Investigating drunk teenagers

By: Laurie Ott
By: Laurie Ott

Two teenagers, drunk and possibly on drugs. One lying on a kitchen floor, the other passed out in his bed at home.

What do they have in common?

According to a police report obtained by News 12---both were at the Martinez home of a man now serving time in federal prison.

You'll remember that last year, Duncan Fordham was convicted on federal charges in a scheme to steal money from the Community Mental Health Center in Augusta.

He's currently serving a 4 year prison sentence in Alabama.

But though he's not home, News 12 has uncovered his house is the center of a sheriff's department investigation.

It's one of Columbia County's most expensive neighborhoods. Barrington sits off Stevens Creek Road. It's not a gated community, and according to neighbors, teenagers had no trouble finding their way here on the night of February 4th.

Mrs. Virginia Blackburn, a neighbor, told News 12: "This one night about 2 weeks ago, I looked out my front window and I saw all these cars out in front of my house, and I looked next door and I thought, well maybe they're having a party."

Virginia Blackburn’s house overlooks the homes on Granite Way...including the home at 3523 belonging to Duncan and Terri Fordham.

Mrs. Blackburn said, "Cars kept coming and going up the cul-de-sac and I saw people walking around and they weren't making any noise."

Mrs. Blackburn considered calling the sheriff's department, but did not.

But a few hours later, according to an incident report obtained by News 12, someone inside the Fordham home did call for an ambulance.

Capt. Steve Morris of the Columbia County sheriff's office told News 12: "When the officer arrived, the 16 year old female was incoherent, unresponsive, and we believe under the influence of alcohol or drugs or some medication. She was transported to the hospital and treated and released."

The officer wrote about the 16-year-old girl this way in her report:
“(She) was lying on the kitchen floor of the residence, unconscious and unresponsive with stable vital signs and had vomitted multiple times.”

Later in her investigation, the deputy reports a 17 year old had also been at the Fordham home, but was back in his own bed at his home--where another officer tried to wake him up.

The officer says the teenager didn't wake up, and was in a "highly intoxicated state."

In the report, according to EMS there was also possibly another substance in the teenager's system.

Quoting from the report the 17 year old was unable to state where he consumed the alcohol.

Capt Morris stated, "His mother refused treatment and the issue was dropped for the time being."

But when News 12 brought it to the attention of the sheriff's department, they re-opened the case.

Capt. Morris told us this is not a closed case by any stretch, and that they'll get to the bottom of it and file charges if it's the appropriate thing to do.

As for the homeowner, Mrs. Terri Fordham, she told the officer investigating that "she was unaware of any alcohol consumption at her home, and would never permit juveniles to drink or take drugs in her home."
And one footnote to this story:

There is a warrant out for Terri Fordham for a confrontation she had with one of our reporters yesterday.

News 12's Stephanie Baker was on public property, shooting video for this story, when Mrs. Fordham came up to her.

Stephanie's camera recorded part of the confrontation with Mrs. Fordham.

It shows a struggle, and then Mrs. Fordham running away.

The Columbia County sheriff's department tells News 12 a warrant on a battery charge was issued against Mrs. Fordham late this afternoon.

To avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, the story has been re-assigned to another News 12 reporter.


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