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HOPKINS, S.C. (WACH) — Those strong storms over the weekend, caused some major problems for quite a few people.In fact, it's still creating issues for a Hopkins man with health issues, who is essentially trapped inside his home.Neighbors did what they could to help, but there's still plenty of problems to deal with in the area.At one point Monday, Third street in Hopkins was flooded by nearly a foot of water.Willie Dwight lives along this road, and the 72-year-old man has cancer. He is also confined to a whe...
HOPKINS, S.C. (WACH) — Those strong storms over the weekend, caused some major problems for quite a few people.
In fact, it's still creating issues for a Hopkins man with health issues, who is essentially trapped inside his home.
Neighbors did what they could to help, but there's still plenty of problems to deal with in the area.
At one point Monday, Third street in Hopkins was flooded by nearly a foot of water.
Willie Dwight lives along this road, and the 72-year-old man has cancer. He is also confined to a wheelchair.
The flooding prevented his healthcare assistant from getting inside the home to help with medicine and meals.
"With the water like that, I can't get my medicine, and I cant get the supplies that I need. They have nowhere to put it, and know where to get it on the ramp," said Willie Dwight, elderly man trapped inside his home.
Dwight has lived in his home for years, and says every time he see's heavy rain, his yard floods.
Dwight's health situation only makes matters worse, and he says he needs seven different pills every day.
"If something would really happen to me in here, then I can’t get out of the door, because of all the water," said Dwight.
"Every time it rain's, like one-time, it was worse than this. But, after they put those drain things down, it was a little better. But this is the second, third time it done, done this," said Selena Davis, a neighbor.
Although Hopkins was hit hard, as of Monday night, Sumter County still had nearly 10 streets that were closed due to flooding.
Despite the situation in the area, Dwight is trying to keep his spirits high.
"So I looked out the door and said oh god almighty! I said I couldn’t get out my door, I need me a boat," said Dwight.
"I’m scared for him, you know. Cause he just might come out there and fall, and he can’t get up," said Davis.
A neighbor called for Richland County officials for Willie Dwight to see if work crews could come help with the flooding issue here.
They say they were told it could take anywhere from one to 10 days to help drain the property.
It was a typical Saturday, not doing much of anything. Tim Hopkins and his fiancée were returning to Summerville from Mount Pleasant after picking up a few items for the house.The phone rang. Son No. 1 was on the line.“Hey man, what’s going on?,” Hopkins said to T.J. Hopkins, a South Carolina outfielder from 2016-19 and minor-league ballplayer since.“Dad, I’m at a gas station,” T.J. said....
It was a typical Saturday, not doing much of anything. Tim Hopkins and his fiancée were returning to Summerville from Mount Pleasant after picking up a few items for the house.
The phone rang. Son No. 1 was on the line.
“Hey man, what’s going on?,” Hopkins said to T.J. Hopkins, a South Carolina outfielder from 2016-19 and minor-league ballplayer since.
“Dad, I’m at a gas station,” T.J. said. “I’m going to the majors.”
It was all Tim could do to keep the truck under control, not to mention his emotions. Once he coughed back the wave of pride, he croaked, “I need you to tell me that one more time.”
The details were hazy, with everything his son was telling him fighting with the constant thought: “My boy’s going to the major leagues!” T.J. was filling up somewhere between Louisville, his Triple-A minor-league outpost, and Cincinnati, trying to beat the clock before the Reds threw the first pitch against Milwaukee.
Tim was just trying to get home so he could unload and start planning. When was the next flight to Cincinnati (5:30 a.m. Sunday), are there comp tickets (yes), where’s a good hotel …
And of course the usual directions.
“You only got three hours to get there? You better haul (tail)!” he hollered.
Many days worth of work, all of that encouragement, had at last arrived. T.J., who learned the game on Lowcountry rec fields, honed it at Summerville High and became a master of the extra-base hit with the Gamecocks, was at the highest level.
He recorded his first career RBI that day on a bases-loaded walk, and two days later with Tim in the stands, he smoked his first career hit. Tim was surrounded by a group of about 20 — T.J.’s friends, agent, family — and of course got to talk with him on the field afterward, but it’s still settling in.
That was his son out there, resplendent in that white uniform with red trim, “26” glistening on his chest and back, his last name above the latter. Tim collected the ball which T.J. connected on for his first hit and the lineup cards for his son’s first two games, and sat there in Great American Ballpark with a grin that could be seen from any other American ballpark.
“I cried for about an hour and a half when he told me he was going. I had tears in my eyes when he stepped to the plate,” Tim said. “It was good stuff. All I can say. It was damn good.”
Tim stayed for the rest of the homestand, and T.J. was sent back down to Louisville on June 18. Father and son have again been in the same stadium this week, as the Bats traveled to Charlotte for a six-game series that ends Sunday, and they’ve caught up.
Sure, it was a letdown to be demoted. But T.J. is keeping the faith he’ll soon be called back up. He was batting a robust .330 with seven home runs, 14 doubles and 27 RBIs through June 22, and it’s clear he can handle Triple-A pitching.
T.J. had four hits with an RBI, stole a base and scored four runs in 14 games with the Reds, which is fine. Gives him something to work on rather than belting 10 homers in his first 12 major-league at-bats and having nowhere to go but down.
“It’s a constant chess match,” T.J. told reporters after his debut game. “I think that’s the name of the game. They’re going to adjust to you, you got to adjust to them. Work hard and believe in myself.”
He’s not presently with the Reds, but was part of the start of a resurgence as Cincinnati has become the hottest team in baseball. They’ve won 11 straight while vaulting into first place in the National League Central, despite an extremely young roster (outside of veteran Joey Votto).
They’re obviously not going to change anything while it’s working, but baseball will take over eventually. Losses and injuries and sudden slumps will happen.
“I think T.J. will be the first call back,” Tim said. “He thinks that, too.”
In the meantime Tim knows that T.J. is constantly thinking of the taste he received, six games in front of the Reds faithful and an extended road trip to Los Angeles, St. Louis, Kansas City and Houston.
It all seems like fate; when T.J. and Tim talked before the season began, T.J. let him know something.
“He told me going into this year, he was going to give it two more years. If he didn’t get a call, he was going to come back home and go to work and do his own thing,” Tim said. “I told him, ‘Let’s just wait and see.’”
Now even if it never happens again, T.J. is all the better for it. He had 15 days in the major leagues, which meant he was automatically boosted to a major-league salary (the minimum MLB salary this season is $720,000). He has a nest egg, his troublesome back problems have disappeared and his dream came true.
Now to make it come true again, and realize another dream of making it to a big-league roster to stay.
“He’s never been a big smiler. T.J. is always so serious, he’s always focused,” Tim said. “And I saw him smile more in those 15 days when he was up there than I ever have.”
GREENVILLE, S.C. —A civil suit between an Upstate man and the Greenville County Sheriff's Office went to trial Tuesday.Stephon Hopkins claims he was injured during an arrest four years ago and that, among other things, his head was slammed into the door of a deputy's car.The arrest happened in April 2019. A portion of the body cam video showing the door hitting Hopkin's head was released in 2021.Hopkins appeared in court Tuesday. He's also suing Greenville County. ...
GREENVILLE, S.C. —
A civil suit between an Upstate man and the Greenville County Sheriff's Office went to trial Tuesday.
Stephon Hopkins claims he was injured during an arrest four years ago and that, among other things, his head was slammed into the door of a deputy's car.
The arrest happened in April 2019. A portion of the body cam video showing the door hitting Hopkin's head was released in 2021.
Hopkins appeared in court Tuesday. He's also suing Greenville County.
More news: (Story continues after these links)
According to information learned in court, it all began after a series of 911 calls in which the caller hung up. Two deputies responded to a home near White Horse Road, not knowing why.
They found a woman pacing out front. She denied anything was wrong, but deputies learned she was arguing with Hopkins, who was the father of her child.
He came outside yelling that she had cheated on him and ran off. Deputies eventually apprehended him. But he and his legal team, led by Bakari Sellers, said deputies used a stun gun on him 10 times, punched him using handcuffs and slammed his head with the door of the patrol car.
"I'm going to answer this question now," Sellers said in opening arguments. "Some of you may ask the question — and it's human nature — why did Stephon Hopkins run? And I'll just tell you if you ask him today, he probably wishes he didn't. But I will tell you that that's pretty irrelevant to the way that they treated him."
The sheriff's office found no wrongdoing by the two deputies. They said Hopkins ran because he didn't want them to know about warrants for his arrest.
"You can see (the deputy's) hand closing the car door," said defense attorney Stephanie Burton. "He reaches to close the car door, thinking that Mr. Hopkins is back far enough to be out of the way. He's not." (The deputy) accidentally hits him with the car door, following which Mr. Hopkins starts screaming, 'Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah. That's on camera. That's on camera. That's a lawsuit.'"
Hopkins was later charged with resisting arrest and hindering an officer. He served seven months in prison on those charges, according to his attorneys.
Day two of the civil trial resumes Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m.
GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - A jury finds the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office was not negligent in a lawsuit alleging excessive force.Plaintiff Stephon Hopkins said a deputy intentionally shut the cruiser door on his head in April 2019. Hopkins also said this was after the same deputy punched him using handcuffs like brass knuckles. Hopkins filed a lawsuit against the sheriff’s office and the county, suing for damages in 2021.The officer has said the door was an accident and he only hit Hopkins with his firs...
GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - A jury finds the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office was not negligent in a lawsuit alleging excessive force.
Plaintiff Stephon Hopkins said a deputy intentionally shut the cruiser door on his head in April 2019. Hopkins also said this was after the same deputy punched him using handcuffs like brass knuckles. Hopkins filed a lawsuit against the sheriff’s office and the county, suing for damages in 2021.
The officer has said the door was an accident and he only hit Hopkins with his first to bring him into compliance. Internal investigations found the deputy was not using excessive force and now a jury agrees.
The week-long trial ended with just two hours of jury deliberations.
“It’s a disappointing day,” said plaintiff’s attorney Bakari Sellers.
Sellers said although it wasn’t the verdict he and Hopkins wanted there are smaller victories they can celebrate.
“We do feel like there is some semblance of justice and we were able to peel back the curtain on they way that Greenville and the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office operates,” Sellers said.
Jurors spent the week watching video after video of the April 2019 incident records on deputies’ body cameras.
The cameras caught the deputy closing the door on Hopkins’ head, as well as another deputy saying to Hopkins they would do it again. However, cameras did not record when Walters hit Hopkins.
During closing arguments, Sellers pleaded his case one last time.
“We won’t dare say this case is like Breonna Taylor and George Floyd cause it ain’t. This ain’t that case. We know that. I acknowledged it in pre-trial. This is not that case,” Sellers said. “But we will say that unless individuals are held accountable for the lies we now know and the injuries they caused, this county can be ripped apart.”
In the end the jury saw otherwise, siding with the sheriff’s office and the county.
“What if Mr. Hopkins had stopped and talked to the deputies that day? What if he complied with demands to put his hands behind his back at the side yard at 6 Athelon? Sure, he would have been detained, but that would have been the end of the story,” defendant’s attorney Stephanie Burton said in her closing arguments. “What if he had not run across White Horse Road and continued to fight? What if he just simply stood up and walked into the detention center? We all wouldn’t be sitting here today if those things had happened.”
Sellers said at least the public was able to see all the body camera video from the incident.
“I still think failures were made along the way and hopefully it won’t happen anymore,” Sellers said.
Burton denied a request for an interview.
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A yearslong ordeal for Karen Irick and her neighbors ended in 2005, when clean drinking water splashed through their pipes and into the kitchen sinks and showers of Franklin Park southeast of Columbia....
A yearslong ordeal for Karen Irick and her neighbors ended in 2005, when clean drinking water splashed through their pipes and into the kitchen sinks and showers of Franklin Park southeast of Columbia.
Franklin Park had suffered from spotty service and lead-contaminated drinking water for parts of two decades before the state finally fixed the problem.
So when Irick, 69, heard about troubles with the Jackson, Miss., water system, she knew first-hand how people felt — and she wanted to help.
Irick formed a charity last week and is trying to collect bottled water from South Carolina residents and Franklin Park neighbors who, like her, suffered from substandard drinking water for years.
Her goal is to gather 4,000 bottles of water and truck them from South Carolina’s capital to the Mississippi capital to distribute directly to elderly and disabled people who can’t get out of their homes.
Irick is talking with officials at local truck stops, retail stores and schools to assist with the effort. In coming weeks, she hopes to ship the water to Mississippi from a central distribution point in the Columbia area.
Irick is glad to help, but sorry she has to.
“It really made me cry when I saw the first news reports about Jackson,’’ Irick said. “It dawned on me that we went through that situation.’’
Jackson, a city comparable in size to Columbia, has been a hot spot lately for drinking water difficulties.
Recent problems at an aging city treatment plant were among the reasons that more than 150,000 residents were without safe water, The New York Times reported.
But problems also occurred at other times. More than 70% of Jackson’s residents were without safe drinking water after a winter storm broke pipes across the city in February 2021, according to the Times.
Franklin Park is a small subdivision on the edge of Columbia, composed of ranch-style houses and a smattering of frame homes, many built more than 50 years ago.
When Franklin Park was being developed, it made sense to establish a small water system for the community, rather than rely on wells that were threatened by malfunctioning septic tanks in the spongy, water-logged soil of eastern Richland County.
But within years of the small water system’s installation, it began to sputter. Sometimes, the water was so discolored that laundry came out of the washing machine looking dingy. Other times, the water left blue-green rings on bathtubs.
And that was when the water system actually was working.
More than a few times, neighbors complained that little or nothing flowed from their taps.
On one occasion, residents were left without water over a July Fourth holiday. When a Franklin Park homeowner called the private water company that ran the system, he was treated rudely and told to buy water at a local gas station, the resident told The State in 2005.
But the most serious problem at Franklin Park was lead.
The toxic metal showed up periodically in the drinking water for two decades, exposing unsuspecting residents to a pollutant that can cause learning disabilities in children and high blood pressure and kidney problems in adults.
The State described the lead problems in an investigative series that revealed how South Carolina regulators did little about the threat as the pipes serving Franklin Park began to grow old. Lead inside corroding pipes was flaking into the water and exposing unsuspecting people to the hazardous metal. Some of the Franklin Park residents had higher-than-average levels of lead in their blood, including several children.
Despite that, the problems at Franklin Park had gone unresolved since at least 1985. State regulators failed to convince the neighborhood’s private water company to make repairs, despite knowing that lead was showing up in tap water.
The more Irick learned — after digging through public records and making phone calls to state regulators — the more she became concerned about the threat to her community.
So Irick, a Columbia native and C.A. Johnson High School graduate, launched efforts to get clean drinking water for Franklin Park, the working-class neighborhood where her parents had built a house decades ago.
She organized meetings for neighbors in her yard. She called state regulators to complain. She enlisted the help of politicians, including Joe Neal, a state House member who represented the Franklin Park area at the time.
Then in October 2005, as The State was preparing to publish an in-depth story about Franklin Park’s troubles, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and Richland County announced plans to treat the water to stop the lead threat.
Within a year, the lead problems had largely cleared up and water outages diminished.
Now, Irick said she feels a calling to assist the people of Jackson, Mississippi.
“The Franklin Park experience is what these folks are going through on a much larger scale,’’ Irick said. “I’m compelled to help them. It’s an assignment for me. It’s a humanitarian effort.’’
While Jackson’s problems affect far more people than those in a single community like Franklin Park, both places have suffered from crumbling infrastructure that for years made the drinking water a routine source of concern.
It’s an issue across the country, where many water systems are struggling as infrastructure ages. Small, underfunded and understaffed systems are particularly vulnerable in places like South Carolina. But even cities suffer from broken pipes that sometimes cause boil water advisories.
Linda Carter, an official with the West Jackson Community Development Corp., in Mississippi, said communities from across the South and the nation have shipped bottled water to Jackson to help out.
But every bit is important, and assistance from Irick is welcomed, Carter said. A key concern is that big retailers in Mississippi can’t provide enough bottled water. Some of them are limiting sales of water to any one person or organization, she said.
The people of Jackson “need more’’ bottled water, Carter said. “We didn’t reach everybody we needed to reach. I was so appreciative when she called.’’
Officials in Mississippi announced this week that water pressure had been restored in Jackson, with the anticipation that safe drinking water would soon be available. But that won’t resolve the problems in Mississippi’s capital, officials there say. Jackson’s mayor told ABC News the city’s water supply remains a concern.
Carter said the system often breaks down, causing discoloration and advisories against drinking the water unless it is boiled.
“The color of the water is brown,’’ Carter said. “At my office in Jackson, there’s low pressure.’’
Irick’s efforts, which she took on initially by herself, involved forming a charity through the S.C. Secretary of State’s office and visiting truck stops and convenience stores, asking if she could post fliers in the windows seeking truckers to help haul the water.
Her charity is called the Clean Water for Impacted Communities Drive, according to state and federal records.
She also has spoken with school officials and retail store managers and is awaiting word on whether they will allow parking lots to be used as water drop-of sites. The plan is to bring all the water available to one place, then send it via truck to Jackson later the same day. Irick said she’s still working to find that spot.
The bottled water shipped to Mississippi likely would be distributed to the elderly and the disabled by students from Jackson State University, Carter said.
Irick, a long-time advocate for the disabled who works at the University of South Carolina, said it’s hard to believe small communities like Franklin Park and cities like Jackson, Miss., have struggled for years with the common problem of unsafe drinking water.
But in some ways, it’s no surprise, she said. The government has not historically put enough emphasis — or spent enough money — on the threats of failing drinking water systems, both large and small, she said.
While President Joe Biden has committed billions of dollars to help out, Irick said the government’s priorities still cause her to scratch her head. The United States, for instance, is preparing to launch moon missions, parts of which will include looking for water.
“We spend billions of dollars trying to get to water up there,’’ she said. “We need that for water here.’’
For those interested in helping out, call or text Irick at 803-949-6482 or contact her by email at email@example.com
This story was originally published September 8, 2022, 9:55 AM.