- The Washington Times - Monday, June 25, 2007



Man, 85, dies in apartment fire

An 85-year-old man died Saturday night after a fire in his apartment in a West Baltimore senior citizens apartment building, fire officials said.

Firefighters responded to a call at 11 p.m. at the multistory building in the 2100 block of Violet Avenue, Chief Kevin Cartwright said. A fire had broken out in the bedroom of the man”s fourth-floor apartment, and the sprinkler system activated and extinguished the blaze.

The man suffered first- and second-degree burns and smoke inhalation, Chief Cartwright said, and was treated by paramedics, who then transported him to Bayview Medical Center.

The man went into cardiac arrest at the hospital and died early yesterday, Chief Cartwright said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.


County police suspend ’stepping-out’ policy

A week after a Howard County police officer was fatally injured during traffic duty, Anne Arundel County has temporarily suspended the practice of officers stepping out of their vehicles to pull over speeders.

Cpl. Scott Wheeler suffered serious head injuries June 16 when he was struck while working on a speed-enforcement detail on Route 32 near Savage, Md.

Investigators said the driver, a 24-year-old Columbia woman, did not see Officer Wheeler and was cooperating with the investigation.

“It”s a serious public-safety issue. I”ve given some thought to it for some time,” Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold told WJZ-TV (Channel 13). “The recent unfortunate tragedy in Howard County took it to the front burner.”

An evaluation of speed-enforcement policies will be conducted during the 30-day suspension.

“I happen to think on controlled-access highways where the speed limits are 70 and above, one second can mean a fatality, one second of distraction,” Mr. Leopold said. “Clearly, in my judgment, it”s not safe at those high speeds.”

Despite the suspension of the “step-out” policy, Anne Arundel officials said that speeding complaints will continue to be a priority for officers and that speed enforcement efforts would continue on county roadways using other methods.


Shoplifting arrest leads to drug charges

A Pennsylvania teenager was charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana after he was arrested late Saturday on a charge of shoplifting from a store on the Boardwalk, police said.

Randall Snyder, 19, of Nottingham, Pa., was arrested at 10:41 p.m. after police said he shoplifted an $8 pair of sunglasses.

After the shoplifting arrest, Mr. Snyder was searched and found to be carrying individually wrapped bags of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. He is being held at the Ocean City Police Department detention area.


2-year-old boy falls from kitchen window

A 2-year-old boy is expected to survive after falling 12 feet from a window in his home.

The boy tumbled out of a kitchen window and onto the concrete below yesterday at about 7:30 p.m. Saturday. He sustained serious injuries but was in stable condition at Children”s Hospital and expected to recover.

Police say the fall appears to have been accidental.



More charges filed against police chief

Six additional charges have been filed against a small-town police chief accused of distributing methamphetamine, state police said yesterday.

Damascus Police Chief Anthony Stephen Richardson, 40, now faces seven felony counts. Along with the original meth-distribution charge, Chief Richardson has been charged with three counts of distribution of a controlled substance, two counts of distribution of a schedule three drug and one count of possession of a firearm with a schedule one or two drug.

Virginia State Police Sgt. M.T. Conroy said Chief Richardson was arrested without incident at the Damascus Police Department on Saturday. He is free on $20,000 bail and was to be arraigned at 9 a.m. July 25 in Washington County General District Court.

“A tarnished badge is never a good thing,” Sgt. Conroy said. “I hope this doesn”t overshadow the good work police are doing throughout Virginia.”

Chief Richardson spoke about the town”s drug problem in an interview with the Bristol Herald Courier the day before his arrest.

“Methamphetamine has escalated to where we”re almost at epidemic proportions, and we”ve really got to crack down, tighten down on it, or they”re going to overtake us,” he said. “It happens a little more than you”d think.”

Chief Richardson”s arrest was the result of an undercover investigation in which a confidential informant bought meth from the chief on June 12, according to court documents. The seized drugs were sent to the state forensic lab, which confirmed it was meth, according to the Washington County Sheriff”s Office, which joined state and Abingdon police in the investigation.

Chief Richardson has been police chief in Damascus, a town of about 1,000 near the North Carolina line, for about a year. He previously was police chief at Glade Spring.


Candle on deck started house fire, officials say

Fire investigators think a citronella candle left unattended on a rear deck was responsible for a massive fire at a Fairfax County home Saturday afternoon.

The two-alarm fire started about 3:30 p.m. in the North Hill subdivision and did about $825,000 in damage. No one was injured.

A family of nine — two adults and seven children — was displaced.


Man wounded in Adams Morgan

A man was wounded early yesterday morning on a crowded Adams Morgan street.

The man was found on the sidewalk with a gunshot wound to the back after a police officer on patrol heard the shots at 18th Street and Belmont Road at about 3 a.m.

The man was listed in stable condition.

Police said the popular strip was crowded as bars and restaurants were closing. Witnesses reported a possible argument on the street before the shooting.

Police had no suspects.

From wire dispatches and staff reports