News from around The Carolinas

December 9, 2012 

South Carolina

Central

Clemson student killed in gated community robbery

Authorities say a 23-year-old Clemson University student has been shot and killed during a robbery in his home in a gated community about two miles from campus.

Investigators say three masked men came through an unlocked back door of the home around 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

Pickens County Coroner Kandy Kelley says someone shot Steven Grich and he died at the scene. Grich was a sophomore from Fort Mill majoring in electrical engineering. An autopsy has been ordered.

Authorities say five other people were in the home, but they weren’t seriously injured.

Deputies think the suspects drove away in a black, four-door Dodge Durango with tinted windows and polished aluminum wheels.

Grich lived in Chimney Ridge, a subdivision of more than 100 two-bedroom cottages and four-bedroom homes marketed toward Clemson students.

Spartanburg

Massive fire damages abandoned mill

Authorities say about 100 firefighters were needed to fight a massive blaze at an abandoned textile mill in Spartanburg County.

Investigators say the fire that started Saturday night at the vacant Saxon Mill appears to be suspicious.

No one was injured, but firefighters will stay at the site for several days to make sure the fire doesn’t spark back up.

Firefighters say blazes at abandoned mills are especially dangerous because oil seeps into the wood floors over the decades and the buildings still are often filled with textile dust.

The Saxon Mill was built in 1906.

Columbia

S.C. Supreme Court reprimands DMV lawyer

A lawyer for the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles has been reprimanded by the state Supreme Court.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reports the justices ruled that Frank Valenta violated rules of professional conduct by communicating with judges and not with defendants on appeals of traffic tickets.

The reprimand last month from the Supreme Court didn’t carry any additional penalties like a fine or a suspension.

DMV spokeswoman Beth Parks said Valenta will remain with the agency.

Authorities say Valenta sent letters about return traffic tickets during appeals to judges and defendants with attorneys, but not to defendants who represented themselves. The letters were about Valenta’s concerns he might break state law if he followed orders by judges to return the tickets.

North Carolina

Rockingham

9-year-old boy killed in car crash

Police are investigating whether a car was racing another vehicle when it crashed into another car, killing a 9-year-old boy in Rockingham.

Authorities say the boy, Jody Williams, died after his car was hit Saturday on Highway 74. His grandmother was driving. She has been taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Family members tell WSOC-TV that the pair had just left the grandmother’s apartment when they were hit.

Rockingham Police Chief Billy Kelly says authorities have information that two cars may have been racing and one of them hit the grandmother’s car. Police are interviewing the other driver in the crash but he hasn’t been charged.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether police were looking for a third car, but the chief asked any other witnesses to come forward.

Asheville

Gov-elect McCrory promises to remember western NC

North Carolina Gov.-elect Pat McCrory says his first trip out of Raleigh after he is sworn into office next month will be to Asheville.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports the newly-elected Republican governor made the promise Saturday as he celebrated his victory at the annual Charles Taylor holiday dinner at Grove Park Inn.

McCrory promised he would not forget about the western part of the state. He says he will meet with officials and residents in Asheville on Jan. 7 to discuss the city’s water system and other issues. McCrory will be sworn in two days before.

McCrory says he will spend the night at the Governor’s Western Residence during his trip west.

Elona

Man shoots himself, sets home on fire

Investigators say a man found shot as his home burned may have caused all the damage himself.

Burke County deputies responding to a fire Saturday afternoon said the man told them he was shot by a neighbor. The house near Elona burned down to the ground because officers wouldn’t let fire crews near because they thought they had an armed suspect.

But investigators say no one was found, and the man’s story didn’t add up.

Authorities now think the man shot himself and caused the fire when he tried to set off a crude shotgun made from a pipe.

From wire reports

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