Local Update - February 6, 2007

Man arrested for raping woman in department store

A department store turns into a crime scene in south Augusta.

Richmond County investigators have arrested a man suspected of raping and robbing a woman at Goody's off Deans Bridge Road.

Investigators closed the store around 2 o'clock yesterday.

They say the man waited several minutes for the woman to go into the bathroom, then robbed and raped her.

The man even intended to leave the store with the woman, but let her return when she said she dropped her purse inside with her car keys.

Aiken County teen dies in crash

One Aiken County teenager is dead after an early morning crash yesterday.

19-year-old David Allen, a passenger, was pronounced dead on the scene.

Investigators say 18-year-old Patrick Darr drove off the southbound lane of Banks Mill Road and hit a tree. Neither one of them was wearing a seatbelt.

This is the seventh traffic fatality in Aiken County already this year. Of this year's fatalities, six were not buckled in.

"I think it's a sad statement for the people in Aiken County, even though we have a new seatbelt law and it's a mandatory violation," said coroner Tim Carlton.

No word yet on whether the driver was speeding or intoxicated at the time.

Charges are still pending against Darr.

Williams pushes to jazz up Brown statue

One Augusta commissioner is fighting for lights and music at the Godfather of Soul's statue today.

Commissioner Marion Williams says the statue needs to be jazzed up.

At today's meeting, he'll ask the Commission to add a coin-operated machine that would flash lights and play Brown's greatest hits.

Mr. Williams says it would attract more tourists and generate money.

Mayor Deke Copenhaver says Williams may be moving too fast, and that the changes could take away from the statue. The mayor also says the city should consult with the Brown family before making any changes to it.

Aiken County Council holds smoking ban public hearing

Tonight, the Aiken County Council will hold a public hearing to talk about a plan to ban smoking in all public areas.

The meeting will be held at the Aiken County Council Annex on Richland Avenue. It starts at 7 p.m.

During the hearing, the Council will hear what people have to say about the smoking ban.

It would be up to the cities of Aiken and North Augusta to go along with the ban.