News from around The Carolinas

South Carolina


Man gets 30 years for molesting children

A Liberty man has been sentenced to nearly 30 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of molesting three young children.

Prosecutors say 28-year-old Damon Brown was sentenced last week. Solicitor Walt Wilkins says Brown molested an 8-year-old boy, a 10-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl between 2003 and 2006.

Wilkins says one of the children reported the crimes to a school resource officer in 2009, leading to the discovery of the other victims.

Brown was convicted on one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, three counts of first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and three counts of lewd act on a minor. He was sentenced to 359 months in prison.


Clover man dies in crash

A Clover man died early Sunday when his car ran off the right side of the road and overturned.

Teddy Benfield, 45, was traveling west in a 2005 four-door Lexus on Cabe Road, north of York, around midnight when he ran off the right side of the road and struck several mailboxes, said Lance Cpl. Bill Rhyne with the S.C. Highway Patrol. His car overturned.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Benfield was not wearing a seat belt, said York County Coroner Sabrina Gast.

She said officials are waiting on toxicology results.

North Carolina


5-year-old boy found safe near his home

A 5-year-old Durham boy was found safe hours after he was reported missing from his home.

Authorities say the parents of Thomas Washington Jr. alerted them at around 5 a.m. Sunday that their front door was open and their son was missing.

At around 7 a.m., residents of a high-rise complex told security officers that they’d seen the boy wandering around the building’s seventh floor.

Officials are reviewing security footage from the building to see how Thomas got inside. The high-rise building is less than a mile from the boy’s home.


Page High teacher resigns over photos

A Page High School teacher has resigned after inappropriate pictures of him surfaced on a photo-sharing site.

Guilford County Schools officials say 27-year-old William Saunders resigned on Friday after officials confronted him about photos he posted to his Instagram account.

A montage shows several photos of Saunders, including a naked shot in which he is cupping his genitals. A student shared the photos with a school resource officer, who notified school officials.

District officials say the photos violate their social media policy.

Saunders started working for Guilford County Schools in 2004 and served as a marketing teacher. He was named Guilford County Schools “Employee of the Month” for December.

Morehead City

Coast Guard recovers body of fisherman

Authorities have recovered the body of a 57-year-old fisherman who went missing last month northeast of Morehead City.

The U.S. Coast Guard says the body of Bill Vestal was recovered on Sunday near Cape Lookout.

Vestal was last seen going underwater and not resurfacing while he was surf fishing Nov. 19 on the south end of Portsmouth Island. Crews began searching for him immediately but didn’t find Vestal.

A boater called authorities just after noon Sunday to report finding a body in the water. Officials identified Vestal after finding his wallet.


Cyclist dies after being hit by truck

A 71-year-old Maxton man was killed Thursday night when his bicycle was struck by a pickup truck driven by a Laurinburg man , according to the state Highway Patrol.

Riley Ray Chavis was traveling east on McGirt Road about 1.5 miles north of Maxton on a bicycle at about 5:51 p.m. when he veered too far into the road and was struck from behind by a 2008 Ford pickup truck, according to the accident report by Trooper J.R. Locklear.

Chavis was taken to Southeastern Regional Medical Center, but died from his injuries, according to the report. The report did not specify if Chavis was wearing any reflective clothing.

The driver of the truck, William McKinley Tucker, 78, was driving the posted speed limit of 55 mph. No charges have been filed.


Driver dies after drive-by shooting, crash

Police are investigating after a Sanford man was shot while driving and then crashed into a building.

Authorities say officers found 28-year-old Timotheus Devon Dunbar in his car just before midnight Friday.

Dunbar had been shot in the head. Police say someone in another car traveling in the opposite direction fired at Dunbar’s vehicle.

Dunbar crashed into a business and was taken to a hospital, where he later died. A passenger in his car wasn’t hurt.

No arrests have been made.

From wire reports