- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 3, 2006

DISTRICT

Slaying victim identified

An 18-year-old D.C. man, identified as Michael Fye of the 4900 block of North Capitol Street Northeast, was killed by multiple gunshots about 1:30 p.m. Friday afternoon in the 5000 block of Rock Creek Church Road Northeast, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

Metro must rehire train operator

The Metro transit agency must rehire the operator of a train that rolled backward and slammed into another train in 2004, an arbitrator has ruled.

The ruling stated that Metro did not follow proper procedure when it fired Lamont Lewis about one month after his empty train rolled backward at the Woodley Park station, Metro officials said.

The crash injured about 20 people and caused about $3.5 million in damage. Investigators said the midday crash could have killed at least 79 persons if the runaway train had been full.

The transit workers’ union filed a grievance against Metro after Mr. Lewis was fired, saying it never agreed to let Metro extend the time it could investigate the crash before taking action against Mr. Lewis. Metro argued there was an agreement.

A Metro spokeswoman said Mr. Lewis could be reinstated by this month and will receive the same salary as before — $52,862. Mr. Lewis also will receive nearly two years of back pay, dating to when he was fired.

Metro officials said Mr. Lewis will not work in jobs in which safety is a main concern, such as bus or train operator.

During a 14-month investigation of the accident by the National Transportation Safety Board, Mr. Lewis maintained that the collision was not his fault. But agency officials said in March that he failed to brake and that his train rolled backward because he was likely asleep.

VIRGINIA

TAPPAHANNOCK

Volunteers sought to slow wild plant

Recruits are being sought in the battle against an invasive plant taking root in Virginia wetlands and along the East Coast.

The Rappahannock Phragmites Action Committee has asked about 60 landowners in Richmond and Essex counties for permission to kill the feathery reed on their property.

The plant — known as the kudzu of the coast — can crowd out other plants in a marsh and drive away animals and birds.

The committee is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to drive the invader from the Rappahannock River.

A Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge manager said up to 450 acres of phragmites were found this year in a 25-mile stretch of the river.

MARYLAND

SEAT PLEASANT

Three killed in shooting

Three men in their 20s were killed in a shooting early yesterday morning, according to the Prince George’s County Police Department. The victims were found about 1:30 a.m. in a parking lot in the 5300 block of Sheriff Road.

Two of the men were pronounced dead at the scene, and the third died at a nearby hospital. The victims have been identified as William Middleton, 24; Marcus Woodland, 25; and John Woodland, 29. Police said the men lived at the same Landover address.

No arrests have been made, and investigators have yet to determine a motive.

ANNAPOLIS

Guitar thieves get probation

Two Anne Arundel County men have been sentenced to probation for stealing guitars once used by Faith Hill and Nickelback.

Jeffrey Lanahan, 44, of Annapolis, stole at least a dozen instruments from his employer, Paul Reed Smith Guitars of Stevensville. He gave them to Michael Kelly, 42, of Arnold, who passed them along to another man, who sold them on EBay.

Lanahan and Kelly were sentenced Friday. A county judge ordered Lanahan to serve three months of house arrest and five years of probation. Kelly was sentenced to three years of probation.

The men also must pay restitution. The guitars were valued at nearly $60,000. All but about $21,000 in value was recovered.

BALTIMORE

Motor officer dies during surgery

A Maryland Transportation Authority police officer died Friday night, more than eight months after he was struck while escorting a funeral procession in the city.

Motor Officer Robert T. Krauss, 39, died during surgery at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. He had undergone several surgeries since the accident on Dec. 21.

Officer Krauss had been escorting a funeral procession on his motorcycle when he was struck by a van that was not part of the procession. The van’s driver, Rodney D. Austin, pleaded guilty to driving while impaired, and additional charges are possible, now that Officer Krauss has died.

Officer Krauss, an 18-year veteran of the department, was posthumously promoted to corporal. He is survived by his wife, parents and brother. His father is a retired Baltimore City Police officer.

BALTIMORE

Pope names envoy to basilica rededication

Pope Benedict XVI has chosen an envoy to represent him at the inauguration of a new altar in Baltimore’s restored Basilica of the Assumption.

Cardinal James Francis Stafford will attend the celebrations, according to the Vatican. Cardinal Stafford leads a Vatican tribunal.

The 200-year-old Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary will reopen in November after a two-year, $32 million restoration. It is the country’s first Roman Catholic cathedral and was designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, architect of the U.S. Capitol.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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