- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 10, 2006


Suspicious package delays Metro trains

A suspicious package found yesterday disrupted Red Line trains for nearly three hours, Metro officials said.

Rail service ceased between the Judiciary Square and Rhode Island Avenue stations — preventing trains from reaching Union Station and New York Avenue stations — because a gray plastic box was found on the tracks.

Bomb technicians determined that the package was harmless, and regular service was resumed a little after noontime.

Shuttle buses transported passengers until service resumed.



Steele resting after car crash

Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele took the day off yesterday after a car accident Tuesday night, officials said yesterday.

Mr. Steele, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, canceled all his appointments and rested at home.

He was treated at and released from Baltimore Washington Medical Center in Glen Burnie Tuesday night after the sport utility vehicle in which he was riding collided with another vehicle in Hanover.

Mr. Steele, 47, was in a Chevrolet Suburban driven by Trooper 1st Class Joseph G. Messinese Jr., 32, and accompanied by Trooper 1st Class Tony C. Gaines, 46.

The SUV was traveling west on Dorsey Road heading toward Ridge Road about 6:20 p.m.

A Chevrolet Cavalier driven by Brittany M. LaPorte, 19, of Baltimore, approached Dorsey Road on Ridge Road.

The vehicles entered the intersection at the same time, and the Cavalier struck the SUV on the passenger side, state police said.

Troopers Messinese and Gaines, who are assigned to the Maryland State Police’s executive protection section, also were treated at and released from Baltimore Washington Medical Center Tuesday night.

Miss LaPorte was not injured, state police said.

A preliminary investigation cites “driver error” by Trooper Messinese, but state police said the probe is not complete.


Biplane crashes during landing

A pilot and passenger escaped injury yesterday morning when a small biplane made a hard landing on private property near a Carroll County elementary school.

The plane landed about 9:40 a.m. on a landing strip on private property near Runnymede Elementary School, just east of Taneytown, said Maryland State Police spokesman 1st Sgt. Russell Newell.

Paul Blackman, 71, of Finksburg, had taken off in his 1947 French biplane about 9 a.m. from the Westminster airport.

About 40 minutes later, while landing on a private airstrip about a mile from the school, his plane flipped.

Officials said the plane flipped when it hit the ground too hard and a piece of the landing gear collapsed.

Both occupants were suspended upside down but were able to release themselves from safety harnesses.

Mr. Blackman was not injured, but his passenger, Irvin Herling, 59, of Freeland, cut his head while releasing himself.

No students were at the school.

The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the incident.


Dad gets 15 years in sex-abuse case

A man who sexually abused his two daughters has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

William Edward Burns, 43, was convicted Tuesday of molesting his biological daughter and his stepdaughter inside their Elkton home in the 1990s, starting when one was 7 and the other 9.

The victims are now 21 and 23, and they addressed the court at sentencing.

“Because this abuse started when I was young, my childhood was ruined, and nothing will ever bring back those lost precious years,” his stepdaughter said to Circuit Court Judge R.E. Beck.

Judge Beck ordered Burns to serve five years of supervised probation upon release from prison.



Fawley convicted of killing student

A judge convicted an amateur photographer of second-degree murder yesterday in the death of a Virginia Commonwealth University freshman.

The judge in Mathews County Circuit Court ordered Benjamin Fawley, 39, to serve 30 years.

The judge also agreed to drop unrelated child-pornography charges.

Fawley entered an Alford plea, meaning that he did not admit guilt but acknowledged that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him in the slaying of Taylor Behl, 17, in September.

During yesterday’s hearing, Fawley hesitated, then cried as he acknowledged entering the plea after conferring with his defense attorneys.

Fawley stared at his hands as Mathews County Commonwealth’s Attorney John S. Gill gave a detailed timeline of the events leading up to Miss Behl’s disappearance until her body was found in a shallow ravine in Mathews County — about 70 miles east of Richmond — a month later.

Miss Behl was last seen shortly after arriving at the urban campus of Virginia Commonwealth University Sept. 5. She had just arrived at school after spending the Labor Day weekend with her family in Vienna, Va.

Fawley, a photographer who said he had a romantic relationship with the teen, quickly came under suspicion.

Investigators ultimately used Fawley’s own online postings to lead them to Miss Behl’s remains, which were found wrapped in plastic bags and duct tape on the side of a road.

Fawley says he accidentally cut off Miss Behl’s oxygen by placing a bag over her head during a rough but consensual sexual encounter.

An autopsy was unable to determine the cause of death.


River foam seems to be natural

State officials said lab tests on foam floating on portions of the James River show no evidence of man-made causes.

The results suggest that the cause of the foam is not from a prison laundry in Goochland County, but something such as a natural foam that has reached unnatural levels from pollution.

The state Department of Environmental Quality released the results Tuesday, and spokesman Bill Hayden said the agency will consult outside specialists on the next step.

The new test results mean that investigators will look at natural foam-causing chemicals.

For example, some plants and algae release foamy chemicals when they rot.

Patches of white or brownish foam have shown up on the James in the Richmond area on and off since spring.

The department has investigated the foam since early June.

Richmond officials said water drawn from the river is safe.


Driver feared for his safety

A Loudoun County prosecutor said the victim in an suspected road-rage incident Saturday near Washington Dulles International Airport approached another car in a hostile manner before being run over and killed.

But prosecutors are pursuing second-degree murder charges against Indeshaw Adenaw of Gaithersburg.

A judge denied bail for Mr. Adenaw yesterday while he awaits trial.

Mr. Adenaw’s attorney, John Zwerling, said his client faced a difficult choice when the victim, Charles Vo of Sterling, pulled in front of Mr. Adenaw’s car in the passing lane of the airport’s access highway.

Mr. Zwerling suggested that his client feared not only for his own safety, but also for the safety of two small children riding with him.

Prosecutors said the altercation apparently began when Mr. Vo thought Mr. Adenaw nearly sideswiped his car.

Police said Mr. Vo then chased Mr. Adenaw and cut him off.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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