- The Washington Times - Monday, June 5, 2006


Pilot won’t be charged after airspace violation

Two F-16 jets were scrambled from Andrews Air Force Base last night after a small airplane flew into restricted airspace.

The single-engine Cessna 182 was intercepted 22 miles northeast of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and escorted to the airport in Gaithersburg, where it landed just after 7 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The pilot was interviewed there by the Secret Service, which determined that the pilot accidentally flew into the restricted airspace. No charges will be filed.

The pilot was not identified, and there is no word as to how many people were on the plane.

A spokesman from the North American Aerospace Defense Command says the plane was headed from Philadelphia to Charlottesville.

He said the plane stayed outside a tightly restricted zone closer to the center of Washington but it was within another ring of restricted space farther out.



State works to fixrail-ticket machines

State Transportation Secretary Robert L. Flanagan said authorities are working hard to fix and replace broken ticket machines at light-rail stations.

A spot survey by a Baltimore Sun reporter found malfunctioning machines at more than half of the stations visited. Riders at the Woodberry station have sometimes found both machines broken, leaving them little choice but to ride without a ticket and risk a possible fine.

Mr. Flanagan said those riders should buy a ticket for the ride they just took when they arrive at their destination.

Mr. Flanagan said the problems are the result of a maintenance contract signed during the administration of Gov. Parris N. Glendening, which Mr. Flanagan said lacked some provisions that typically assure a high level of performance by a contractor.


Beltway closed during morning rush

Unfinished work created huge backups yesterday morning near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge on the Maryland side of the Potomac River.

Construction work to put an overhead beam in place that was supposed to be done by 5 a.m. did not finish until after 6:30 a.m. — leaving the Capital Beltway closed during the start of the morning rush.

John Undeland, a spokesman for the Wilson Bridge Project, said the contractor faces a $50 per minute fine for going over the 5 a.m. deadline.

Mr. Undeland said that as a result of yesterday’s failure, there will be no such overhead work from Sunday night into Monday morning until the contractor can show he can do the job in the time allotted, WTOP Radio reported.

Canceling Sunday night work will cause the weekend detours to stretch two more weekends into July.


Father gets probation for infant’s death

A man was sentenced to 18 months of unsupervised probation in the death of his 5-month-old son.

Ralph C. Brown Jr. was sentenced after pleading guilty in Frederick County Circuit Court to a misdemeanor count of leaving a child unattended in a car.

Isaiah died Sept. 8 after his father left him for about five hours in a car in 80-plus degree heat outside the family’s home.

State’s Attorney Scott L. Rolle said Mr. Brown was distracted by changes in his routine that day and forgot the boy was in the car.


Few mosquitoes on Eastern Shore

It’s been a mild year for mosquitoes so far on the Eastern Shore.

Specialists said the dry climate going back into last year has made a difference in the mosquito population, but that could change quickly.

Cy Lesser, the mosquito control specialist for the Maryland Agriculture Department, said it will take only a big rainfall or tropical storm to kick up swarms.

Mr. Lesser said that until then, mosquitoes are in their typical locations — more abundant near large wetlands and marshy areas of south Dorchester County and western Somerset County.

But the weather doesn’t affect the Asian tiger mosquito that bites in urban back yards.

They only need a small amount of water.


Boy killed in crash was misidentified

State police said yesterday that a child killed in a crash last week was misidentified.

Police confirmed that the child who died was 7-year-old Christian Marshall and not his 4-year-old brother Justin.

The mix-up happened because the boys’ parents also were seriously injured in the crash. Police said their father, James Marshall, 28, of the District, was told that the child who died had been sitting in the right rear of the car. He told police that Justin had been sitting there, and police relied on his word to make the initial identification.

But Mr. Marshall and his wife, Sheyna, yesterday noticed physical features on their severely injured surviving son that indicated he was actually Justin. Relatives made a positive identification of Christian’s body yesterday afternoon.

In a similar case last week in Michigan, the parents of a college student learned that a young woman who survived a crash was not their daughter. Their daughter, Laura VanRyn, had died and been buried under the name of her classmate, Whitney Cerak. The couple had sat by the injured girl’s bedside for weeks.



Owner of vicious dogs denied freedom

A woman whose three pit bulls fatally mauled an 82-year-old woman will remain in prison while she appeals her involuntary manslaughter conviction, a judge ruled yesterday.

Spotsylvania County Circuit Judge Ann Hunter Simpson refused a defense request to release Deanna H. Large, 37, so she could care for her three children and her parents.

In March, Judge Simp-son sentenced Large to three years in prison, as jurors who found her guilty recommended. She is appealing her conviction to the Virginia Court of Appeals.

Eugene Frost, representing Large, argued yesterday that she posed no risk to the community and that she promised not to keep any dogs if released on appeal.

But prosecutor William F. Neely countered that Large had kept an unlicensed dog even after the March 2005 death of Dorothy Sullivan in rural Partlow.

Mrs. Sullivan was attacked by the roaming dogs while walking her Shih Tzu, Buttons, in her front yard. Buttons also was killed.

The case marked the first time in Virginia that a person has been convicted of manslaughter for the actions of their dogs.

Mrs. Simpson’s death sparked outrage among her neighbors, who said they had long been terrorized by aggressive, roaming dogs.

Her family collected thousands of signatures on a petition urging stricter dog laws, and the General Assembly passed legislation imposing tough penalties on dog owners whose pets seriously injure others.


Autopsy says student was shot in head

The state medical examiner’s office said a Chesterfield County high school student found dead in his car died of at least two gunshot wounds to the head.

A classmate of Allen “Chip” Ellis, 18, was charged with capital murder.

Louis Shawn Lindenfeld, 18, was arraigned Thursday on that charge and three other felony counts. Both young men were students at Midlothian High School.

Mr. Ellis was last seen May 22 after driving from his family’s home in Midlothian to drop off some DVDs at the library. Investigators think that he met Mr. Lindenfeld there and offered him a ride.

Mr. Ellis’ body was found three days later in the trunk of his car in woods off a dead-end road in Henrico County.

Mr. Lindenfeld is being held without bond and is scheduled to appear Friday in Henrico Circuit Court.


Remains in California likely missing hiker

The suspected remains of a Petersburg man who disappeared in May 2005 while hiking in the California wilderness have been found by police and volunteers.

The remains were found near John Donovan’s backpack, which was discovered one month ago by two hikers who credited the contents in the pack for saving their lives.

K-9 units, a helicopter and 15 volunteers spent much of Sunday searching the Tahquitz Canyon west of Palm Springs, Calif., for any signs of Mr. Donovan, who was last seen near the San Bernardino National Forest.

The remains were found near a campsite thought to have been set up by Mr. Donovan. The site is a three-mile hike from the base of the mountain.

The discovery of the backpack May 2 prompted Sunday’s search.

“When the backpack was found,” Deputy Juan Zamora of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office said, “the search was narrowed to that specific area.”

Two hikers from Texas became separated from their group for three days when they found Mr. Donovan’s backpack. They used matches found inside to light a fire that alerted rescuers to their location. They also used clothes found in the bag to stay warm.

Mr. Donovan, 60, was a retired social worker from Central State Hospital. After his retirement, he headed for California, where he planned to hike the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail.

Chris Hook, a friend of Mr. Donovan’s and a fellow hiker, expressed sadness and relief after hearing the news that a body had been found.

“I’m just really glad we can finally put some closure to his life and finally say goodbye and know what happened,” he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “It’s an emotional moment. I’m happy that it’s over, and I’m sad that it’s what we thought — what we knew all along.”


Officials want police to live in city

Officials are looking into ways to encourage more police officers to live in the city.

More than two-thirds of Richmond’s police force lives in the surrounding counties of Chesterfield, Henrico and Hanover.

Officials said they can’t require officers to live in the city because that would make it tough to compete for qualified applicants, so they are considering incentives, such as increasing the number of cruisers available for officers to drive home.

City Council member Chris Hilbert also wants to expand a housing program that provides $5,000 toward closing costs of a police officer’s home.

He wants to use some of the fund’s $125,000 to provide rental assistance to officers who choose to live in the city but can’t afford to buy a home.


Student suspended for eating cookie

An eighth-grader was suspended from school for a day and kicked off the baseball team for eating a cookie.

Jeremy Maitland was in the Hungary Creek Middle School kitchen one day last month filling a water cooler for a baseball game.

Caryl Maitland said her son told school officials that he ate a cookie after someone knocked over a cookie jar and he tried to pick them up.

She said the family received a letter from the assistant prin-cipal telling them the cookies were a staff member’s personal food. Jeremy was disciplined under the school’s theft code.

Mrs. Maitland said she understands that her son had to be disciplined — but she said eating a cookie and taking someone’s laptop computer should not warrant the same punishment. They appealed the suspension.

Superintendent Fred Morton would not discuss specifics but said he reviewed the case and found the decision reasonable.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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