News In Brief - August 21, 2007

Police investigate armed robbery at Winthrop

Winthrop University police released a campus alert Monday evening after three students claimed they were robbed that morning, according to a campus e-mail.

The students told police they were robbed by two men with a shotgun around 4 a.m. Monday in the parking lot near Sims Hall, the e-mail states. The students told police the robbers wore red bandanas over their faces and drove a green car, the e-mail states. The only property stolen was a gold necklace from one of the victims.

A complete police report was unavailable Monday night.

Police Chief Frank Zebedis said in the e-mail that the investigation was hampered because the students didn't report the incident until seven hours later. The e-mail states police are investigating and asked anyone with information to call (803) 323-3333.

Catawba woman charged after gas station collision

A Rock Hill woman was arrested Saturday after losing control of her car and colliding with a gas pump off Cherry Road, according to a Rock Hill police report.

Whitney Nichols, 18, of 454 Whispering Pines Road, Catawba, drove into the BP gas station parking lot at 634 Cherry Road around 2 a.m. Saturday, the report said. Nichols' car hit a gas pump, which toppled over on a parked car, said station clerk Toya Graham of Rock Hill, the car's owner.

Nichols failed a field sobriety test, and her blood alcohol level tested at .22 percent, more than twice the legal limit, according to the report. She was charged with DUI, open container and possession of beer by a minor.

Police also arrested Nichols' passenger, Ryan Christopher Faile, 20, of 1645 Dunlap Roddey Road, Rock Hill, for an open container violation and possession of beer by a minor, the report states.

York County rehires firm to transport bodies

A Charlotte mortuary company that transported bodies for York County until two years ago has been rehired.

York County leaders agreed Monday to sign a contract with Carolina Mortuary Services at a rate of $185 per call. The county's previous contract with that company became a subject of controversy because of its involvement with former York County Coroner Doug McKown.

The state ethics commission accused McKown of using his position as an elected official to gain financial benefits for the company. Carolina Mortuary and one other firm, York Pathology Associates, paid McKown for work unrelated to his official duties.

Gov. Mark Sanford suspended McKown from office in July 2006 after McKown was indicted on unrelated drug charges.

The commission cleared Carolina Mortuary of any wrongdoing, and McKown is no longer on the company's payroll, so no conflict exists, York County Interim Coroner Sabrina Gast said Monday. Between 150 and 250 bodies require transportation by the office every year, she said.

Solicitor to hold drop-in today in Rock Hill

Sixteenth Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett will host a public drop-in from 4 to 6 p.m. today at the Rock Hill Police Department on Black Street in Rock Hill.

Brackett and York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant, Rock Hill Police Chief John Gregory and a representative from the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice will answer questions about the criminal justice system and other concerns.

Brackett held a similar meeting in York earlier this month.

Free shots available for eligible children

Free immunizations for children who don't have health insurance or Medicaid are being offered at the four York County Family Resource Centers.

Parents with children who are eligible must bring their child's shot records. These family resource center locations are open during the following days of the week: Tuesday, 37 Pinckney St., York; Wednesday, 513 Banks St., Fort Mill; Thursday, 706 Old N. Main St., Clover; and Friday, 217 Orange St., Rock Hill.

To make an appointment, call 322-6636.