News Briefs

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Sheriff’s Office investigating shooting

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a shooting incident that occurred at a St. Helena home late last Wednesday night.

Deputies responded to the residence at 79 Shiney Rd at approximately 11:30 p.m. last night in reference to a report of shots fired. Upon arrival, deputies met with the 40-year-old female homeowner and her 14-year old son who advised that unknown person(s) had fired shots into their home from outside.

The complainant reported she was lying in bed when she heard gunshots entering her home. She dropped to the floor and crawled out to find her son, who had been in his bedroom. After determining that no one had been injured, they discovered that there were numerous holes in exterior wall of the home’s living room, and that several projectiles had penetrated the wall and embedded in a couch.

The victims were unable to provide any suspect description; however, the juvenile victim did report having recently been involved in a physical altercation with another juvenile subject, who did make threats to shoot the victim. No injuries were reported as a result of the shooting, and approximately $1,300 in estimated damages to the home was sustained.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Investigator Staff Sgt. J. Fraser at 843-255-3416 or Crimestoppers.

BJWSA gets financial reporting award

Beaufort-Jasper Water and Sewer Authority (BJWSA) has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the US and Canada (GFOA) in honor of its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). The award is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting. This is the ninth consecutive year that BJWSA has received the award.

“The CAFR is great way to tell BJWSA’s story of responsible money management and sound fiscal planning. I hope all our customers read it and learn some more about BJWSA,” said Ed Saxon, BJWSA’s General Manager. “The award is a reflection of our dedicated finance staff here, and we’re glad to have earned it,” added Sarah Linkimer, BJWSA’s controller.

Information about BJWSA’s CAFR, including an electronic version of the document, can be found online at www.bjwsa.org.

New director of county PALS announced

Beaufort County Administrator Gary Kubic announced last week that Scott Marshall will be the new Parks and Leisure Services (PALS) Director.

“Scott is the perfect candidate for this position. He is familiar with Beaufort County but will be able to look at the PALS Department with a fresh set of eyes. He will be able to enter his new position and really take charge”, said Gary Kubic.

Mr. Marshall has been employed with Beaufort County since June of 2009 as Executive Director of the Board of Elections and Registration. He will lead both departments until an interim director for the Board of Elections and Registration is named.

Suspicious fire being investigated

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fire that damaged a Laurel Bay Road business early Monday, June 24.

At approximately 4 a.m .this morning, Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters responded to 500 Laurel Bay Road (the restaurant formerly known as Billits Pizza) in reference to a report of smoke and flames seen rising from the rear of the building.

As firefighters worked to extinguish the fire, roadways surrounding the area (Mroz Road and parts of Laurel Bay Road and Capehart Circle) were closed to traffic. Once the fire was effectively contained and extinguished, members of the fire department’s investigative team were able to assess the scene, determining that the fire appeared to be suspicious in nature.

It was noted that the building, which is currently vacant and under foreclosure proceedings, was not connected for electrical service. A door to the business was also found to be standing open upon initial arrival by emergency personnel.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Investigator Cpl. B. Disbrow at 843-255-3407 or Crimestoppers.

Victim identified in fatal traffic collision

The pedestrian killed in last Wednesday’s early morning traffic collision on Hwy 21 has been identified.

The Beaufort County Coroner’s Office has confirmed the identity of the man killed as 68-year-old Juan Vargas of Seabrook. Vargas was walking on Hwy 21 when he was struck and killed by an SC Highway Patrol man just before 5 a.m.

Trooper First Class D.W. Stephens was traveling Southbound on Hwy 21 when his patrol vehicle struck Vargas. A witness reported that Stephens was traveling at a “very reasonable speed not exceeding the posted speed limit.” Upon seeing the trooper come to a sudden stop in the roadway, the witness also stopped to assist the trooper who was attending to the stricken Vargas.

Reconstruction of the accident scene suggested that Vargas was walking approximately 2 ft. into the immediate roadway at the time of the collision. It was noted that not only was there no street lighting present, but also that Vargas was wearing dark clothing. There were no signs of the trooper’s vehicle leaving the roadway at any time. Based on the evidence and corroborating statements, it was determined that Trooper Stephens was not at fault for the collision.

Preliminary autopsy reports indicate Vargas died as a result of blunt force trauma consistent with being struck by a vehicle. The investigation has concluded, however, the case will remain active pending the receipt of the toxicology report.

New program to collect more delinquent taxes

In an effort to collect delinquent taxes more efficiently, the Beaufort County Treasurer’s Office will be implementing a Setoff Debt program this fall. The program is in alignment with the Setoff Debt Collection Act, Title 12-56-62 of the South Carolina Code, which enables the garnishment of South Carolina State income tax refunds.

The program may be expanded in the future, but the treasurer’s office will begin with delinquent mobile homes.

Affected taxpayers will be notified by mail in July allowing them time to resolve their delinquent balance(s) prior to the Setoff Debt implementation.

“As always, we continue to look for new and innovative ways to maximize collections. We appreciate the public’s ongoing support in our efforts to making the Beaufort County Treasurer’s Office effective and efficient”, said Doug Henderson, Beaufort County Treasurer.

County Council votes to buy Pulaski property

Beaufort County Council authorized the purchase of 34 acres in the Burton area through its Rural and Critical Land Program.

The acquisition advances a partnership with the Marine Corps Air Station to preserve lands that act as a buffer for the installation. The property is adjacent to other land protected through the partnership with MCAS and Beaufort County, and expands the conservation focus area directly under the current Air Installation Compatibility Use Zone.

The properties are owned by members of the Pulaski family who use the land for cattle farming.

The cost of the land is $206,000. $103,000 will come from the Rural and Critical Land Preservation Funds and $103,000 will come from the Marine Corps Air Station.