- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 24, 2007


City back in court over hazmat transit

Attorneys for the District were in federal court yesterday to defend the city’s ban on hazardous rail shipments near the Capitol.

The District passed a law in 2005 banning such shipments. Enforcement has been delayed pending the outcome of a lawsuit over the issue.

Rail carrier CSX Transportation and the federal government said the District doesn’t have the authority to ban the shipments. They said government regulations that allow rail carriers more flexibility take precedence.

But attorneys for the District and environmentalists that support the ban said the federal regulations don’t cover the same ground.

Man’s body found in Anacostia River

D.C. police are trying to learn more about the death of a man whose body was found yesterday morning in the Anacostia River.

A passer-by spotted a body floating in the river south of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge about 9 a.m. and called police.

The body was brought ashore at Buzzard Point.

The man’s name and cause of death were not known.



Attorneys say guards followed prison rules

Attorneys for Maryland’s prison system are seeking the dismissal of a federal lawsuit blaming prison guards for the April 2004 death of an inmate at the Western Correctional Institution in Cresaptown.

In a federal court filing, the attorneys said correctional officers acted according to their training when they forcibly removed inmate Ifeanyi Iko from a cell. Iko died after the struggle, and his death was ruled a homicide.

Iko’s family says guards used illegal force. The suit is seeking $28 million.

Attorneys for the prison system said Iko was delusional and previously had attacked correctional officers and other inmates, even biting off the tips of a cellmate’s fingers.

An Allegany County grand jury cleared the officers of criminal wrongdoing, but the FBI continues to review Iko’s death.


Woman leads police on 2-county chase

A woman driving a stolen van was arrested in northeastern Montgomery County yesterday after she led police on a chase through two counties.

Police said the 33-year-old woman, who was not identified, fled Maryland State Police in Howard County shortly after 10 a.m. after the troopers tried to stop her for driving a vehicle that was stolen Monday in Baltimore County.

Montgomery County officers spotted the vehicle on New Hampshire Avenue and picked up the chase, police said.

The van eventually stopped in the driveway of a house in the 2300 block of Brighton Dam Road. The driver got out and ran to a nearby garage before hiding in a wooded area nearby, police said.

A police dog tracked down the woman, who was arrested about 11:20 a.m., police said.

The woman was charged with auto theft, felony theft over $500, unauthorized use of a vehicle and multiple traffic charges.

No one was hurt.


Ex-teacher sentenced in sex abuse of girl

A judge in Queen Anne’s County sentenced a former teacher to 18 months in prison for the sexual abuse of an underage girl.

Christopher Tribbitt, 27, of Denton, was convicted in November of one count of sexual abuse of a minor.

Tribbitt is a former physical education and health teacher at Centreville Middle School. He was charged after the girl came forward last spring.

He was accused of having a two-year relationship with the girl. The relationship began when the student was an eighth-grader and played in an after-school volleyball program run by Tribbitt.

The girl, now 15, said in court yesterday that the past year has been stressful and that she has lost the motivation to go to school.



Ex-State official gets year in prison

A former top State Department official from Fairfax has been sentenced to a year in prison for mishandling classified documents and concealing his relationship with an intelligence officer from Taiwan.

Donald Keyser, 63, had been the second-ranking official in the State Department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs before retiring in 2004.

Prosecutors considered bring-ing espionage-related charges against Keyser but settled on a plea bargain. He pleaded guilty to making false official statements and unlawful removal of classified documents.

At his sentencing hearing in federal court, Keyser admitted to egregiously bad judgment in striking up a personal relationship with Isabelle Cheng, 35, a known intelligence officer with Taiwan’s National Intelligence Bureau.


Driver shot in chase that injured trooper

A man was charged with attempted capital murder Monday after police said he tried to run over a state police trooper during a car chase that reached 110 mph.

Trooper R.E. Sterling was not seriously hurt.

The car’s driver, William Thurman Duke Jr., 32, was shot in the arm and suffered injuries that are not life-threatening, police said.

The chase began when a car speeding east on Interstate 264 failed to pull over for Trooper Sterling. The car crashed along the interstate but kept going.

The car then left the interstate onto a busy road, jumped a curb and narrowly missed a minivan with an infant inside. It careened into the parking lot of a Chuck E. Cheese’s, where it struck Trooper Sterling’s cruiser, sending it into a light pole.

The car circled around the back of a nearby hotel. Trooper Sterling got out of his cruiser to cut the car off, but it sped toward him, and Trooper Sterling fired several gunshots, striking the driver.

A male passenger jumped out of the car and surrender-ed, but the car took off again. Two Virginia Beach police officers later found Mr. Duke and a female passenger hiding in a used-car lot, police said.

The passengers were not charged.


Judge dismisses suits on college’s coed move

A judge yesterday dismissed two lawsuits filed against Randolph-Macon Woman’s College by opponents of the private school’s decision to begin admitting men this fall.

The first lawsuit, filed by nine students, said the board of trustees breached its contract with students by voting to make the school coeducational.

But an attorney representing the school argued that no contract was signed promising incoming freshmen four years of single-sex education.

The second lawsuit was filed by seven of the nine students involved in the first suit plus two donors.

It said the board of trustees can’t use the college’s assets once it admits men since the school accepted donations from people who gave to the college when it was for women only.


Two-faced calf wins over dairyman

Star, a calf born with two faces, is getting star treatment from dairyman Kirk Heldreth.

Despite her malformed mouth, Star has been feeding from a bottle and is winning over Mr. Heldreth, who didn’t expect her to live long after her Dec. 27 birth. He had considered donating the calf to Virginia Tech for scientific purposes, or selling her for show, but decided to keep her.

While otherwise normal, Star has one upper jaw and two lower jaws. Mr. Heldreth thought initially that she would have to be tube-fed. He is not sure whether she will be able to eat feed like a normal heifer.

Star had been drawing about 40 to 50 visitors daily.


Man who grew pot near police HQ jailed

A former gardening club director will spend one month in jail for growing marijuana in an apartment one block from Lynchburg Police Department headquarters.

John Russell Wormuth, 37, was arrested in May after police found more than a dozen marijuana plants growing in his apartment.

Wormuth was a founding member and president of nonprofit Lynchburg Grows, a group that teaches low-income and disabled people how to grow organic foods. He resigned shortly after being arrested.

He pleaded guilty Friday to a manufacturing charge. He was sentenced to five years in prison on the manufacturing charge, with all but a month suspended.

He also must serve 18 months of supervised probation.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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