Victim notification to expand to jails
A program designed to help crime victims know when their assailants are released from state prisons is expanding to include city and regional jails.
The program, Victim Information and Notification Everyday, or VINE, gathers data on prisoner transfers, bail hearings and releases. Computer technology scans prison rolls and transmits a snapshot of the population to a database every 15 minutes, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine told the Associated Press.
“Each institution agrees to have a record of who’s there available every two hours,” said Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, adding the system will take about two years to expand to 73 city and regional jails.
Victims will be able to call a toll-free number to find out whether an offender is in jail or register by phone to be notified when an offender is released, transferred or escapes. They also can receive e-mails.
About 24,000 people have signed up since 2000, when the program was implemented on a limited basis in state prisons. Before then, Mr. Kaine said victims had to go a lengthy route that involved contacting several jails and prisons — often ending up with old information or none at all.
USDA vaccine pellets target raccoon rabies
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is dropping rabies-vaccine-laced fish-meal pellets from the air in hopes that raccoons will eat them.
About 300,000 pellets are being dropped in the counties of Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington and Wise.
It is part of a larger project in which 4.5 million pellets will be dropped in parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and Maryland. The cost of the project is $5.8 million.
This is the fifth year that the bait is being dropped in Virginia. Raccoons accounted for about half of the nearly 500 reported rabies cases in the state last year.
The pellets are being dropped in wilderness areas. In more populated areas, the bait is being placed on the ground.
Funeral to be held for officer in crash
Funeral services will be held today for an off-duty Colonial Heights police officer who died after his car was struck by a Chesterfield County police cruiser involved in a high-speed chase.
Virginia State Police said Lt. James Sears, 38, died when his car was struck early Saturday as a police car swerved to avoid another vehicle.
Chesterfield County police yesterday identified their officer as Officer Haywood James II, 34, who was taken to VCU Medical Center in Richmond.
Officer James was pursuing a car that sped through an accident scene and had refused to stop when being pulled over. The driver of the pursued vehicle fled the scene on foot after the fatal crash.
Chesterfield police said Douglas Michael Brown Jr., 36, of Barboursville, is wanted in connection with the chase and is also wanted by Charlottesville authorities as a suspect in an unidentified felony.
No charges have been filed.
Lt. Sears, a 17-year police veteran, was a native of the Richmond area.
Body in lake identified in car
Montgomery County police identified the body of a woman whose car was seen going into a lake Sunday night.
Sandra K. Smith, 44, of the 17400 block of Hughes Road in Poolesville, was found in her car at the bottom of Little Seneca Lake near Shore Harbour Drive.
Divers found Miss Smith’s body at 10:15 p.m. in about 25 feet of water some two hours after police received a call from a bystander who saw the car go into the lake.
“It is kind of dark, murky water, so rescue operations had to be done by feel,” said Pete Piringer, a spokesman for the Montgomery County fire department.
Police pulled the car from the lake yesterday morning.
Police said it appears that the incident was not an accident.
“It is not easy to get to where the car was” found, Mr. Piringer said.
Sludge spill on Beltway closes Inner Loop
Traffic was snarled for several hours yesterday afternoon on the Inner Loop of the Capital Beltway after a tractor-trailer overturned near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, spilling sludge across the lanes.
The driver was not seriously hurt when the truck flipped onto its side about 2:45 p.m. just before the afternoon rush, said Mark Brady, a spokesman with the Prince George’s County fire department.
All three southbound lanes of the Beltway from Maryland into Virginia were reopened about three hours later after crews moved the truck and finished scooping up the slick debris, state highway officials said.
The cause of the accident is under investigation.
Group gets grant for Douglass memorial
A group working to build a Frederick Douglass memorial at the Talbot County Courthouse was awarded $80,000.
The grant was given to Fred’s Army by the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area. Fred’s Army hopes to raise nearly $1 million for a statue and so far has collected several hundred thousand dollars, the Easton Star Democrat reported.
“You cannot talk about the Eastern Shore without talking about Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman,” said Moonyene Jackson-Amis, president of Fred’s Army.
The groups plans to spend $100,000 commissioning a statue. The rest of the money will be used for transporting the statue, providing security, setting up a Web site and maintaining the memorial.
Man charged with killing wife
A woman was found slain in her home Sunday, and police have charged her estranged husband, who was freed from jail last month after violating a protective order, with killing her.
Ivy Nicole Mayhew, 31, was found dead about 1:15 p.m. by a relative who had gone to check on her. Mrs. Mayhew had a phone cord wrapped around her neck.
Her estranged husband, Aubrey Bernard Mayhew Jr., was charged with first-degree murder and assault and is being held without bail at the Jennifer Road Detention Center.
Lt. David Waltemeyer, a spokesman for Anne Arundel County Police, said Mr. Mayhew had gone to Mrs. Mayhew’s house to pick up their children, ages 11 and 4. He said the children were not in the house at the time of the slaying.
Mr. Mayhew was arrested at a friend’s house in Edgewater, police said.
According to court document, Mr. Mayhew was arrested July 22 on charges of violating a protective order and assaulting his wife. The documents said he tried to run Mrs. Mayhew off two Arnold roads, and when her car stopped, he climbed onto the hood, and grabbed at her hair through an open window.
Two days later, District Court Judge Robert C. Wilcox released Mr. Mayhew on his own recognizance.
Man pleads guilty in ‘Oprah’ scam
The operator of a travel business has pleaded guilty to theft after bilking dozens of people who thought they had purchased tickets and charter bus trips to Chicago to see the “Oprah Winfrey Show.”
The Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office said Terrance Hawkins, 45, of Temple Hills, had faced seven years in prison, but almost all of that was suspended after he agreed to pay full restitution to about 60 victims.
Most of the victims were senior citizens in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. Hawkins has paid back some victims and now owes about $22,000.
He operated his businesses under the names Royal Travel and Royal Stages Travel Group. Prosecutors think that from December 2004 to April 2005, he accepted payments from clients for trips that were never delivered.
Hawkins pleaded guilty to 17 counts of aggregate theft over $500 on Friday and is to be sentenced Sept. 29.
Attending the “Oprah Winfrey Show” is free, on a first-come, first-served basis.
Police identify man fatally shot at bar
Anne Arundel County police have identified a Columbia man who was killed in a bar parking lot.
Benjamin Curtis, 47, was shot early Saturday morning outside My Place Bar and Lounge on Annapolis Road.
Police said Mr. Curtis was sitting in his sport utility vehicle with a female friend when someone walked up to them, pulled a gun and announced a robbery. The robber took property from Mr. Curtis, then police said Mr. Curtis got into a fight with the robber and was shot.
The gunman ran away. Mr. Curtis was pronounced dead at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.
Denny’s employee stabbed outside work
An employee at a Denny’s restaurant was stabbed yesterday morning behind the building in the 8000 block of Bel Air Road.
The man was flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore for emergency surgery.
There was no word on the extent of his injuries. Police are investigating whether the stabbing was connected to a robbery.
Tot overdosed on PCP, police say
Annapolis police said an 18-month-old child overdosed on PCP after spending the day Friday in the care of a family friend.
The child’s mother — Shanell Smith, 19 — reported that when she returned for the child, the youngster was lethargic and kept falling. Blood tests Friday night confirmed the presence of PCP.
The child was taken to Children’s Hospital in the District. Authorities have not released the child’s sex or condition.
PCP, also called “angel dust,” can raise the heart rate and blood pressure and sometimes causes hallucinations. In high doses, PCP can cause convulsions and death.
Authorities seek leads in battlefield dumping
National Park Service said someone has been dumping trash at Antietam National Battlefield.
Authorities said a large amount of debris — including old windows, window frames and insulation — was illegally dumped near Antietam Creek along Burnside Bridge Road in Sharpsburg.
A $100 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible.
From wire dispatches and staff reports