New Year's DUI arrests highest in Pee Dee

The Highway Patrol's Troop 5, which covers the Pee Dee area including Myrtle Beach and Florence, made 80 DUI arrests over the New Year's long weekend

Those 80 DUI arrests were the largest number made by any of the patrol's eight troops, said Department of Public Safety director Mark Keel.

In all, the 827-trooper patrol made 305 DUI arrests over the long weekend, from 6 p.m. Thursday, New Year's Eve, to midnight Sunday.

That is up from last year's New Year's holiday total trooper DUI arrests of 269.

The Midlands' Troop 1, which includes Richland and Lexington counties, made 55 DUI arrests.

Over the holiday weekend, troopers also issued 2,396 seat belt citations compared with 2,158 seat belt citations during the same period last year.

Keel said reasons those tickets are up include new leadership in trooper upper ranks and clear directives to troopers to concentrate on DUI, seat belt and speeding violations.

"We know that most fatalities are the result of one of those three violations," Keel said.

In the 2008 New Year's long weekend, eight people died in traffic accidents. Over this New Year's weekend, three died, the patrol said.

Patrol statistics do not include DUI and seat belt tickets issued by county and city law agencies.

- John Monk

Killer gets stay of execution

The state Supreme Court has issued a stay of execution for Quincy Jovan Allen, who pleaded guilty in 2005 to killing two people and was later sentenced to death by a judge.

Allen had appealed his sentence, arguing that the trial judge, G. Thomas Cooper, had made some mistakes during his sentencing trial. In November, the state Supreme Court denied Allen's appeal and ordered the execution to be carried out. The state Department of Corrections had scheduled the execution for Friday.

Allen's attorney, Robert Dudek, asked the court for the stay to give him time to appeal to the United States Supreme Court.

- Adam Beam

Sex offender arrested for railing to register

Lexington County sheriff's deputies have arrested a 42-year-old convicted sex offender for failing to register with local authorities.

Lexington County Sheriff James. Metts said deputies acting on an anonymous tip arrested Kenneth Culver Killian II, shortly before 5 p.m. Monday at Killian's home, 249 Doe Trail, Lexington.

Killian answered the front door and was arrested without incident. He was being held Tuesday at the Lexington County Detention Center on $1,000 bail.

Under S.C. law, Killian is required to register with the Sheriff's Department as a convicted sex offender. Killian was convicted in 1997 of committing a lewd act upon a child under the age of 16 in North Carolina.

- John Monk

Help sought in finding who painted racist graffiti

The Columbia Police Department is asking for your help to catch the person who spray painted some racist graffiti on City Hall last week.

Police investigators have been reviewing camera footage from a traffic camera at the corner of Laurel and Main streets and from two security cameras at the federal bankruptcy court next door to city hall.

But those camera angles have been inconclusive, police spokesman Brick Lewis said.

Lewis said anyone with information can call CrimeStoppers at (888) CRIME-SC or text "TIP SC" plus your message to CRIMES (274637.)

Anonymous tips could earn a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest.

- Adam Beam

Man accused in ATM theft arrested after crash

A man police say was caught in the act of stealing an ATM machine was arrested after he crashed at the end of a brief police chase.

Dicky Thomas Boyd, 29, of Kennerly Road, is charged with second-degree burglary, grand larceny, failure to stop for a blue light and driving under the influence.

Around 1:15 a.m. Tuesday, an alarm was triggered at the Corner Pantry at Broad River and Koon roads, Irmo Police Chief Brian Buck said. A patrol officer was in the vicinity and saw a man in the store.

The man had backed a pickup truck through the sliding glass doors of the store and was moving a small ATM machine across the floor toward the truck.

Upon seeing the officer, the man jumped into the truck and drove away, Buck said.

The officer gave chase and arrested the suspect after the truck collided with a tree on Connie Wright Road. The driver was identified as Boyd.

Boyd was taken to Palmetto Health Richland by ambulance. His condition was not known late Tuesday.

- Kelly Davis

No threat found after bomb dog's alert

No threat was found after a Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport bomb-sniffing dog alerted on a plane, causing the B Concourse to be evacuated, according to the Transportation Security Administration's office in Atlanta.

ASA Flight 5493 to Atlanta was at the gate with the crew aboard when the dog alerted on the aircraft. The flight crew deplaned and a perimeter was established.

The flight's 29 passengers had not boarded the plane. As a cautionary measure, the ASA 5493 passengers along with other passengers in Course B were sent back to the terminal, according to a TSA statement.

The Greenville County Sheriff's Bomb Squad was summoned to check out the aircraft. After no threat was found, normal operations resumed and the passengers were rescreened before leaving, said Jon Allen, TSA spokesman.

Officials said the concourse reopened about noon Tuesday.

- The Greenville News