- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 1, 2005

Maryland State Police reported one traffic fatality yesterday, the only New Year’s Day highway death in the greater metropolitan area.

John Charles Seipp, 22, of Salisbury, was killed when he crashed his 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee on Union Church Road in Salisbury about 1 a.m. yesterday. Police said the accident was alcohol-related.

Otherwise, “it was quiet,” said Sgt. Denard Allen, spokesman for the Maryland State Police.

No other traffic fatalities were reported in Maryland, Northern Virginia or the District.

Police calls for complaints about domestic violence, bar fights and noise usually spike on New Year’s Eve, but there was no increase in those calls this holiday, police spokesmen said.

“Our watch commanders are pretty good about calling in if there’s any type of pattern, even if it’s something pretty small, and nobody did. So it was a quiet night,” said Matt Martin, spokesman for Arlington County Police.

Police around the region said the number of drunken-driving arrests would not be available until at least tomorrow.

However, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) reported that it had provided 602 free cab rides for local revelers.

“This translates into the removal of a would-be drunk driver from Greater Washington’s roadways every 48 seconds on New Year’s Eve,” said Kurt Erickson, president of the nonprofit group.

Between Dec. 10 and yesterday, WRAP provided 2,723 free cab rides to persons over 21 who were intoxicated, a 22 percent increase over last year.

Meanwhile, the District finished the year with 198 homicides — an 18-year low.

Metropolitan Police found a 25-year-old man suffering multiple gunshot wounds about 8:30 p.m. Friday in the 1600 block of E Street NE. He was pronounced dead at Washington Hospital Center at 10:31 p.m. The victim’s name was not released pending notification of his next of kin.

In a separate incident, D.C. police yesterday were searching for a woman who set fire to several pumps at a BP gas station on Bladensburg Road NE, causing minor damage.

Police said the woman set fire to the pumps after she tried to buy cigarettes and a clerk at the station asked her for identification, the Associated Press reported.

The woman managed to ignite some of the pumps, but firefighters responded to the scene and doused the flames before they could spread to underground tanks.

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