CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - As 2011 comes to a close and we get set to ring in 2012, we would like to look back on a big year in the Lowcountry. Below are the 10 Most Read Stories on Live5News.com in 2011. The list was compiled based on web statistics. Later this week, we will unveil the 10 Most Watched Videos and the Top Stories of 2011.
When a North Charleston police officer approached a stolen car in early October, the last thing the officer expected to find was a 3 year old holding a gun.
According to police, the child grabbed what turned out to be a BB gun from the center console as an officer approached the car. The child safely handed it over to the officer while saying "gun, gun."
The child was found in a stolen red Montero sport car. According to police, the child's father, 23-year-old Terrence Myers, was driving the car, but fled when a police officer attempted to make a traffic stop.
Myers was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, possession of a stolen vehicle and unlawful neglect of child.
A Bonneau woman wanted to make a statement, so she decorated her truck with a set of red plastic testicles. And now a jury gets to decide if she was exercising free speech or just being obscene.
Virginia Tice was given a $445 ticket July 5 that accuses her of violating the state's obscene bumper sticker law.
Bonneau Police Chief Franco Fuda gave her the ticket. The case has been continued several time, but the chief says, he has no plans to drop the case.
"That's the law, the law was broken and we're gonna prosecute," Chief Fuda said.
The delay has been frustrating for Fuda and the defense attorney.
Freezing rain and sleet coated the Lowcountry in early January, forcing officials to close multiple bridges and cancel classes in the Tricounty.
The glimpse of winter weather closed the Ravenel, Don Holt, Wando Bridges and others. Classes were cancelled in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties.
The bridge closures caused traffic nightmares as many residents were stuck at home and unable to get to work.
Crews from the South Carolina Department of Transportation applied a brine solution to the bridges and roads to keep them from freezing.
4. Man calls 911 after being shortchanged in crack deal
Police arrested a 41-year-old man in early May after he called 911 and told officers that he was not given the correct change after buying crack cocaine from a drug dealer.
The North Charleston Police Department arrested Dexter White for disorderly conduct.
Authorities say that at 4 a.m. White called 911 and told dispatch that he had given $60 to a drug dealer for crack and only got back $20 worth of drugs. White said the drug dealer refused to give him $40 back.
According to a police report, White walked away from the drug dealer, smoked the crack he purchased and then called 911.
A 40-year-old man died in March after saving his family from a fire in Williamsburg County.
Tyrone McCrae was able to get seven of his family members out of a burning home before he died.
McCrae was staying at his aunt's house temporarily because his own house burned down a month prior. His aunt was one of the seven people who escaped from the mobile home unharmed.
"I kept calling, he never came out," Maree Robinson said.
McCrae's body was later found in a bedroom. Authorities say if the smoke alarms were not working everybody may have been killed in the fire.
Police say a father and son were selling drugs on March 1 when the son was fatally shot in their car. The father was later charged with obstruction of justice and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
The father, 49-year-old Kennedy Smith, dropped his injured son at the St. Andrews Fire Department and then fled on foot. The son, 25-year-old James Javon Smith, died at the fire station.
Police spotted Smith running towards Wapoo Road, away from the station, and a brief foot chase ensued. During the chase police saw Smith discard a large ziplock bag containing 23 baggies of marijuana.
Smith was charged with obstruction of justice in his son's death because police say he lied and discarded evidence. He was also arrested for possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
Three other people were arrested and charged in the shooting. Police charged 18-year-old Frederick L. Flowers with murder. Twenty-year-old Cornelius Robert Jenkins and 19-year-old Brandon E. Smalls are charged with obstruction.
A 2010 graduate of Bishop England High School died in September after a choking accident in a Wofford College dormitory.
Randall Heffron, a 20-year-old sophomore at Wofford College, choked and died while eating pizza with friends in the dorm. He went to the bathroom, but when he didn't return his friends went to the bathroom and found him unresponsive.
Heffron was a 2010 graduate of Bishop England High School where he was a star player on the tennis team. Teachers say he was a hardworking student who was well-liked by classmates.
"Whenever anything like this happens it's a tragedy for their family, but for us too," said former Math teacher Kit Brownell. "Because we know our kids so well, it affects us all. Our prayers are with them at all times."
Heffron's brother, Walker Heffron, says Randall Heffron had aspirations to continue playing tennis through college, major in biology and attend dental school.
A 30-year-old man was sentenced to 30 years in prison in early June for murdering a church music director who was found stabbed 92 times. Tommy Montgomery pleaded guilty, but mentally ill to murder on June 6.
According to doctors, Montgomery suffered from depression and post traumatic stress disorder. Montgomery will serve the full sentence in the SC Department of Corrections and will receive psychiatric treatment while in prison.
According to the solicitor's office, the victim, Brandon Jamison, was the music director at the church that Montgomery attended. In the summer of 2009, Montgomery needed a place to stay, and Jamison allowed Montgomery to live in his apartment.
On Dec. 7, 2009, Montgomery became enraged and attacked Jamison, stabbing him to death. An autopsy revealed that Jamison was stabbed 92 times which included several defensive wounds to the hands and 26 wounds to the back.
Montgomery turned himself in at the North Charleston police the next morning and confessed to killing Jamison.
The community was hit hard when a standout Berkeley High School football player drowned in Lake Moultrie on June 13.
Rahkeem White was only 19 years old when he jumped feet first off the diving board at Somerset Point in Pinopolis and did not surface.
An off duty lifeguard and a bystander went into the water and located White around 6:15 p.m. CPR was started and Berkeley County EMS transported White to a local emergency room where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
The tragedy was ruled an accidental drowning by the coroner's office.
White had just graduated from Berkeley High School where he was a standout running back. He helped the Stags win the 2009 AAAA-Division 2 state championship, and was a 2010 North-South All-Star. White was going to play football at St. Augustine's College in the Raleigh, NC area.
White's death came less than 10 months after his good friend, and fellow standout on offense, D.J. Weathers died in a car accident.
A 15-year-old boy was shot in the head and killed after answering the door for his accused killer on July 20.
Colleton County sheriff's deputies say that 34-year-old Shag Marshall knocked on the door of a mobile home looking for 15-year-old Calvin Fishburne's older brother. When Fishburne opened the door, the suspect was invited into the home, but then opened fire, shooting the boy in the head.
The victim's family says the shooting started over the suspect's ex-girlfriend. The boy's 17-year-old brother was also hurt in the shooting.
Deputies arrested Marshall after his scent was trailed by police dogs through the woods.