- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 4, 2006

VIRGINIA

ETTRICK

Officer, suspect killed in shootout

A Chesterfield County police officer was fatally shot and another seriously wounded yesterday during a shootout with a man who also was killed.

Two officers went to a home shortly after 1 a.m. to investigate a report of a domestic dispute, police said. When they arrived, William Anderson pulled out a gun and fatally shot Officer Gary J. Buro, police said. Officer Joseph G. Diman then shot Mr. Ander-son, who shot him several times in return, investigators said.

Officer Buro and Mr. Anderson, both 34, died at the scene. Officer Diman, 26, was in stable condition with not life-threatening wounds at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond.

Officer Buro, who started working in Chesterfield in January, was a native of New York City, where he was an officer for six years. Before that, he worked as an officer in Lantana, Fla., and served as a military police officer with the Marines.

Mr. Anderson was a corrections officer at a Caroline County prison.

Ettrick is across the Appo-mattox River from Petersburg.

CHARLOTTESVILLE

Jury gets civil case of ex-death row inmate

A federal jury will begin deliberations today on whether a former state police investigator fabricated a confession that sent Earl Washington Jr. to death row for a crime he did not commit.

Mr. Washington is suing the estate of Curtis Reese Wilmore, who died in 1994. His attorneys say that Mr. Wilmore fed Mr. Washington — who is mildly retarded — details that were used in his false confession to the 1982 rape and murder of Rebecca Lynn Williams in Culpeper.

Mr. Washington, now 45, served nearly 18 years in prison and came within nine days of being executed.

DNA tests conducted in 2000 prompted Gov. James S. Gilmore III to pardon him.

Mr. Washington is seeking unspecified damages in the civil suit. His attorneys must prove that Mr. Wilmore deliberately fabricated evidence leading to a conviction.

RICHMOND

Orphaned black bear arrives at animal park

A new bear has arrived at Maymont Park to replace two bears that were euthanized after one bit a boy in February.

A 15-month-old orphaned black bear from Roanoke arrived at the park Wednesday night. The 60-pound male will remain in isolation for about a month before going on public view in the bear habitat.

The decision to kill the popular animals, which were euthanized to test for rabies, sparked outrage in the community and drew criticism from Mayor L. Douglas Wilder.

WINCHESTER

With jackpot in hand, man sees life of ease

A Winchester, Va., man who hit the jackpot in West Virginia will leave his manufacturing job and live off his investments.

Donald Cox, 46, won the Hot Lotto drawing on March 18 and claimed his check yesterday at the West Virginia Lottery headquarters in Charleston.

The winning jackpot was $8.5 million. Mr. Cox opted for the cash option, which is $3.8 million after federal taxes. Virginia has yet to take its cut.

Mr. Cox said the money, which will go into a trust account, will provide security for him and his parents.

The March 18 jackpot was the third largest in the history of the game.

MARYLAND

BALTIMORE

Woman’s kidnapper gets six-year sentence

A federal judge yesterday sentenced a man to six years in prison for kidnapping an acquaintance from a Frederick street.

U.S. Judge William M. Nickerson also ordered Hugo A. Aguilar-Mejia, 36, of Palmdale, Calif., to serve three years of supervised release.

Aguilar-Mejia reached a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty in February to helping to abduct Delmy B. Rivera last summer. He faced a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole and a $250,000 fine.

A witness told Frederick police that he heard a woman scream and then saw her struggling with a man later identified as Jose F. Padilla-Colin, 28, of Cuerna Vaca, Morales, Mexico. The witness said Padilla-Colin punched the woman in the face and threw her into a sport utility vehicle with another man, later identified as Aguilar-Mejia, at the wheel.

Miss Rivera’s father said his daughter had been in contact with Aguilar-Mejia, and that he had come to Maryland to see her.

Police issued a nationwide alert for Aguilar-Mejia’s vehicle, and law-enforcement officers in Memphis, Texas, pulled it over for speeding two days later. Aguilar-Mejia and Miss Rivera were inside.

Miss Rivera told authorities that Aguilar-Mejia had dropped off Padilla-Colin in Willis, Texas. Authorities arrested Padilla-Colin there a week after the kidnapping. He also entered a guilty plea and is scheduled to be sentenced May 18.

SYKESVILLE

School bus hits construction worker

A construction worker was critically injured yesterday afternoon when he was hit by a school bus passing through a work zone, state police said.

A crew was working on the shoulder at Central and Third avenues when the bus crossed the center line about 2:30 p.m. The bus hit Gary Rucker, 40, of Taneytown, who was moving barrels out of the road to close the project for the day.

Mr. Rucker was flown by state police helicopter to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

Police identified the bus driver as Amos Ashe, 79, of Westminster. He was driving a bus owned by the ARC of Carroll County. Mr. Ashe was not injured.

No were children on the bus. No charges have been filed.

WALDORF

Remains found after brush fire

Charred human remains were found along a bike path Wednesday hours after fire crews had put out a brush fire.

A Charles County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman said a person walking on the path in the White Oak neighborhood noticed a foot in a burnt plastic container.

The medical examiner’s office said the victim was a tall, thin, white male with light brown or blond hair.

BALTIMORE

Rockfish spawning at healthy rate

State biologists who track rockfish during spawning season in April and May say their survey this year indicates a healthy spawning stock.

The state Department of Natural Resources tracks the spawning of rockfish, also called striped bass, in the Chesapeake Bay from April to mid-May, depending on the weather.

Wake-up calls for the survey come as early as 3:30 a.m., with some days spent waiting for fish that never come.

“People don’t know how much work goes into it,” DNR biologist Beth Versak told the Baltimore Examiner.

On a recent day, biologists spent about four hours on the water casting nets, reeling in rockfish and measuring them. They also scraped off a part of a scale to get data about the fish’s age and placed a small tag in its mouth to track it.

After the striped bass are measured and tagged, they are released back into the Bay.

Some days scientists catch only a few, but on others they can catch as many as 200.

BALTIMORE

Bay protection lawunenforced, study says

According to a new report, local governments aren’t enforcing a state environmental law aimed at protecting sensitive areas around the Chesapeake Bay.

The report from the University of Maryland Environmental Law Clinic says the counties don’t have enough inspectors to enforce the 1984 Critical Areas Law — which limits development within 1,000 feet of Bay tributaries. The report adds that county officials seldom fine lawbreakers and protect the interests of waterfront landowners instead of the environment.

But the chairman of the state commission that oversees enforcement of the law, Martin Madden, said penalties against violators often are challenged in court and dismissed.

BALTIMORE

Officers shoot suspectwho hit them with car

An Anne Arundel County police officer shot a man who hit two officers with his car yesterday in Baltimore, Anne Arundel police said.

The officers had a warrant for Scott Fisher, 37, and approached him when they spotted him coming out of a house in the 1600 block of Cereal Street just after 1 p.m.

Police said after Mr. Fisher hit the officers, one officer opened fire and hit him in the head. Mr. Fisher was listed in serious condition at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

One of the officers was taken to an area hospital for a checkup, county police said.

SOUTH MOUNTAIN

Driver charged in crash that closed I-70

State police charged a Hagerstown man with reckless and negligent driving in a three-vehicle accident Wednesday that closed the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 on South Mountain for more than two hours.

The crash happened about 9 a.m. when a car driven by Robert Gardinier, 29, hit a flatbed tow truck, then veered into the path of a tractor-trailer carrying a load of dog food. The semi jack-knifed across all three lanes.

Mr. Gardinier was treated at the scene. Police say additional charges are pending.

Crews had to unload the tractor-trailer before it could be righted and removed. The tractor-trailer driver needed treatment for minor injuries.

LAUREL

Whooping crane eggs at Patuxent to hatch

Two eggs produced from a migratory flock of endangered whooping cranes took a commercial flight yesterday to Maryland, where biologists hope they hatch successfully.

Wildlife specialists hope the cranes hatched from those eggs eventually join the flock in its migration from Wisconsin to Florida. They took the eggs from a nest at the Necedah, Wis., National Wildlife Refuge on April 24 after the parents did not return to care for them.

The eggs were taken to the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo. Biologists decided to move them to the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center because they thought they were about to hatch.

The eggs flew out of Madison yesterday along with four other eggs produced by captive cranes, refuge manager Larry Wargowsky said.

“We hope to be able to celebrate soon,” he said.

The two eggs from Necedah would be the first hatched from the migratory flock, which now includes 64 birds.

If the eggs hatch successfully, their training for migration can start more quickly there, Mr. Wargowsky said.

The whooping crane, the tallest bird in North America, was near extinction in 1941, with only about 20 left. The only other migrating flock of whooping cranes has about 200 birds that fly from Canada to spend winters on the Texas Gulf Coast.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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