- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 12, 2006


Weekend work to delay Metro trains

Track maintenance and testing on the Red, Blue and Green lines will delay Metro service this weekend.

Starting at 10 tonight, passengers should add 35 minutes to their schedules when traveling on the Blue Line between the Franconia-Springfield and King Street stations. The maintenance on the Blue Line will end late Sunday night.

At 10 p.m. tomorrow, passengers on the Red Line should add 15 minutes of travel time because of work on the track between the Rhode Island Avenue-Brentwood and Takoma stations. The work will end at 10 p.m. Sunday.

Green Line trains between Greenbelt and College Park will share one track while Metro tests the rail cars, adding about 10 minutes to a trip. The testing will take place between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday.



False hazmat scare closes city street

A pregnant woman’s morning sickness and a language barrier led officials to shut down a city block for 21/2 hours Wednesday afternoon, officials said.

The incident began when a police officer went to an apartment where a woman and a 13-year-old girl were violently ill with flulike symptoms. Because the residents were from Burundi and did not speak English, the officer summoned help.

Firefighters, fearing an environmental contaminant, donned hazardous-material gear and evacuated 17 residents from the building, which also houses business offices.

Two persons were sent to Washington County Hospital as a precaution, the health care facility, officials said. The other 15 residents did not display any symptoms and were allowed to return to their apartments, Mayor Robert E. Bruchey said.

Once a translator arrived, authorities realized that they were not dealing with a potential environmental crisis, but with a woman undergoing a difficult pregnancy.

“We erred on the side of caution,” Mr. Bruchey said Wednesday night. “In this day and age, we’d rather be careful.”

“It was great practice for our response people,” Mr. Bruchey said. “They did a wonderful job, acted accordingly, followed protocol and it came out positive.”


Gun in child’s desk goes off accidentally

A handgun went off in a third-grader’s desk yesterday, but no one was hurt, Baltimore school officials said.

An 8-year-old brought a .22-caliber handgun to Grove Park Elementary School in Northwest Baltimore, schools spokeswoman Vanessa Pyatt said.

The school system’s police Chief Antonio Williams told WBAL-AM that the gun was inside the child’s desk when it went off. He said investigators think the gun discharged accidentally.

Chief Williams said the school was not evacuated.

The child’s parents were notified, and notes explaining the incident were sent home to parents with students.


Coach charged in child-porn case

A man who has been a youth sports coach for more than 20 years has been arrested on child-pornography charges.

David Jeffrey Lee, 54, was charged Wednesday with several child-pornography counts. Police said Mr. Lee was posing as a 14-year-old boy on social networking Web site MySpace.com.

Mr. Lee coached football, baseball and other sports for the Salisbury branch of the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army said that when it learned about the charges against Mr. Lee, he was let go as a coach, the Salisbury Daily Times reported.

Police said they found at least 83 pictures and 12 videos of child pornography on Mr. Lee’s personal computer.

Mr. Lee is being held at the Wicomico County Detention Center on a $350,000 bail.


12-year-old charged with false threat

A 12-year-old was charged yesterday with a misdemeanor offense of reporting a phony threat that prompted Montgomery County to tighten security at 13 schools Wednesday, county police said.

The child, whose name was not released, was charged as a juvenile with disturbing the activities and operations of a school. The child is a student at Kingsview Middle School in Germantown.

The county school system locked the doors and monitored visitors to the schools, 11 in the Germantown area and two in Gaithersburg, after the student said that a man with a weapon made threats as the student waited for the school bus Wednesday morning.

Questioned later in the day by detectives, the student recanted the story. Police do not know why the student made the false report.


Man pleads guilty to killing girlfriend

A Gaithersburg man pleaded guilty yesterday to second-degree murder in the killing of his girlfriend, prosecutors said.

Jorge Contreras, 30, crashed his car into the Derwood Fire Station on April 16 at 5:35 a.m. and then drove into a concrete embankment. His car caught fire, and a passer-by pulled him from the vehicle. Contreras was wearing only his underwear and was covered in blood.

While being transported to a hospital, he told rescue workers that he had killed his girlfriend, Angela Santiago, 27, prosecutors said.

Police found Miss Santiago’s body at her home on Harbor Tree Court in Gaithersburg, where she lived with Contreras. An autopsy determined that she had been stabbed more than 100 times.

Contreras faces 30 years in prison when sentenced Nov. 15.


Six-vehicle accident injures three

A six-vehicle accident yesterday left three persons injured, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office said.

The accident happened at about 11:40 p.m. in the 2800 block of Crain Highway when a southbound Cadillac driven by a 69-year-old Waldorf woman drifted into a dump truck and struck its front passenger tire.

The driver of the dump truck, a 79-year-old man from Indian Head, lost control and struck a Charles County Sheriff’s Office cruiser that was traveling northbound. The dump truck hit a pickup truck and overturned.

Another vehicle hit debris left by the cruiser and a sixth car that tried to avoid the crash ran into a curb.

No one was seriously injured.


Inmate admits threatening governor

A prison inmate pleaded guilty yesterday to mailing a threatening letter to the governor of Kentucky in 2003.

Prosecutors said Aaron Rivers mailed a handwritten note to Gov. Paul E. Patton that said “Anthrax Die American Official.”

Rivers pleaded guilty to one count of mailing a threatening communication. He faces sentencing in U.S. District Court in Lexington in January.

Rivers mailed the letter while an inmate at Wallens Ridge State Prison in Big Stone Gap, Va., prosecutors said.

Mr. Patton, who left office in December 2003, was unharmed.

Rivers was indicted in 2004. He has undergone at least two psychiatric evaluations related to the charges.


Man pleads guilty to shooting boy

A former nightclub owner has been sentenced to 30 years in prison after admitting to accidentally shooting a 7-year-old boy from an adjacent apartment.

David Titus Cornish, 44, also pleaded guilty to cocaine charges Wednesday. Cornish told police that he did not mean to hurt Lamar Johnson when he fired the gun last November.

Cornish and another man forced their way into a Douglas Street apartment last November. Cornish pointed a gun at a man on a sofa in the living room and fired — missing the man but shooting into the adjacent apartment, according to charging documents.

Lamar was watching television in his apartment when he was struck in the head by a bullet. He survived because the bullet did not puncture his skull, the Easton Star Democrat reported, but suffered bruising and bleeding.

Defense attorney Angela DiPietro said Cornish has been in treatment for alcohol and bipolar and schizophrenia disorder.

“I’m not perfect,” Cornish told the judge. “I just pray that everybody can find it in their heart to forgive me.”



McLean doctor awaits retrial in jail

A McLean doctor whose drug-trafficking conviction was overturned on appeal will remain in prison while he waits for a new trial.

A federal judge this week denied bail for Dr. William Hurwitz.

Dr. Hurwitz was caught up in a federal crackdown on physicians who are accused of overprescribing pain medications such as OxyContin. He was convicted in 2004 of running a drug conspiracy out of his McLean office and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The conviction was overturned in August based on an appeals court ruling about jury instructions.

U.S. District Judge Leonard D. Wexler would not allow jurors to consider whether Dr. Hurwitz acted in good faith in prescribing large daily doses of painkillers to some patients.

Judge Wexler said he denied bail because a jury convicted Dr. Hurwitz of 50 other counts, and he agreed with prosecutors’ arguments that Dr. Hurwitz might not show up for trial.


Deaf, mute suspect not ready for trial

A psychiatrist for a suspect who is deaf and mute said the man remains incompetent to stand trial on charges that he raped and killed a teenager.

Oswaldo Martinez, 35, an illegal alien from El Salvador, is undergoing treatment in Western State Hospital to help him understand the charges. Part of his treatment involves watching the television show “Law and Order,” which is interpreted through sign language.

Dr. Barbara Haskins said Wednesday in Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court that hospital staffers are working on having Mr. Martinez “form an opinion about a given character on the show,” to help him understand guilt and innocence.

Dr. Haskins said Mr. Martinez is making progress.

She said he still does not know he could face execution if convicted in the January 2005 slaying of Brittany Binger, 16.

Circuit Judge Samuel T. Powell III scheduled Mr. Martinez’s next hearing for May 21.


Woman admits to vandalism hoax

A claim of racially based vandalism was a hoax, the King and Queen County sheriff’s office said.

Carla Lewis, 27, told police Wednesday that she spray-painted racial epithets in her home in Mattaponi, Sheriff E.C. Walton said.

Sheriff Walton would not say exactly what Mrs. Lewis told authorities. He said the case is still under investigation, and authorities have not decided whether to charge her with filing a false police report.

Mrs. Lewis claimed last week that she returned home Oct. 3 to find racial slurs and references to the Ku Klux Klan painted in her house. She is white, and her husband is black.

Sheriff Walton had asked the Virginia State Police to investigate after the state branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said the sheriff’s office was not taking the case seriously.

Sheriff Walton said Mrs. Lewis revealed what happened while being interviewed by state police officers and sheriff’s deputies.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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