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Metro briefs

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 20, 2007

VIRGINIA

LOUISA

Missing tot found on logging trail

The disappearance of a toddler in Louisa County has a happy ending.

Searchers found 2-year-old Matthew Hollis yesterday after he wandered away from his home late Monday, wearing only a diaper.

Search teams from across Virginia joined the ground and air search for Matthew, whose family lives about four miles from Louisa.

Theresa Crossland with Tidewater Search and Rescue and another searcher found him just before noon. Miss Crossland said she heard a voice at the end of a logging trail calling "Matt-Matt." It was the little boy, saying his name.

Miss Crossland said that his diaper was gone and that he was a little scratched up from being in the woods overnight but otherwise appeared to be happy and in good health.

CHESTER

Woman survives after train hits car

A Chester woman who survived when her car was struck by a train going 70 mph told police that her vehicle got stuck on the railroad crossing.

Chesterfield County police said Linda Gilyard, 54, was seriously injured when the train split her 2001 Chevrolet Impala in half on Saturday.

Sgt. Kenneth James said Miss Gilyard told police that her tires got stuck in the rails as she drove over the crossing, and then the crossing gates came down.

The engineer of the Amtrak passenger train told police that the train was traveling at about 70 mph when he spotted the car on the tracks and stopped the train, but could not avoid hitting the car.

The crash is still under investigation.

MARYLAND

MILLERSVILLE

Parents say police used excessive force

Anne Arundel County police are investigating complaints that officers used unnecessary force when they broke up a fight at Meade High School last week.

A group of parents filed formal complaints Monday saying that officers" actions were unnecessary to restore order.

Department spokesman Sgt. Dave Feerrar said 11 Meade High students were arrested on the last day of school. Police said the disturbance in the gymnasium began over a stolen cell phone.

Principal Daryl Kennedy said no punches were thrown during what he called a verbal altercation between students.

Witnesses said several students were struck, slammed to the ground and handcuffed. One student said officers beat students with nightsticks before tackling them.

Police said that their officers responded appropriately and that although they are investigating the complaints, no officers have been placed on leave. Police said officers were attacked by students and received minor injuries while trying to break up the fight.

BALTIMORE

Judge denies mistrial in carjack killing

A federal judge presiding in a fatal Annapolis carjacking has denied the defense"s motion for a mistrial.

Attorney Kenneth Ravenell wanted a mistrial for Leeander J. Blake, 22, because jurors heard detailed testimony about Mr. Blake"s polygraph test. Mr. Blake is charged with murder and carjacking in the death of Straughan Lee Griffin, 51, who was shot and run over with his own car in 2002 in the city"s historic district.

But U.S. District Judge William Nickerson told the jury that polygraph results are inadmissible. He said jurors should only concern themselves with how police managed to get Mr. Blake to confess to the crimes.

Mr. Blake"s attorney said the jury can figure out what the polygraph results were, but the judge disagreed and denied the request for a mistrial.

TOWSON

Man charged in baby's death

Police have charged a Columbia man with murder in the death of his girlfriend"s infant daughter, after forensic tests showed that she received the fatal injuries when he was alone with the girl.

Tyrone Mosley, 28, was charged Monday with first-degree murder and child abuse in the death of 7-month-old Isabella Nacola Bland, Baltimore County police said.

A few days before her death in April 2006, authorities responded to a Catonsville home and found the infant suffering from head bruises, dilated pupils and retinal hemorrhaging, police said.

Isabella died April 29, 2006. The state medical examiner ruled it a homicide the next day. Forensic tests determined that the child suffered fatal injuries in the 30 minutes she was alone with Mr. Mosley.

Mr. Mosley was arrested Sunday after the forensic test results came back, and interviews with the child"s mother and uncle were conducted.

HAGERSTOWN

Rape suspect was on parole

The Hagerstown man charged last week in the abduction and rape last month of an 11-year-old girl had been paroled three years ago after more than 17 years in prison.

Authorities said James Hackey, 39, was sentenced in 1987 to 41 years in prison for 10 counts of burglary and violating probation.

Hackey faces 17 criminal charges in the abduction including kidnapping and two counts of rape. He was detained last week as a suspected peeping Tom at the Oak Ridge Apartments, the same complex where the girl was abducted from her ground-floor room. Investigators said the girl was raped at a nearby basketball court.

OCEAN CITY

Man hit by car on life support

An Easton man is on life support after being struck by a car while crossing Coastal Highway in Ocean City.

Tyler Adams, 21, was struck early Sunday morning near 33rd Street. He was flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

A man with Mr. Adams was treated at the scene for minor injuries. Police said neither man was using a crosswalk and were said to be at fault in the accident. The driver of the car was not charged.

MCHENRY

Woman accused of aiding fugitives

An Edgewood woman is being charged with helping two Baltimore-area teenagers escape from the Backbone Mountain Youth Center in Garrett County.

State police said Sharon Smith, 18, drove the getaway car after the 17-year-old and 14-year-old boys fled from the youth camp late Saturday afternoon. Miss Smith also is accused of trying to run over a counselor on a motorcycle who tried to chase the fleeing car.

Police said Miss Smith led them on a high-speed chase along Route 36. The teens jumped out of the car and were captured. Troopers finally stopped the car and arrested Miss Smith in Allegany County near the Mountainview Landfill.

She is charged with first-degree assault, escape and numerous other charges.

ELLICOTT CITY

Police reconsider 'stepping-out' ticketing

Howard County police are rethinking one method of ticketing speeders after the death of an officer who was struck by a motorist.

Officer 1st Class Scott Wheeler, 31, died Monday, two days after he had stepped into the road along Route 32 to flag down speeding motorists.

Investigators think the Columbia woman who hit him did not see Officer Wheeler in the roadway. No charges have been filed, but the investigation is continuing.

Maryland State Police use a similar "stepping-out" technique for traffic enforcement, but some departments have stopped using it instead relying on officers in patrol cars.

BALTIMORE

Cardinal resting well after brain surgery

Cardinal William Keeler was in good condition at Johns Hopkins Hospital yesterday, a day after having surgery to remove fluid from his brain, diocesan officials said.

The archdiocese said the 78-year-old cardinal was walking in his room yesterday morning after a restful night. His mobility will be monitored and evaluated before he will be placed on a physical therapy program.

Cardinal Keeler spoke by phone Monday night with Auxiliary Bishop Francis Malooly and was said to be in good spirits.

OCEAN CITY

Man lost in Atlantic was college student

Authorities released the name of the 19-year-old Lanham man who was swept away Sunday afternoon while in the surf.

Lij-Paul Headley, his brother and his cousin became caught in a rip current near 31st Street. Beach Patrol Capt. Butch Arbin said the men did not know how to swim.

A lifeguard rescued the brother and cousin but lost sight of Mr. Headley, who presumably drowned. His body has not been recovered.

Mr. Headley was a student at Morgan State University.

ROCKVILLE

Father, 2 children safe after manhunt

A Germantown man and his two children were found unharmed after a manhunt that began amid fears that he might harm himself and his 8-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter.

Montgomery County police negotiators made telephone contact with Navid Eghterafi, 43, late Monday night as he drove along Interstate 66 in Virginia. They stopped his vehicle early yesterday morning on Interstate 270 in Gaithersburg and took the children into custody.

Mr. Eghterafi picked up the children from their mother"s Olney home on Saturday. Early Monday, police began searching for him after family members told them that he had said he would kill the children and himself.

Investigators learned Monday that Mr. Eghterafi was depressed on Friday over his failure to gain more visitation privileges with his children. He has not been charged with any crime.

Police said they were not sure whether he was aware of police efforts to locate the children, despite heavy press coverage.

Brain-harvesting suit can go to jury

A judge has ruled that a Portland, Maine, man can have a jury decide whether his late wife"s brain was taken for medical research without proper consent.

James Allen"s wife died in a swimming pool accident in 2001. He filed a lawsuit after learning that her brain had been sent from Maine"s state morgue to the Stanley Medical Research Institute in Bethesda.

In the suit, Mr. Allen said he agreed to donate some brain tissue, but not the entire brain.

The defendants, including the research institute, have maintained that they did nothing wrong.

Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills ruled June 8 in the defendants" favor on two of eight counts. But she also said a jury should decide other questions in the case.

Those questions include whether Stanley Medical changed its financial agreement with Matthew Cyr to encourage him to collect more brains and whether Mr. Cyr used the term "brain tissue" rather than "brain" when asking for donations. Mr. Cyr is a former state funeral director who was paid to collect brains for research.

The judge also said that a jury should decide whether the research lab "failed to oversee or supervise Mr. Cyr's consent taking procedures" and whether it hired him despite knowing that he failed to follow organ donation procedures at a prior job.

From wire dispatches and staff reports