Local Update - January 10, 2006

Deputy clerk of court arrested for racketeering

A former Richmond County deputy clerk of court may have a large fine to pay after stealing money from the public.

29-year-old Mandy Michelle Rhodes of Martinez turned herself in Tuesday.

Her arrest comes after a six-month investigation and audit of court records.

Rhodes is accused of stealing more than $21,000 from the Richmond County Civil Magistrate Court from January of 2005 until June of last year.

"In almost sixteen years, this is the first time I've investigated a theft involving civil magistrate court or any part of the county government itself," said Michael McDaniel of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Rhodes worked with the court for more than nine years.

She was placed on administrative leave twice last year after the money was discovered missing, and she later quit.

The case has been turned over to the district attorney's office.

Magistrate judge arrested for not reporting sexual misconduct

An Aiken County magistrate judge is released on bond after failing to rule on improper behavior.

Judge Charles Carter was arrested and charged Tuesday with misconduct in office and failure to report sexual misconduct.

SLED says Carter knew that a county employee was having an affair with an inmate.

He was booked at the Aiken County Jail and is out on $10,000 bond.

Serial bank robber wanted

A serial bank robber is on the run, and the Aiken County Sheriff's Office believes he's held up a string of banks.

This picture is from December 15, when they say the robber tried to get in the Citizen's Bank in Trenton.

Deputies also think he's responsible for hitting an SRP Federal Credit Union in November, as well as a string of banks in Aiken, Barnwell, Edgefield, and McCormick counties.

Call the sheriff's office with any information.

Teen wanted in drive-by shooting

Aiken Public Safety officers want your help finding teenager Brittney Turner.

Investigators say she shot at another woman at Colleton Avenue and Lucky Lane after an argument Monday afternoon.

She faces charges of assault with intent to kill.

If you know where she is, call the police.

Gov. Perdue pushing for higher speeding fines

Deputies are cracking down to slow you down in Georgia.

Gov. Sonny Perdue says Georgia's drivers are among the fastest in the nation and he wants higher fines.

The governor will push for the increase this legislative session.

Fines will focus on drivers going over 85 miles per hour on any Georgia road and over 75 miles per hour on two-lane roads.

Perdue says 20 percent of Georgia's 1700 fatal accidents in 2005 were caused by excessive speed.

Pacing continues along I-20

Pace cars will keep traffic moving slowly along I-20 through next week from 9 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon.

This will happen between Exit 1 in South Carolina and the Bobby Jones Expressway.

The DOT crews are working to expand Walton Way Extension from Washington Road to the Augusta Exchange shopping center.

Today eastbound lanes will be paced from Exit 190 to Warren Road. Then Wednesday through Friday of next week, it's back to westbound.

Cars will also be placed to prevent you from using the on-ramps at those exits, but that won't last long. The pace cars will be blocking each exit briefly throughout the day.