- The Washington Times - Monday, October 23, 2006



SUV hits building, causes gas leak

A sport utility vehicle crashed into an apartment building yesterday, causing a gas leak that forced authorities to evacuate dozens of residents.

The accident happened about 2 p.m. in the 1400 block of Hadwick Drive. Elise Armacost, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore County fire department, said the driver fled the scene.

A 3-inch gas main was severed in the crash, and natural gas filled the building, she said. Sixty to 90 people had to evacuate, and the Red Cross made arrangements for them last night. No injuries were reported.

Gas and electricity in the building were turned off.


Gunmaker rescinds Ehrlich donation

A subsidiary of the Italian gun manufacturer Beretta has agreed to rescind a $4,000 contribution to Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.’s re-election campaign.

The Baltimore Sun reported that three companies with ties to Beretta together gave a total of $12,000 to Mr. Ehrlich’s campaign in August.

State law sets the political donation cap at $4,000.

The Maryland State Board of Elections said Beretta USA gave $4,000 to Mr. Ehrlich. Benelli USA and Stoeger Industries, both Beretta subsidiaries, each gave the same amount.

Jeff Reh, general counsel for Beretta USA, said the three corporations have separate boards of directors, so they should each be allowed to donate. But he said that the Ehrlich campaign views these issues cautiously and that Stoeger Industries decided to cancel the donation.


Stubborn fire destroys vacant building

The Maryland Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause of a persistent fire that destroyed a vacant building.

Flames broke out about 9:40 p.m. Saturday at the 120-foot-tall building in the 1200 block of Liberty Road. The structure once housed a feed and pet-supply business.

More than 80 firefighters battled the blaze for about three hours before bringing it under control. One Howard County firefighter was taken to a hospital after he complained of trouble breathing.

Investigators think the fire started in an addition to the rear of the building and spread to the roof before passers-by spotted the flames.

The structure might have been vacant for as many as 10 years, and it is not clear who owned it.


Man rescued from concrete slab

A homeowner was rescued from underneath a concrete slab, Prince George’s fire department officials said.

The man, who lives in the 5200 block of Hagan Road, was performing a backyard home improvement project about 1:40 p.m. Saturday, trying to move the 2,500-pound slab into a ditch, fire officials said.

The 4-square-foot slab fell, trapping his lower body.

Rescue crews excavated around the pinned man and used cribbing to support the slab as they pulled him out. The rescue took more than an hour, officials said.

The man was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.


Woman pleads guilty to concealing fraud

A former Baltimore construction company manager has admitted that she withheld information related to the investigation of state Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell.

Jeanie Ashfield-Testa of Ashburn, Va., pleaded guilty Friday to concealing knowledge of mail fraud from federal law-enforcement officials.

She also promised full cooperation in the upcoming trial of Mr. Bromwell, Baltimore Democrat, and her former boss, David Stoffregen, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Mr. Stoffregen, the former president of contractor Poole and Kent, has been charged with bribing Mr. Bromwell. Mr. Bromwell and his wife were indicted on charges including racketeering, mail fraud and extortion.


Metro appoints interim manager

Metro’s board of directors has chosen a second interim general manager this year while it continues to search for a permanent executive.

Jack Requa, the chief operating officer for Metrobus, will take over when interim general manager Dan Tangherlini leaves Nov. 5, officials said Friday. Mr. Requa has been in charge of Metro’s bus service since 1998 and has 30 years of experience in the transit field.

Mr. Tangherlini, had been a leading contender to permanently head the transit agency but withdrew as a candidate when promised the D.C. city administrator position by Adrian M. Fenty, a Democrat, who is expected to be elected mayor in the Nov. 7 general election.

The search for a permanent chief executive continues, board Chairman Gladys W. Mack said.

Mr. Requa said he plans to work closely with Mr. Tangherlini, who took over in February when Richard A. White left Metro after 9 years.

Mr. Requa has had oversight of more than one-third of Metro’s 10,000-person work force while heading the country’s fifth-busiest bus service. He has been responsible for the operation and maintenance of 1,477 Metrobuses and will add the country’s second-busiest subway to his oversight.



Off-base crashes worry military officials

Frustrated Navy and Marine Corps officials are taking a hard line to try to reduce fatal traffic crashes off bases.

The Navy Safety Center said it has tallied the most traffic fatalities in more than a decade.

Marine Col. James Jamison, the center’s deputy commander, said 144 sailors and Marines died on the highways during the past fiscal year. About 30 percent of those crashes involved alcohol.

Four sailors from the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln died in a single-car wreck in Seattle last month.

Five more fatalities have occurred this month — three within a week involving sailors from the Norfolk-based aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman.

Sailors on the Norfolk-based cruiser USS Normandy are receiving cards from a local cab company for free rides to the base.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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