Audubon Avenue, was treated and released from Wayne Memorial Hospital, a spokeswoman said. His car had about $5,000 in damages. The truck did not stop. No charges were filed.
*Damages were estimated at $10,750 in a two-vehicle collision at 7:11 a.m. Tuesday at West Holly and North Virginia streets, police said. Ontario Jermon Thorton, 28, of South Virginia Street, was charged with a stop-sign violation and driving while his license was revoked. The van that he was driving collided with a westbound car operated by James Leroy Carlton, 61, of Peachtree Drive.
*Two people were injured and damages were estimated at $11,000 in a two-car crash at 12:35 a.m. Monday on Old Mount Olive Road near Parker Road, the Highway Patrol said. Lashona S. Garner, 30, of Durham Lake Road, Dudley, and her passenger, Cynkeithia Robinson, 28, of Charles Street, were released after-emergency-room treatment. Joseph Tremain Usher, 29, of County Road, Mount Olive, was charged with driving while impaired and driving while his license was revoked.
*A driver was injured at 12:02 p.m. Monday, when his car ran off Camp Jubilee Road near Zion Church Road and overturned, the Highway Patrol said. Ernesto Sanchez, 17, of Ada Stroud Road, Seven Springs, was released after emergency-room treatment. No charges were filed. The car, valued at $1,800, was demolished.
*A driver was injured and her westbound sport utility vehicle was demolished at 12:10 p.m. Monday when it slammed into a warning sign in the right lane of U.S. 70, west of Lake Wackena Road, the Highway Patrol said. The right lane was closed because of the installation of a sewer line. Susan W. Gaskins, 56, of Wendell was released after emergency-room treatment. No charges were filed. The SUV was valued at $18,000, and the sign was valued at $8,000.
*A motorcyclist was injured at 4:34 p.m. Saturday when the bike hit a dog on Mark Edwards Road near New Hope Road, the Highway Patrol said. After the collision, Bruce Allen Arensmeyer, 45, of Diamond Court, LaGrange, lost control of the motorcycle and it overturned. He was released after emergency-room treatment. No charges were filed. The bike had about $2,500 in damages.
*A car was destroyed in a wreck at 5:25 p.m. Thursday on U.S. 117 near O'Berry Road, the Highway Patrol said. The driver, Elias Santos Cruz, 22, of Strickland Road, Seven Springs, was charged with exceeding a safe speed. The car that he was driving ran off the left side on the wet road and struck the guard rail twice before stopping. The car was valued at $7,000. Damage to the guard rail was set at $1,200.
A cash register with about $45 and a blanket were stolen before dawn today from a Hispanic convenience store, according to a Wayne County Sheriff's Office report.
A thief had smashed a door glass and a window at El Molino No. 2 at 1462 Arrington Bridge Road, Dudley, to get inside. A burglar alarm sounded at about 2:25 a.m., alerting emergency telecommunicators who dispatched an officer to the store. Deputy Randy Winders found the damage and the theft.
The register was valued at $250 and the blanket was worth $45, the report said. Damages totaled an estimated $400.
The theft of a rental laptop computer from a home in New Hope was solved Tuesday, lawmen said, with the arrest of 19-year-old man.
The resident saw the man leave her home on Ted Street with the computer that she had rented from Rent America of Goldsboro, the report said. She called authorities with a description of the man's car and said it might be going toward Slocumb Street.
Goldsboro police stopped the car. Sheriff's Deputy Chuck Schaeffer charged Darrius Benton of Jesse Jackson Street in LaGrange with larceny. He was placed in the Wayne County Jail in lieu of a $5,000 secured bond. The computer, valued at $1,329, was recovered.
Benton also was held on an arrest order for failure to pay $112 in child support.
Two people were arrested Tuesday by Wayne County authorities and charged with felony drug offenses.
*Keith Lavone Hill, 28, of Rollingwood Drive, Dudley, was charged by the Sheriff's Office with a controlled substance violation that occurred last year. He was placed in the Wayne County Jail in lieu of a $10,000 secured bond.
*John Currie Houston, 23, of Julie Lane was charged by Goldsboro police with possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine and driving while his license was revoked. He was jailed in lieu of a $5,200 secured bond.
Two teen-age girls have been reported missing.
*Tiffany Nicole Lawson, 15, of 315 N. Carolina St. was described as black, 5-feet-3 and 125 pounds with brown hair, brown eyes and a medium complexion. When she was seen last at 4 p.m. Saturday, she was wearing a blue jersey, blue pants and white tennis shoes.
*Jherika Jera Harrell, 13, of 308 W. Spruce St. was described as black, 5-feet-5 and 130 pounds with black hair, brown eyes and a dark complexion. When she was seen last at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, she was wearing a brown shirt, blue jeans and brown shoes.
Anyone with information on the location of either girl was asked to call police at 705-6572.
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