Local Update - March 23, 2007

Fallen officer gives colleague second chance at life with organ donation

A Richmond County officer is given a second chance at life and recovering from a kidney transplant.

Police Academy instructor James David received his new kidney from Deputy Eric Sikes, who died after crashing his patrol car in Burke County Tuesday morning (March 20).

Sikes was an organ donor and a match for David James.

James is the Richmond County officer who was shot five times while on duty 17 years ago.

He received one kidney transplant before. That failed...and now he's being given a second chance.

Deputy Sikes was new to the force and was just 24 years old.

He ran his patrol car off Allen Road in Burke County near the Richmond County line Tuesday morning on his way to work.

Authorities, including the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, are still looking into how the accident happened.

Two bad accidents overnight

It was a dangerous night on the roads. We have two bad accidents to tell you about.

The first happened in Aiken County. News 12 was the only news station on the scene.

It happened on Highway 421 at Belvedere-Clearwater Road around 11 o'clock. A blue Pontiac Firebird and a green Ford Explorer crashed.

Crews had to use the Jaws of Life to free the female driver of the Firebird.

Deputies say her injuries do not appear to be life threatening.

The driver of the Ford Explorer is okay.

Aiken County is still investigating how the accident happened.

A deer could be to blame another accident that sent more than a dozen people to the hospital.

It happened near the Edgefield-Saluda County line.

Edgefield County's EMA director tells News 12 that 14 to 16 people were hurt when a church van flipped several times.

It happened at the intersection of Long Cane Road and Glovers Circle around 9:45.

A blue car hit a deer, swerved and hit the church van.

11 people were in the van at the time.

Three helicopters and area ambulances transported all the victims to the hospital.

Three patients in serious condition were flown to MCG's trauma center, Providence Hospital in Columbia, and Greenville.

Other patients were treated in Aiken, Saluda and Edgefield.

Three arrested after convenience store robbery

Three people are behind bars in Richmond County after a robbery at an Augusta convenience store.

Deputies say 23-year-old Andre Johnson and an unidentified 16-year-old gagged Jong Nathanson, the owner of PJ's gas station, yesterday.

Nathanson was getting ready to open the store for the day.

Deputies say Johnson and the other woman gagged Nathanson, then dragged her through the store while demanding money from the safe.

Authorities also arrested 24-year-old Melissa Johnson. They say that while she did not go in the store, she was an accomplice.

All three are being charged with kidnapping and robbery by force.

More charges could be pending.

Human remains found

Richmond County investigators are working to identify human bones found on Laney Walker Boulevard last night.