Missing men found dead in car crash

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- Two men who were last seen at a New Year's Eve party were found dead in a ravine off Ga. Highway 11 Saturday morning, victims of a car crash, according to the Newton County Sheriff's Office.

Robert Michael Dempsey, 34, of Oxford, and James Eugene Mason, 39, of Newberry, S.C., were found in an overturned 1996 Chevrolet Lumina down a wooded embankment. The vehicle was spotted by a resident walking along the west side of Ga. Highway 11 near Surrey Chase subdivision, who said he was looking for scrap metal around 10:30 a.m. when he saw the car.

"The vehicle was in a place that couldn't be seen driving down the highway," said NCSO spokesman Lt. Tyrone Oliver. "The only way you could see it is if you were walking along the shoulder of the road and looking down by the guard rail."

The two men had been reported missing and the car was assumed to be stolen by a family member who said they left the residence where a New Year's Eve party was being held about 5:30 a.m. on Jan. 1 and hadn't been seen since. It is not known exactly when the crash occurred.

The Georgia State Patrol investigated the crash and spokesman Gordy Wright said Dempsey was driving the vehicle, traveling south on Ga. Highway 11 when he "left the roadway in a curve, vaulted over a culvert, struck a tree and then traveled down an embankment, coming to rest upside down."

Dempsey was ejected.

"Speed and alcohol were definitely factors in the accident," Oliver said.

In other crime news, NCSO deputies nabbed an armed robber minutes after he held up the South Fork gas station and convenience store on Flat Shoals Road around 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

NCSO spokesman Lt. Mark Mitchell said the suspect used a silver handgun and was only able to get $20 from the clerk before fleeing in a silver vehicle.

"A lookout was given immediately and Porterdale Police officers spotted him right away," Mitchell said, adding that NCSO deputies and Porterdale officers made the arrest. "It was due to quick work from the clerk, dispatch and officers that we were able to apprehend him."

Doniell Lee Senior, 28, of 85 Lightwood Drive, faces armed robbery charges.