Local Update - February 28, 2007

2 in critical condition after train hits car

Two people hit by a train in Augusta are still in critical condition at MCG.

Deputies say the pair tried to beat a train at a crossing on Marvin Griffin Road.

The driver, Carolyn Coney, and her passenger, Rodney Patterson, were in that car.

Deputies say the car went around the gates when they were down.

The engineer says he was so close when it happened he never even saw the car.

Deputies say he was going 36 miles an hour when the 3500 ton train hit the passenger side of the Ford Contour.

"People travel the tracks day and night, they never see a train, and become careless," said Norfolk Southern locomotive engineer David Youngblood. "We just want them to understand...every time is train time."

A representative from Norfolk Southern tells us the train was only about a minute long, so it wouldn't have been a long wait for the driver.

Man wanted for burglary captured

In Aiken County, deputies have nabbed one of News 12's CSRA's Most Wanted.

Yesterday they found Gabriel Gomisch at a friend's home, 105 West Woodlawn Drive in North Augusta.

Gomisch is facing charges of burglary, grand larceny, and disorderly conduct.

He was featured on CSRA's Most Wanted two days ago.

Now he's behind bars in Aiken County.

Augusta man accused of molesting 14-year-old girl

An Augusta man is behind bars accused of child cruelty.

Richmond County investigators say 42-year-old Arnie Rodriguez has molested his ex-girlfriend's 14-year-old daughter for the last 2 years. They say he even took photos.

Investigators also found two pounds of marijuana.

Rodriguez is charged with aggravated child molestation, creating child pornography, possession of child pornography, and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, all felonies.

If convicted, he could face life in prison.

Georgia Supreme Court to hear appeal of Rivera death sentence

Georgia's high court will decide whether to let a man die for his crimes or to spare his life.

Reinaldo Rivera is scheduled to go before the court for a public session in Eatonton.

Rivera was convicted three years ago of killing a Fort Gordon soldier. He was also charged in the deaths of three other young women.

During the session, the Georgia Supreme Court will decide whether or not to overturn his death sentence.

News 12 has learned District Attorney Danny Craig will be in Eatonton for the hearing.

Charles Walker appeal today

Supporters of a former state senator are going to bat for him in Atlanta.

News 12 has learned Charles Walker will be in an 11th Circuit courtroom today for an appeal.

Yesterday, state leaders showed their support at a news conference.

Representatives Tyrone Brooks and Gloria Frasier say Judge Dudley Bowen should not have reinstated four white jurors who were struck by Walker's attorneys.

Right now, the former state senator is serving a ten-year sentence.

He was convicted of 127 counts, including conspiracy, federal mail fraud, and filing false tax returns.

Trenton woman accused of abusing foster child

A Trenton foster mother is in jail, accused of abusing the child she took in...and Edgefield County deputies say they have it all on tape.

On that tape, deputies say Belinda Cooper's 12-year-old, emotionally disabled foster son is naked and being spanked with a paddle.

In another clip, they say they saw the child hit in the head and face with a leather-type belt.

School resource officer Charles Reel says the tape belonged to Cooper's nephew, and it was confiscated after they thought he recorded a fight on a school bus.

Ms. Cooper is being held at the Edgefield County Jail. Her bond has been set at $75,000.

The Department of Social Services says the 12 year-old boy and a four-year-old boy are in another home this morning.


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