- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 8, 2006

VIRGINIA

Museum event to close HOV lanes

The Marine Corps has done something that not even the White House could do — shut down Northern Virginia’s high-occupancy-vehicle lanes on a Friday.

The Virginia Department of Transportation has agreed to close the restricted lanes on Interstates 95 and 395 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. from the 14th Street Bridge to Route 234 in Dumfries.

The HOV lanes will be reserved for several hundred buses taking guests from the Stafford Regional Airport and the Pentagon to the dedication of the National Museum of the Marine Corps near Quantico Marine Corps Base.

Friday is a federal holiday in honor of Veterans Day, when traffic volume is typically lower.

VDOT spokesman Ryan Hall said this is the first time VDOT has agreed to close HOV lanes for an event.

President Bush’s advisers asked VDOT to shut down a portion of HOV lanes in Northern Virginia earlier this year on a Friday so he could travel to a political event. VDOT declined, and the president’s team made other plans.

MARTINSVILLE

Man sentenced for illegal contributions

The former head of a now-defunct military intelligence center was sentenced yesterday to a year’s probation and fined $2,500 for making illegal campaign contributions to U.S. Rep Virgil H. Goode Jr., Virginia Republican.

Richard Berglund pleaded guilty in July to funneling $8,000 in contributions to Mr. Goode. Berglund resigned earlier this year as director of a defense contractor once run by MZM Inc., which has been linked to more than $90,000 in contributions to Mr. Goode.

Mr. Goode, who requested federal funding for the defense contractor, Foreign Supplier Assessment Center, and helped MZM secure incentives packages for locating in Martinsville, has said he did not know the contributions were illegal.

Mr. Goode, who represents the 5th District, later gave the MZM-tainted contributions to charity.

Berglund and former company President Mitchell Wade have admitted they agreed to reimburse MZM employees for contributions they made to Mr. Goode in violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act.

Wade, who pleaded guilty to bribing former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham of California, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, in exchange for help in getting $150 million in Defense Department contracts, also pleaded guilty in the Virginia case.

ROANOKE

Ex-deputy indicted on sex-assault charges

A former Buchanan County sheriff’s deputy was indicted yesterday on charges that he lied to a magistrate to have a female detainee released from custody — then sexually assaulted her.

Teddy D. Justus, 24, of Grundy, was indicted on one count of violating a person’s civil rights while acting as a deputy sheriff, U.S. Attorney John L. Brownlee said.

The charges stem from a May 28 incident in which Mr. Justus, working for the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office, reputedly presented false information to a magistrate to improperly secure the release of a female detainee, then sexually assaulted her in a motel room while restraining her with handcuffs, prosecutors said.

Mr. Justus faces up to life in prison and a fine of as much as $250,000 if convicted.

RICHMOND

VDOT sets public meetings

The Virginia Department of Transportation will hold a dozen public information meetings across the state this month to explain its plan to consolidate 91 maintenance facilities by July 2008.

VDOT officials will discuss the local effect in each district and collect feedback from local elected officials and citizens.

The meetings are designed to give Virginians a chance to raise concerns before the plan is finalized in mid-December.

The agency announced plans last week to streamline its maintenance facilities from 335 locations to 244.

The meetings are set for Monday in Chantilly; Tuesday in Suffolk, Winchester, Harrisonburg and Culpeper; Nov. 15 in Farmville and Fredericksburg; Nov. 16 in Salem and Colonial Heights; Nov. 27 at Southwest Virginia Community College near Claypool Hill; and Nov. 28 in Big Stone Gap and Wytheville.

MARTINSVILLE

Jail inmate still on the loose

An inmate who escaped by impersonating another inmate is on the loose in Henry County, county deputies said.

William Coe Jr., 28, of Bassett, escaped Sunday and is thought to still be in the area. He was serving a 10-month sentence for violating probation.

Capt. Lane Perry of the sheriff’s department said another inmate was scheduled to be released, and Coe took his place.

Investigators said they cannot understand why the other inmate would choose to remain in jail.

The escape happened just days after the county sheriff and a dozen current and former employees were accused of taking part in a drug and money-laundering conspiracy.

Capt. Perry called it a “coincidence,” adding that the jail is fully staffed.

BRISTOL

Drowned baby’s parents charged with neglect

The parents of a baby who drowned last week in water that had collected on a swimming pool liner have been charged with felony child neglect.

Charges were filed Monday in the death of 14-month-old Coleby Brackson Ashley-Carrier, Bristol Commonwealth’s Attorney Jerry Wolfe said.

Cordell Carrier, 21, and Rachel Michelle Ashley, 17, could face sentences of two to 10 years in prison if convicted.

The parents were sleeping in the same bed with Coleby on the morning of Oct. 30, and he got up without waking them, police said.

Mr. Carrier told officers he found his son just before 11:30, lying on top of the swimming pool, police said.

Miss Ashley and emergency crews performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but the boy was pronounced dead at Bristol Regional Medical Center.

NORTH STAFFORD

Shop owners indicted on obscenity charges

A Stafford County grand jury has indicted the two owners of an adult novelty store on misdemeanor obscenity charges.

Meagan J. Pacheco, 26, and Lesley O. Mason, 27, owners of Pheromoans Inc. have each been charged with three counts.

Court records show that detectives purchased adult movies between Aug. 1 and Nov. 2. The indictment states that the defendants knowingly sold obscene items.

Rachael Goldstein, an attorney who represents the business, said her firm is aware of the criminal charges but could not immediately comment.

While the store bills itself as a lingerie boutique, it also sells battery-operated sex toys and adult DVDs. It has been the focus of complaints from some residents.

RICHMOND

3 salmonella cases linked to tomatoes

State health officials said three Virginia cases might have been part of a national salmonella outbreak linked to restaurant tomatoes.

Two were in Southwest Virginia and one in Northern Virginia. One of the three persons was hospitalized.

The Virginia Department of Health is getting more information from the three persons who were infected with that strain of salmonella.

Epidemiologist Seth Levine said the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked Virginia to have local health officials ask those three persons where they got the tainted food.

Federal health officials reported Friday that an investigation by the CDC and states linked eating tomatoes in restaurants to the salmonella outbreak that sickened 183 persons in 21 states. They did not name any particular restaurants.

Cases peaked in September, and the contaminated tomatoes are thought to be out of the food chain.

MARYLAND

GAITHERSBURG

City abandons plans for day-laborer site

City officials have abandoned plans to find a location for a day-laborer center and agreed to ask Montgomery County officials to put the facility elsewhere.

Over the past year, Gaithersburg officials have proposed 30 possible sites for the center, but residents have objected to some locations and property owners have refused to lease space at other sites.

Another promising location fell through last month, prompting the City Council to reconsider its plan for the employment center.

The county had agreed to fund the center to serve immigrant laborers who had been gathering at a parking lot next to a church.

Residents and business owners had complained the laborers were a nuisance and a threat to public safety.

ANNAPOLIS

Police issue warning about bogus bucks

Annapolis police are warning people to watch out for counterfeit bills.

Some of the bills were $1, $5 and $10 bills, although several $100 bills are also going around, investigators said.

The appearance of the bills is quite good, but the paper’s texture is wrong, police said. In addition, some of the bills are not cut evenly, and they have the same serial number.

Police are asking individuals and businesses to inspect money carefully.

FREDERICK

Task force created in wake of assaults

A task force is being formed to address sexual assaults, harassment and bullying in the county schools, the principal at Tuscarora High School said.

It is just one step being taken in the aftermath of the sexual assaults of at least three girls at the school, and the attempted assault of another. Student Michael T. Smith, 17, was indicted last week on 18 criminal charges.

Principal Jay Berno said the task force will include representatives from the sheriff’s office and the state’s attorney’s office.

OCEAN CITY

High-speed chase ends in capture

A high-speed car chase that began in Dewey Beach, Del., ended in Ocean City with an arrest, police said.

The chase started Sunday evening when officers spotted Steven Pierce, 33, of Wilmington, Del., swerving on Delaware Route 1. A check of his license plate revealed the car had been reported stolen, Dewey Beach police said.

When officers tried to stop the car, Mr. Pierce sped away at 100 mph. Police tried to end the chase with stop sticks, but Mr. Pierce drove for 80 blocks through Ocean City with flat tires before hitting a concrete wall near South First Street, police said.

Mr. Pierce was treated for minor injuries, then charged with vehicle theft, drunken driving and traffic charges. Police said he is also wanted on warrants for two felonies in Delaware.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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