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Woman saved from the Congaree by Cayce's Department of Public Safety and other responders

Cayce, SC - 04/16/2021 (Paul Kirby) - On Friday afternoon around 1:00 p.m., someone reported seeing a woman jump from the Blossom Street bridge into the cold waters of the Congaree River. Personnel from the Cayce Department of Public Safety received the call and quickly arrived to began searching for the woman. As Cayce began their search, they notified the City of Columbia's Police and Fire Departments and West Columbia's Police and Fire Departments to ask them for assistance in searching for the woman. Cayce launched its swift water rescue boat as another from Columbia was enroute In just a short time, personnel from the Cayce Department of Public Safety spotted a woman sitting on the opposite bank of the river that matched the description of the women that the first callers had given. That first responder helped direct several swift water boats to the woman. Eventually, the rescuers made contact with the woman and she was transported to local medical center for evaluation.

Residents displaced by house fire in Springdale Friday morning

Springdale, SC – 04/16/2021 (Paul Kirby) – A home in the 400 blk. of Preston Street caught fire and burned Friday morning. Preston Street is in the Springdale area of Lexington County. It's a short little street that runs between Wattling and Wilton Roads. When Lexington County firefighters first arrived, they reported that smoke was pushing from the home in numerous places. As more equipment and manpower pulled up, teams were assembled to search the home and fight the fire. The second and third due fire engines established a water supply to support the firefighters that were pouring water onto the flames. At one point the fire spread into the attic and the garage. The firefighters attacked those flames and eventually, the fire was brought under control. The fire was free burning before the firefighters arrived. This caused extensive damage to the home and its contents even though the crews brought the fire under control quickly. Because of the extent of the damages, the residents were displaced. The incident commander from the fire service contacted the American Red Cross to have them assist the home’s occupants. They will help these residents as they begin the process of dealing with their insurance company and all the other things one must do after a fire of this nature.

MolinaCares donates over $27K to SC Office of Rural Health in Lexington

Lexington, SC 04/16/2021 - The MolinaCares Accord (“MolinaCares”), in collaboration with Molina Healthcare of South Carolina (“Molina”), is partnering with the South Carolina Office of Rural Health (SCORH) of Lexingon, SC to expand COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment and vaccination efforts in Union County. MolinaCares is providing the nonprofit organization with a $27,500 grant that will also increase equitable access to immunizations through the pandemic and beyond. “Addressing and eventually ending this pandemic requires a collective effort and we are committed to doing our part to make it possible to have easier access to both antibody treatments and the vaccine,” said Dora Wilson, plan president of Molina Healthcare of South Carolina. “Ensuring that everyone is able to receive their COVID-19 vaccines is a critical part of fighting this disease and we are pleased that this partnership will reduce access disparities for our neighbors in the Upstate.” Through this collaboration, MolinaCares and SCORH will fund a mobile health unit for Primary Care of Union. The vehicle will be used for reaching rural areas that lack access to COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment and COVID-19 vaccines. The unit will also provide additional immunizations throughout the year, such as the annual flu vaccine. “This partnership will allow my practice to help my patients overcome transportation and technology barriers so that they can access information and schedule appointments for the services they need,” said Tina Fowler, APRN and owner of Primary Care of Union. Data from the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) shows that the state’s successful monoclonal antibody program is reducing COVID-19 hospitalizations, emergency room visits, and deaths. “We are excited that this collaboration will increase rural access to both COVID-19 treatment and vaccines, as well as other immunizations year-round, which will support preventative care for these communities in the long term,” said Graham Adams, chief executive officer of SCORH. “This initiative was Tina Fowler’s idea and exemplifies the energy and passion she has for meeting the short-term and long-term health needs of her community.” South Carolina residents can visit https://vaxlocator.dhec.sc.gov/ to find a vaccine location. PHOTO CAPTION: From left to right: Graham Adams, chief executive officer of South Carolina Office of Rural Health (SCORH); Shannon Chambers, director of provider solutions of SCORH; Dr. Greg Barabell, medical director of Molina Healthcare of South Carolina; Patrick Fowler, office manager of Primary Care of Union; Tina Fowler, nurse practitioner and owner of Primary Care of Union; Dora Wilson, plan president of Molina Healthcare of South Carolina; and Jennifer Marze, associate vice president of health plan engagement at Molina Healthcare of South Carolina. The MolinaCares Accord, in partnership with Molina Healthcare of South Carolina, presented a $27,500 donation that will expand COVID-19 treatment and vaccination efforts in Union County.

South Congaree police arrest man with 37 outstanding warrants after leading police on pursuit

South Congaree, SC – 04/16/2021 (Paul Kirby) – South Congaree police officer, with help from the Cayce Department of Public Safety and the Springdale Police Department, pursued and then arrest a man who had over 37 warrants outstanding. These were for numerous felony crimes in the state of Georgia. South Congaree Police Chief Josh Shumpert said Friday that a SCPD officer tried to stop Zayvone Tornell Green, age 23, for speeding. Instead of pulling over, Green sped away initiating the chase. Shumpert said that Green was driving 57 miles-per-hour in a 35 miles-per-hour zone when his officer measured his speed. Once Green refused to stop, the SCPD officer began chasing him toward Cayce and called for assistance from surrounding jurisdictions. Green cut into the Churchill Heights neighborhood near Airport Boulevard and I-26 where he bailed out of the car and fled on foot. Officers with the Cayce Department of Public Safety and the Springdale Police Department flooded the area to assist the officers from South Congaree. Cayce also responded with one of their K-9s and began tracking Green. After an extensive search, Green was located hiding in a camper in someone’s yard. He was immediately placed under arrest. Green did not cooperate with the police so it took more work to get his name and a positive identification. Once police had that information and ran it through the national crime database, they found that Green had 37 outstanding warrants in the state of Georgia. “All of these warrants are extraditable,” Chief Shumpert said Friday. “We booked him into the Lexington County Detention Center but eventually, law enforcement officers from Georgia will come and get him so he can face a judge for his crimes committed in that state.” South Congaree has charged Green with speeding for driving 57 in a 35 zone. They also charged him with failure to stop for blue lights, driving with a suspended license, operating an uninsured vehicle, and violation of South Carolina’s child restraint laws. Just some of the warrants out of Georgia are for two counts of burglary in the first degree, trafficking Ecstasy, possession of a stolen firearm, unlawful carrying of a weapon, and possession a gun stolen out of a vehicle. These are all felonies and in some case, he has multiple counts of the same crimes. In closing Chief Shumpert said, “Our guys were able to take a career criminal, a man not afraid to commit these serious crimes, off the streets. Now, he’ll eventually return to Georgia and I’m sure they’ll be glad to get their hands on Mr. Green. I would bet he'll spend a good bit of time in a Georgia state prison when all this is done.” Chief Shumpert said in closing, “We appreciate the assistance of the Cayce Department of Public Safety and the Springdale Police Department for their help in catching this guy. Our relationship with these departments is great and we know they’ll come to us if we need help. Certainly, when they call we go help them too.”

Ulta Beauty hit hard by shoplifters again

Lexington, SC - 04/16/2021 (Paul Kirby) – Investigators with the Lexington Police Department are looking for two women who stole from Ulta Beauty on Sunset Boulevard in Lexington. The police say they got away with approximately $4,700 worth of merchandise. This happened on April 12, 2021 just one day after three other women shoplifted about $5,000 worth of merchandise and assaulted an employee at the same store. In just two days, Ulta was hit for almost $10,000. The two women were caught on the store’s camera system many times. Those same cameras captured photos of a white four-door vehicle the investigators think they were driving. The police ask that you view the photos. Then, if you recognize either of these women, send them a tip. Any information about this case should be sent to Detective Heath at 803-951-4642 or by email kheath@lexsc.com.

Coffee, Fresh Produce, Hand Crafted Gifts at West Columbia's Meeting Street Artisan Market

West Columbia, SC 04/15/2021 – The City of West Columbia Meeting Street Artisan Market is open every Saturday, from 9:30 AM – 1:30 PM, at the Interactive Art Park, 425 Meeting Street, West Columbia. The market includes vendors selling original art, crafts, foods, and produce. Free parking is available in the Interactive Art Park, the City Parking Garage on Court Avenue, and at Capitol Square off Sunset Boulevard (Please use the proper crosswalks) (See map) (Parking Video Tour: https://westcolumbiasc.gov/2021/03/west-columbia-river-district-free-parking-options-2021/). Support local vendors, interact with the unique sculptures throughout the park, and then head to State and Meeting Streets, and Court Avenue to spend the day shopping, dining, and enjoying the many entertainment options in the River District. For the latest information, follow the event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/382626229721427. This Saturday's Meeting Street Artisan Market is even bigger than before for your shopping experience Saturday, April 17! Support your local vendors, artists, pick up local produce, and grab a bite to eat and drink at the local businesses surrounding the market. Vendors this week: Backyard Koi Art from the Hollow Big Sid’s Happy Place Designs BrickHouse Gourmet Coffee & Tea Co. Bushels and Bags Farm Carol Oakley Allen Bracelets Emily Howell - Designs by Bird DiNovo’s Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Downstairs Stitchery eep Creative John-Nicole Creations Mopickles Sips, Dangles & More Staci's Scentsations Sudsy Dreams T&J Italian Ice Topstitch Leather and Glass Tuppgun The Hope Chest Shop Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner Options in Walking Distance Café Strudel The Hideout in WeCo Savage Craft Ale Works New Brookland Tavern WeCo Bottle & Biergarten Palate Terra Black Rooster Al’s Upstairs Jin Jin’s Eggroll Station Primal Gourmet The vendors for the market change weekly and the City is always looking for new participants for the Meeting Street Artisan Market. If interested, visit the City of West Columbia website at https://westcolumbiasc.gov/meeting-street-artisan-market/ or contact the Market Manager Colleen Otte at 803-622-8598 or cotte@westcolumbiasc.gov.

Sheriff Koon's column: The Voices That Guide Us

Lexington, SC - 04/15/2021 (Sheriff Jay Koon) - We couldn’t do what we do without our dispatchers. They direct us to calls for service, gather vital information and serve as the connection between the public and our deputies. They meet frantic emergency calls with calming voices. We are celebrating and honoring telecommunicators and dispatchers across our nation and hometowns this week, especially those in the Lexington County Communications Center. These men and women play a vital role in coordinating emergency and nonemergency communications when our citizens, visitors, deputies, firefighters and paramedics need them the most. Lexington County Communications is also responsible for dispatching and monitoring the safety of 20 agencies full-time and four agencies after-hours. LCCC operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Customer service is their top priority. Telecommunicators serve as the link between police, fire, EMS and you. In fact, they also maintain records and provide medical pre-arrival instructions to assist callers in giving help to the sick and injured before medical personnel arrive. You may have to call 9-1-1 to report a crime in progress, to report a fire, to save a life and even to report a motor vehicle collision with injuries. Lexington County 9-1-1 Dispatchers are South Carolina State Certified and trained to ask questions that will help locate, prioritize and initiate a quick response to your call. To learn more, please visit: lex-co.sc.gov. To all of the Lexington County telecommunicating professionals: thank you for your hard work, dedication and service to our community!

West Columbia Police Department makes arrest for illegal dumping after citizen's tip

West Columbia, SC 04/15/2021 – On March 30, 2021, the West Columbia Police Department asked the community for assistance in identifying an individual who was caught on camera dumping tires on private property in the City of West Columbia. Due to a tip from the community, the West Columbia Police Department made an arrest in the case. PalmettoPride partnered with the Department to assist with this investigation. Carlton Earl Vant, 62, of West Columbia, was arrested and charged with illegal dumping of over 500 pounds. He was taken to the Lexington County Detention Center where he will have a bond set. Mayor Tem Miles stated, “It is a problem that anyone would intentionally litter on anyone else’s property, but the number of tires that were dumped on this property was unbelievable. I am so glad that this person has been caught. I hope it will serve as a warning to others that West Columbia takes littering seriously.” The City of West Columbia, with the West Columbia Beautification Foundation, the Cayce-West Columbia Jaycees, Keep the Midlands Beautiful, and PalmettoPride is hosting a city-wide litter pick-up day this Saturday, April 17, 2021, from 9 AM – 12 PM. Sign-up in advance at http://bit.ly/LitterPickup. .

South Congaree Police Department makes an arrest in hit & run with serious bodily injury case

South Congaree, SC - 04/15/2021 (Paul Kirby) – Officers with the South Congaree Police Department, assisted by officers from the Springdale PD, made an arrest Wednesday night in the case of a hit and run that caused a woman to be seriously injured. According to SCPD’s Chief Josh Shumpert, the suspect was tracked down and arrested within an hour of the incident. Shumpert said that the suspect is being charged with Breach of Trust and Hit and Run with Serious Bodily Injury. He said that although the hit and run happened in the parking lot of the Palm Pantry and The Lexington Ledger in South Congaree, the incident had been building the entire day. Chief Shumpert said that earlier in the day, a woman who lives in the St. Andrews area loaned her car to an acquaintance with the agreement that he would return it quickly. As the day progressed, the man did not bring her car back. When her husband came home Wednesday evening, he asked his wife where her car was. When she explained what happened, the husband started tracking the car via a GPS system that was installed on the car. The couple quickly located the car parked at the Palm Pantry located at 1251 Main Street in South Congaree. Rather than notify the police, the couple drove to South Congaree to confront the man who had their car. According to the chief, when the couple arrived in South Congaree, their car was still at the Palm Pantry. The husband tried to block the car in while his wife got out to confront the man she had loaned her car to. When the man spotted her, he cranked the car, maneuvered around the husband’s car, hit the woman knocking her to the ground, and then sped away. EMS personnel along with firefighter/first responders from Lexington County were quick to arrive on scene along with the police. When they arrived, they found the woman lying in the parking lot bleeding. According to Chief Shumpert, they quickly readied her for transport and then took her to the Trauma Center at Prisma Health’s Richland Hospital. The chief said although her injuries are serious, they are not life-threatening. After the victim was transported, the South Congaree police officers, assisted by officers from the Town of Springdale, used the same GPS tracking software the couple had used to track the car. They found that it was parked alongside I-26 just off Airport Boulevard at the Master’s Inn. Chief Shumpert said that with assistance from the motel’s staff, they quickly located the suspect in a room and placed him under arrest. Chief Shumpert said that Joshua Martez Lucas, age 29, has a lengthy criminal record. After his arrest, he was transported to the Lexington County Detention Center where he will face a bond hearing Thursday. “I am proud of how fast and hard my officers worked to arrest this man," Chief Shumpert said Thursday. "We also appreciate the help from the Springdale officers. Working together, from time of incident to the arrest was about an hour. That should show the public that even though these small towns often have small departments, they have great officers and can get the job done when they are needed.” Shumpert said that if anything like this ever happens to you, call the police. "We are trained to handle these career criminals and we can do so in the safest possible manner," Chief Shumpert concluded.

Lexington Co. man sentenced to 28 years for Criminal Sexual Conduct with a child

Lexington, SC 04/15/2021 - South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced that a Lexington County man was sentenced yesterday to 28 years in prison for sex crimes against a child. Today in Lexington County, Donald Price, 50, pleaded guilty to one count of Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor, First Degree and one count of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, Second Degree before the Honorable Frank Addy. On May 16, 2016, Special Investigator Kevin Atkins with the South Carolina Attorney General’s office began a proactive investigation into online distribution of child pornography. Inv. Atkins identified a user of a file sharing network who was distributing child pornography. Inv. Atkins identified Donald Price of Lexington County as a suspect and referred the case to Sergeant Adam Creech with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department. Sgt. Creech and investigators from the LCSD executed a search warrant on Price’s home. As a direct result of the investigation, a previously unknown child victim of sexual abuse was identified and rescued by law enforcement. Investigators found recordings that Price had made of himself abusing the child on multiple occasions at his home. Judge Addy sentenced Price to 28 years active incarceration for Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor First Degree and 10 years for Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, Second Degree. Those sentences will run concurrently. Upon release, he will have to register as a sex offender and will be monitored by GPS at all times. This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Stephen Ryan.

Lexington police officers investigating theft and assault at a business

Lexington, SC – 04/15/2021 (Paul Kirby) – Lexington police officers are investigating an incident that ended with an employee of a business being assaulted and the shoplifting of approximately $5,000 worth of merchandise. This all happened on April 11, 2021. According to police, three individuals walked into the ULTA Beauty store in Lexington and began selecting merchandise from the shelves. Then, before paying for the things they selected, they fled the store with items that totaled approximately $5,000.00. As they fled, an employee tried to intervene and was assaulted by one of the suspects. All of this, including the three women’s faces, were caught clearly on the store’s camera system. Please watch the video closely and see if you recognize any of these individuals. If you do, the contact Detective Payton at (803) 358-7271.

Law enforcement investigating hit and run with injuries in South Congaree

South Congaree, SC - 04/15/2021 (Paul Kirby) – A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle that then fled the scene in South Congaree Wednesday evening. This happened in front of a convenience store at 1251 Main Street just before 8:00 p.m. When police and first responders arrived, they reported that an injured person was laying on the ground and appeared to have serious injuries. Personnel from Lexington County’s EMS and the fire service cared for the patient while law enforcement officers began investigating the incident. The investigators gathered evidence and took witness statements for some time after the collision. The business has a new, state of the art surveillance system and video from that is to be downloaded for the police on Thursday morning. If you saw something or know anything about this crime, please call the South Congaree Police Department at (803) 755-2760. Listen to the message and press the appropriate number for the police. You can also make tips through CRIMESTOPPERS at 1-888-Crime SC. CRIMESTOPPERS also accepts tips through their website at midlandscrimestoppers.com or through their P3 app which is available and free in both app stores.

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