News from around The Carolinas

South Carolina


First day of Beaufort’s texting-while-driving ban brings no citations

Drivers weren’t all thumbs in Beaufort Saturday – at least as far as the city’s police department was concerned.

On the first day of a new texting while driving ban, police didn’t write a single citation.

The ordinance, passed by Beaufort City Council in September, bans any driver from texting. It also prohibits those younger than 18 from using a cell phone while behind the wheel.

A first offense brings a $50 fine. Subsequent violations are $150. A citation doesn’t add points to a driver’s license.

“We didn’t see any violations,” Police Chief Matt Clancy said Saturday night. “We’re not out there just looking for that.”

South Carolina is one of only 11 states that does not have a statewide ban. There are six other localities in the Palmetto State – Clemson, Walhalla, West Union, Columbia, Camden and Sumter – that have a similar law.


Man dies after truck leaves road

A Columbia man has died after the truck he was driving ran off the road, officials say.

Brian C. Martin, 32, died after the pickup he was driving at a high rate of speed left the road and struck a tree, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said.

The incident occurred around 2:13 a.m. Saturday near Two Notch and Trenholm roads in Columbia, according to Lance Cpl. Brent Kelly with the S.C. Highway Patrol.

Martin was traveling north on North Trenholm Road Extension, Kelly said.

Martin, whose hometown is not known at this time, was not wearing a seat belt, Kelly said. He was not thrown from the truck.

He was taken to an area hospital and died in surgery, Watts said.

The patrol continues to investigate.

North Carolina


100 firefighters battle Guilford County wildfire

More than 100 firefighters from multiple agencies responded to a wildfire southeast of Greensboro Sunday afternoon, officials said.

The fire was contained to about 6 acres near the 3800 block of Thacker Farms Way, and no injuries were reported. No structures were threatened, firefighters said.

Witnesses reported the fire at about 2 p.m.

Joe Lowe, who lives near the site, said his cousin, Chad Maness, was mowing his yard and saw smoke nearby. Maness and his father rode off-road vehicles to the scene, but found nobody around. They knocked on nearby doors, but nobody was home, so they called 911, Lowe said.

The area is rugged and thickly wooded, the Guilford County Emergency Services Office said. Firefighters were expected to be on the scene overnight.

The N.C. Forest Service was in charge of the investigation.


Stolen statue found in woman’s yard

A 500-pound statue stolen from a flower garden in Charlotte is back in place after a woman found it in her front yard.

The Charlote Observer reported that the Splash statue of children playing in rain was taken recently from the garden at Charlotte’s Easter Seals UCP Children’s Center. It then showed up in the yard of Annie Sherard.

The sculpture had been dumped in Sherard’s yard more than two weeks ago. But center officials thought it had been missing for only a few days.

Sherard thought her son had left the sculpture in her yard. When she realized that he didn’t, she asked others about it and realized it was the same one missing from the Easter Seals.

Police have no suspects.

Pilot Mountain

Fire at N.C. State Park burns 700 acres

Authorities say a fire at Pilot Mountain State Park that’s burned 700 acres is more than one-third contained.

State Parks and Recreation spokesman Charlie Peek said Sunday the fire in the Surry County Park is 35 percent contained. About 70 firefighters are working to extinguish the blaze, which began as a prescribed burn.

Peek says the fire has a low intensity and is burning dead wood, leaves and undergrowth with little damage to standing trees. He says that means this blaze is reducing the risk of a catastrophic fire in the future.

State officials closed the park after flames jumped the fire line Thursday.

No one has been injured. Damage to park facilities is limited to fence rails and posts at viewing areas.

From wire reports