Child neglect is alleged
Woman arrested; she was asleep as 2-year-old wandered from house
Authorities have arrested and charged Victoria Calhoun with child endangerment, after her 2-year-old was reported missing Friday but later was founded wandering accompanied by two dogs.
“It’s a miracle that this child was found without serious injury or worse,” Laurens County Sheriff Don Reynolds said.
“There was a creek in close proximity of the residence along with ponds in the area. We all thank God this child was found in good health because this could have easily turned out much more tragic. Children come with great responsibility and require a lot of attention. Unfortunately for this child, his mother didn’t provide the proper attention and care necessary to keep a child safe and healthy. It breaks my heart to find a child living in these conditions. Children can’t speak for themselves and don’t have a voice in these situations. This child didn’t ask to be put in this situation and shouldn’t have had to live under such horrendous conditions.”
Officers responded to 95 Jim’s Town Rd., Clinton, after a child went missing about 30 minutes prior to the call for assistance. LCSO used bloodhounds in the search, asked for air support and set up a perimeter, a report said. Within an hour, a supervisor reported the child was about a half mile from the residence on an Apple Orchard Road driveway.
The dogs were still with the child.
Officers who inspected the house the toddler left found disgusting conditions, a report said.
Animal feces were found in the child’s room, along with exposed wiring and safety hazards. The suspect, the child’s mother, was found to have been asleep at the time the child went missing. The residence was unsecured, a report said.
Calhoun, 25, of 95 Jim’s Town Rd., was arrested and charged with unlawful conduct toward a child. SC Department of Social Services was notified; the agency assisted during the investigation and inspection of the residence, and the child has been taken into emergency protective custody, a report said.
In a separate incident, Laurens Police recently investigated a dog mauling.
A report said the incident happened on Pinehaven Street, when a woman visiting a neighbor was attacked.
The victim suffered back, thigh and stomach injuries, a report said. There was no immediate explanation of why the dog attacked the victim, who had visited the residence previously.
Authorities allowed the dog to remain at the residence, in a pen, and the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control is conducting an investigation.
In a separate incident, DHEC reported a rabid bat near Landrum in neighboring Spartanburg County.
Authorities said a person was exposed to the rabid bat, which was found May 23. It tested positive May 25, a report said.
David Vaughn, representing DHEC’s Bureau of Environmental Health Services, said, “People – especially children – don’t always realize they’ve been bitten, as it is very easy to overlook a bat bite because bat teeth are so tiny.” Anyone who finds a bat in a room, tent or area where someone had been sleeping, or where unattended children have been playing, should always assume the bat could have bitten someone, a statement said (DHEC’s after-hours number is 888-847-0902.)
Clinton authorities have arrested and charged Roderick Devonzeik Anderson, 29, of a Phillips Street apartment, with firing a gun in April and May. He faces 12 charges from Clinton and Laurens law enforcement agencies, and was held on $130,000 bond.
A report said Anderson allegedly with two other people conspired to assaulted a victim at 100 Laurens Street on April 7, and that caused the victim to have a seizure and body injuries, which were treated in Greenville.
He is accused of discharging a gun on South Broad Street on May 4, causing $2,500 in damages to a business at 100 South Broad, and discharging a gun at 1002 South Broad on May 4, with bullets striking several vehicles and business, and some of the vehicles reportedly were occupied. Anderson was charged with breach of peace, aggravated in nature, three counts of discharging a firearm into a vehicle, three counts of malicious damage, unlawful carrying of a pistol, criminal conspiracy and assault and battery by a mob second degree.
Laurens authorities charged Anderson with resisting arrest and possession of a stolen pistol, stemming from a May 4 incident. Fleeing from a Fleming St. traffic stop, Anderson allegedly was in possession of an Arms Cor .38 Special Revolver, which was loaded and had been stolen in Laurens in 2011.
In an unrelated incident, Clinton authorities arrested and charged Boncus Bonae Coleman, 28, of 77 Palmetto St., Clinton, last Monday in an alleged stabbing at her residence.
She was charged with attempted murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
She was denied bond, a report said.
The Eighth Circuit Solicitor’s Office reported a Honea Path man was sentenced to more than 18 years in prison because of a DUI crash that killed his step-daughter.
Solicitor David M. Stumbo said Donald Jerry Harris, 36, pled guilty last Monday at the Abbeville County Courthouse to charges of felony DUI resulting in death, felony DUI resulting in great bodily injury, child endangerment, and driving under suspension. A trial on these charges was scheduled for jury selection last Monday morning before Harris elected to change his plea from not guilty to guilty.
Circuit Judge Frank Addy Jr. handed down a sentence of 18 years and six months in prison.
A Solicitor’s Office statement said that just after 6 p.m. on March 11, 2017, Harris was driving along Tornado Road near Honea Path in Abbeville County in a white SUV when he began to drift to the right. Harris jerked the vehicle back to the left, running off the left side of the road. Harris then jerked the vehicle back to the right, causing it to roll over. In the vehicle with Harris were his wife and three children, including his step-daughter, Abigail, who died at the scene.
Harris and his wife were taken by helicopter to Greenville Health System to receive treatment for their injuries, and the other two children were taken to AnMed before being transferred to Greenville Health System. Harris’ mother was also on scene and claimed to be driving the vehicle, the statement said. It was later determined that Harris was driving the vehicle, and had a blood-alcohol level of about .10 at the time of the crash.
Harris’ mother, Penny Harris, pleaded guilty on May 9 to a charge of obstructing justice in connection to her dishonesty about driving the vehicle at the time of the crash. Assistant Solicitors Micah Black and Wade Dowtin handled the case for the state with assistance from 8th Circuit Investigator Chris Wilkie and Victim Advocate Sarah Parris. Harris was represented by Kami Granade and Tristan Shaffer of the Abbeville Public Defender’s Office. Stumbo praised the work of his staff along with the S.C. Highway Patrol’s Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team in securing the conviction and long prison sentence.
“There are no sadder days than the days on which families have to bury a child for senseless, reckless behavior,” Stumbo said following the proceeding. “While there is no conviction or sentence that can bring little Abby back, it is my hope and prayer that those who loved her can gain some closure by knowing Donald Harris will not be able to endanger the lives of any other human beings for a long time to come.”
Truck driver killed in Hwy 56 crash
Newberry County authorities identified Joby Lee Massey, 26, of Newport, Tennessee, as the victim of an 18-wheeler crash last Monday night.
The wreck happened on Hwy 56, about four miles from Chappells, southeast of Clinton, between Hwys 39 and 560 about 11 p.m., a report said. The victim's vehicle struck a tree in the roadway, veered off the road and hit another tree, ejecting the victim from the truck, a report said. An autopsy showed the victim died of multiple trauma, and the wreck was investigated by the SC Highway Patrol, SC Transportation Police and the Newberry County Coroner’s Office.