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News from around The Carolinas

South Carolina

Lancaster

2 SC men dead after fighting in road, hit by car

S.C. investigators are learning more after two men were hit by a car and killed while fighting in a busy street.

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts identified the men as 41-year-old Otis Starks of Columbia and 35-year-old Corey Trapp of Blythewood. Watts said they were fighting in the street when they rolled into the path of a vehicle and were run over. Watts said both men died at the scene early Saturday morning.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating. The driver of the car has not been charged.

Johns Island

Charleston cop charged with DUI after wrecking car

An S.C. police officer was rushed to a hospital with injuries after crashing her Charleston squad car.

The Highway Patrol says the officer was driving under the influence when she wrecked the squad car on Johns Island early Sunday.

Charleston police spokesman Charles Francis said 31-year-old Officer Sarah Fortier was placed on administrative leave without pay.

Highway Patrol Cpl. Bob Beres said Fortier was driving her 2007 Crown Victoria police cruiser near St. John’s High School when she lost control around 12:30 a.m.

She was taken to Medical University of South Carolina for treatment of her injuries.

The Highway Patrol is investigating the collision.

Richland County

Suspect in Columbia home invasion escapes police custody

A man believed to be involved in a home invasion north of Columbia Saturday morning has escaped from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department’s Regional 4 headquarters where he was being held, officials say.

Corie Kendell Lawrence, 31, allegedly burst into a home in the 2800 block of Betty’s Lane, near St. Andrews Road, around 3 a.m., and fired a weapon, department spokesman Curtis Wilson said.

Several people were at home at the time of the incident, Wilson said, but no one was injured. The weapon used in the incident has been recovered.

Deputies responding to the scene detained Lawrence along with two other individuals. All three were transported to the department’s Region 4 headquarters nearby but the other two were released after deputies determined they were not involved in the incident, Wilson said.

It is unclear how Lawrence, who fled from the Region 4 headquarters on foot, escaped, Wilson said.

Lawrence is believed to have fled to a home in the 100 block of Crestland Drive where he took clothing and dog bedding, Wilson said. It is unclear whether the suspect lives at the home or in the area.

Lawrence faces home invasion and kidnapping charges, Wilson said.

North Carolina

Raleigh

Hearing set for US general charged with sex crimes

The public is expected to get its first glimpse Monday at the evidence against a high-ranking U.S. Army officer facing court-martial for sex crimes.

An Article 32 hearing is scheduled at Fort Bragg for Brig. Gen. Jeffery A. Sinclair, who was sent home from a combat tour in Afghanistan earlier this year. He was charged with a list of crimes including forcible sodomy, wrongful sexual conduct, violating an order and possessing alcohol while deployed.

The Army has thus far kept secret any further details, refusing to provide even the name of his defense lawyer. A Freedom of Information Act request filed by The Associated Press seeking charging documents routinely made available in other cases was rebuffed by Pentagon officials. The officials say releasing the documents would invade the general’s privacy.

Asheville

NM company plans solar plant near Asheville, NC

A Santa Fe, N.M., company says it is asking the state government in North Carolina to approve plans for a large solar power generation project.

Amenergy Inc. hopes to install more than 90,000 solar panels on six tracts of private land at the Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville. The plant will be capable of producing more than 21 megawatts of electricity for sale to regional power provider Progress Energy.

Amenergy managing partner Bill Oglesby tells the Santa Fe New Mexican for a story in Sunday’s editions that the project has been under development for about two years.

Oglesby says officials in North Carolina might hold public hearings as the project moves through the local permitting process. It would rival the state’s largest existing solar installations if completed.

From wire reports

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