The fight and arrest on a charge of underage possession of alcohol early in the morning of Jan. 4 at Athens Ridge, the student housing complex on Old Macon Highway, was an exception, a review of records of the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office shows.
Going back to when the townhouse complex opened at the beginning of the academic year in August, records show only one other incident that clearly involved alcohol. That event also was this year, on the morning of Jan. 1.
|Athens Ridge Boulevard|
Shortly before 3 a.m. on Jan. 4, Sheriff Deputy Matt Towe responded to several 911 calls about a fight underway at the student complex that involved 20 to 30 males.
Towe arrested Nicholas Bryant, 18, Lawrenceville, and charged him with underage possession of alcohol, a misdemeanor.
Details Of Arrest
When Towe arrived at Athens Ridge, he saw several people running from the intersection of Athens Ridge Boulevard and Black Oak Drive toward the pool area at the rear of the complex, according to the Sheriff’s Office incident report.
Towe reported that he saw a male wearing a t-shirt that was ripped and had blood on it. The individual was not wearing shoes.
The individual reported that there had been a large fight and that the others had run off before Towe arrived.
Towe wrote in his report that the individual’s breadth smelled of alcohol and the individual “was very unsteady on his feet.”
Fight Started On Bus
The individual told Towe that he had been in downtown Athens and had consumed alcohol.
He also told Towe that the fight had started on the bus coming back from Athens.
According to the web site for the complex, Athens Ridge runs shuttles to and from downtown Athens from 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. Shuttles also run to campus during the day.
|Shuttle Bus On UGA Campus|
Athens Ridge has 190 units and was fully leased as the school year began with 787 residents.
Athens Ridge Boulevard runs from Old Macon Highway through the center of the complex. Black Oak Drive and Redwood Lane parallel Athens Ridge Boulevard but also loop around to cross it.
The community is gated, and the roads are private.
Arrest and Release
Deputy Towe reported that he arrested Bryant and took him to the jail in Watkinsville.
Chief Deputy Lee Weems said that Bryant posted $500 bond at 4 a.m. on Jan. 4 and was released.
Weems told me that the Sheriff’s Office has been pleasantly surprised by the few incidents involving Athens Ridge.
The incident on July 1 involved a male who entered an unlocked apartment in the complex. The woman told the deputy the individual was drunk and disorderly but had left before the deputy arrived.
Bryan Neil Chaffin, 23, Loganville, subsequently was charged with drunkenness, obstruction of the law and criminal trespass.
Falls Of Oconee
In the future, the students won’t have to go to downtown Athens for their entertainment.
Site preparation continues at The Falls of Oconee, a small shopping center across Old Macon Highway from Athens Ridge. Both the student complex and the shopping center property are owned by the same Michigan company.
Plans are for the shopping center to contain several restaurants. The shopping center is in the area of the county where restaurants can have a license to sell beer, wine and alcohol.
So far, only preliminary site plans have been filed for the shopping center, and no building permits have been issued.
The county did receive a copy of a letter from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources dated Dec. 15 indicating that the underground storage tanks that had been on the site have been disposed of and the site had been cleared for construction.
A convenience store and gas station had been on the site.