Local Update - February 27, 2007

Teenager dies after car collides with truck

A 17-year-old girl on her way to school was killed this morning when her car collided with a large pickup truck.

The other driver, an elderly man from McDuffie County, was badly injured.

Thomson High School junior Cheryl Helmly is dead after an accident at Gingerhill Road and White Oak in McDuffie County, not far from I-20.

Cpl. Ritchie Howard of the Georgia State Patrol said Helmly was driving south on Gingerhill Road when she failed to yield to 80-year-old Claude Whitaker's Chevrolet S-10.

Helmly was pronounced dead at McDuffie Regional Medical Center at 9 a.m. from blunt force trauma.

Whitaker was taken to MCG.

Grief counselors and ministers were called to Thomson High School, and the school's Tuesday afternoon baseball game was cancelled.

Two injured after car pulls out in front of train

Eastbound lanes on Doug Barnard Parkway were backed up this morning after a train and car wreck at the intersection with Marvin Griffen Road, near Augusta Regional Airport.

It happened just after 6:30.

The driver of the car, 42-year-old Carolyn Coney, and her passenger, 43-year-old Rodney Patterson, were both injured.

Deputies say Coney tried to go around the railroad crossing arms and never made it through. They say the engineer, 46-year-old Julie Ramsue, saw two other vehicles run through first, and that's when he started braking from 1286 feet back.

The engineer says he never saw the 1996 Ford Contour, possibly because he was too close when the driver decided to pass.

Deputies say the 42-ton train hit the vehicle at 36 miles per hour, completely crushing the passenger side.

"A train can't stop at 36 miles per hour," said Deputy Jason Singletary of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office. "He can't stop. It's not built like a motor vehicle."

Deputies say the train was carrying ammonium hydrate, but fortunately, none of it was released.

The train was headed for Columbia, and deputies say the only witnesses are the engineer and conductor.

Traffic on Doug Barnard Parkway was rerouted to Mike Padgett Highway.

Apartment shooting suspect arrested

A suspected gunman is behind bars, charged with shooting another man at the Mount Zion apartment complex.

Deputies say the victim is the ex-boyfriend of a woman who lives there, and they say he came to the building to see her.

That's when the woman's current boyfriend met the man outside the building.

Deputies believe the new boyfriend shot the old boyfriend three times.

The victim was shot in the legs and his backside.

No word on his condition.

Alleged shooter on the loose

Investigators are looking for a man they say is not new to the Law Enforcement Center.

They want to know where 19-year-old Emmanuel Demmons is.

Deputies say Demmons has been involved in several of Augusta's shootings. Now he's accused of shooting Dominuque Ellis three times Sunday afternoon (February 25) near the Family Dollar store on Broad Street.

Investigators say the two men ran into each other by accident and finished an ongoing argument.

Investigators tell us Ellis fortunately suffered non-life threatening injuries, and they believe he'll be okay.

As for Demmons, he's wanted for an outstanding warrant and now this crime.

If you have any information, call the sheriff's office.

Augusta leaders head to Atlanta

City leaders will leave Augusta for Atlanta today.

It's Augusta day at the Dome, and News 12 will be there to bring you what issues are on the forefront of lawmakers' minds.

We'll have a full update on any decisions and legislation that come out of today's session.