- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 1, 2008


Firefighters report seeing tornado

Prince George’s County firefighters reported seeing a possible tornado touch down in the Clinton-Brandywine area yesterday afternoon as thunderstorms swept across the region.

They reported witnessing what looked like a twister at about 2:15 p.m., fire department spokesman Mark Brady said.

Mr. Brady said there was a spike in the number of calls about downed trees and power lines in the area. However, no injuries or damage to buildings were immediately reported.

Brian LaSorsa of the National Weather Service said he could not confirm a tornado had touched down, but radar indicated gusts of up to 60 mph hit Southern Maryland.

The Weather Service issued a tornado watch until 9 last night for parts of Southern Maryland and Virginia. The watch area was in a 100-mile wide band running from Staunton, Va., to Wallops, on the lower Eastern Shore of Virginia.

A separate tornado watch expired at 5 p.m. for parts of Maryland, Delaware and the District. It covered a 110-mile wide band from the Athens, Ohio, area to near Lakehurst, N.J.



Woman in custody after hostage-taking

A 39-year-old woman went to a former employer’s house and held him and his wife at gunpoint for half an hour, authorities said.

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said the Ashburn woman showed up at the home yesterday morning brandishing a gun.

The couple’s daughter was at home and managed to escape to a neighbor’s house and call police.

Authorities surrounded the residence and made contact with the woman. They eventually took her into custody and recovered the weapon.

No one was injured.

The suspect was being held at a hospital, pending a mental evaluation.



Ex-cop sentenced for misconduct

A former Salisbury police officer convicted of misconduct for having sex with a woman he had arrested was sentenced to a year in jail.

Tracy Ross Sparpaglione, 27, of Laurel, was acquitted of rape but found guilty in April on charges of misconduct.

According to testimony at his bench trial, Sparpaglione had been an officer for about six months when he went to the 19-year-old woman’s home last May, about four hours after arresting her on allegations that she hit her mother-in-law with a filled water bottle.

Prosecutors argued that Sparpaglione intimidated the woman into having sex with him. But a defense attorney contended the sex was consensual and questioned the woman’s credibility.


Summer burning ban starts today

The county’s annual ban on open burning begins today and will remain in effect until Aug. 31, Frederick County health officials said.

The ban, which does not apply to camp fires or gas grills, is designed to reduce high ozone levels that affect the region during the summer.

Open burning without a permit is subject to a fine of as much as $500 and state penalties up to $25,000.



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