- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 2, 2002

Washington-area police yesterday said residents ushered in the new year in a fairly peaceful manner, even though they arrested and charged at least 63 persons with drunken driving.

"Since I'd heard everybody was going to be subdued this year, I was surprised [that New Years arrests were] about average just a few people getting too drunk and too rowdy," said Evan Jayson, a spokesman for Fairfax County police.

Last night, area police were investigating whether alcohol was a factor in two traffic accidents that killed two persons and injured three others.

Montgomery County police are still trying to determine why the driver of a 1989 Honda crossed the median on Rockville Pike and struck a 2000 Isuzu south of Shady Grove Road at about 6:26 a.m. yesterday.

The driver of the Honda, who was not identified, died at the scene. Police said the driver of the Isuzu and two of its passengers suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to Suburban Hospital in Bethesda. Police had not released victims' names last night because some family members have not been notified.

In the District yesterday morning, a driver struck and killed a man who was walking across New York Avenue NE, just east of the Anacostia River bridge, the U.S. Park Police said.

Park Police arrested and charged six persons with drunken driving along the Rock Creek and George Washington parkways.

Alexandria had a quiet New Year's Eve, with only four arrests for drunken driving and no major traffic accidents.

"I think the cold weather kept most partygoers at bay," said Alexandria police spokeswoman Amy Bertsch.

Meanwhile, fires yesterday displaced residents from 12 apartments in Columbia, Md., and from a single-family home in Arlington. No injuries were reported.

Fire and rescue crews in Montgomery and Howard counties were called to the Columbia fire, which damaged 12 units at Reflections Apartments at 11970 Little Patuxent Parkway.

Howard County Fire and Rescue Capt. Gary Jones said the cause of the fire is unknown and that the Red Cross is working to find temporary homes for residents, some of whom may be out of town for the holiday.

In Arlington, a first-floor fire caused about $80,000 damage to a house in the 4500 block of 41st Street.

In addition, Montgomery County fire crews responded to two residential fires and a report of smoke at a used-tire business near Gaithersburg.

In other incidents:

•A Montgomery County police officer suffered minor injuries while arresting and charging a driver for intoxication early yesterday morning in Rockville. The officer was injured when the driver's car rolled out of gear.

•A man in police custody died of unknown causes after Hyattsville officers arrested him in the 4100 block of Crittenden Street.

The man was believed to be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. He collapsed as police officers prepared to place him in a cruiser. Medical crews revived the man before transporting him to Prince George's Hospital Center, where he went into cardiac arrest and died.

•Virginia State Police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said charges are pending against a driver who struck a Winchester, Va., man and fled the accident scene outside that town Monday. The pedestrian died later at a nearby hospital.

•In Baltimore, three men were shot, 99 persons were arrested and 113 weapons were seized during a crackdown on firing guns around midnight. Police shot the three men after they pointed their weapons at officers, police said.

•This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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