- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 25, 2007



Police chase suspects on horseback — again

It was like a scene out of an old Western, with lawmen in hot pursuit of outlaws on horseback.

Only this time, the pursuers were in police cruisers, and the chase was through a subdivision.

It all started about 10:30 p.m. Saturday when several people asked a man to stop urinating against the side of a Culpeper convenience store because children were present, town police Sgt. Scott Jenkins said.

Witnesses told police that the man cursed to those who complained, went into the store, then came out and mounted his horse and charged toward the group.

When Officer Jeff Dodson arrived, witnesses told him that the man and a woman had departed on horseback. When Officer Dodson found them on a residential street, the riders took off through a back yard, Sgt. Jenkins said.

The man apparently didn’t see a utility pole guy wire in the dark. He rode into the wire, which knocked him to the ground. The woman also fell off.

Eric Kyff, 39, and Lauren Allen, 27, were charged with riding a horse on a highway after dark without proper reflective material, being drunk in public and obstruction of justice. Mr. Kyff also was charged with attempted unlawful wounding.

It was not the riders’ first clash with the law. At about midnight May 24 the two — again on horseback — were arrested on public drunkenness and railroad-trespassing charges. Miss Allen paid a $25 fine and Mr. Kyff a $100 fine, according to court documents.



Threats against judge tied to earlier dispute

Court records show that a Cumberland man’s threats against a district court judge and several other people stemmed from a dispute with the managers of a trailer park.

John McKenzie Jr., 55, has been charged with extortion, threatening a state official, obstruction of justice and retaliation against a witness.

Court documents show that Mr. McKenzie sued for damages after he moved from the Garden City Trailer Park. He said a conflict with the managers of the park compelled him to move, which led to financial problems.

District Court Judge Jack Price heard the case, which Mr. McKenzie lost.

According to court records, Mr. McKenzie threatened to physically harm people involved in his case, and he demanded payment of more than $55,000 to end the threats.


State catching up on DNA backlog

State officials have announced progress in reducing the state’s backlog of untested and uncollected DNA samples from convicted felons.

Teresa Long, deputy director of the state’s forensics science division, said yesterday that the samples have been returned from a lab in Nashville, Tenn. She said there are 3,000 to 4,000 more recent samples that need to be sent out.

State officials said the backlog of DNA cases should be eliminated by February.


Life for drug runners with bodies in trunk

Two men were sentenced yesterday to life in prison for drug conspiracy and firearms violation in a plot that came to light when the bodies of two persons were found in the trunk of a car after a police stop on Interstate 95.

James Moore, 43, of Andrews, S.C., and Walter Babbs, 37, of Greensboro, N.C., were convicted in April by a federal jury of conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and 50 grams or more of crack cocaine; and conspiracy to possess and possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking.

Moore also was convicted of two counts of use of a firearm during and in relation to a drug-trafficking crime in the fatal shootings of Willie Anthony Robinson and Alexandria Angeline Withers. The jury was not able to reach a verdict on those counts in Babbs’ case.

According to evidence presented at trial, from September 2002 to August 2004, Moore and Babbs conspired to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine. Mr. Robinson had provided the drugs since January 2003.

In November 2003, Maryland State Police stopped a car driven by Moore on I-95 in Cecil County for a traffic violation. Troopers found the bodies of Mr. Robinson and Miss Withers, who had been shot a day earlier, in the car’s trunk. The car had been stolen from Mr. Robinson.


Radioactive material in stolen equipment

State environmental officials said yesterday that a piece of equipment containing radioactive material has been stolen from a Charles County construction site.

The Department of the Environment warned the public that a moisture density gauge containing radioactive material has gone missing.

The gauge is about 3 feet tall in a locked yellow case, and it likely poses no danger to the public.

Officials said that as long as the gauge is not opened, no one could be harmed. They said the cesium-137 inside would pose a risk only to someone handling it for extended periods.

Moisture density gauges are used by builders to measure the compactness of the soil before building. The one that went missing yesterday is a Troxler Model 3430 with the serial number 22355.


Tourists videotaped drowning man

A man who drowned trying to save his two sons trapped in a rip current could have been helped by tourists on a boat, according to a captain who jumped in to save the boys.

Renald Charles, 38, of Fruitland, died Sunday while attempting to rescue his sons, 10 and 13. The boys and their father were spotted by Michael Andrew, owner of a 31-foot boat that was taking tourists to shore from a parasailing trip.

Mr. Andrew and one of his crew members jumped in, but the tourists videotaped the drowning instead of helping Mr. Charles, Mr. Andrew said.

Barry Neeb, Ocean City Police Department spokesman, said the boys were sucked into the swirling waters beyond the north jetty. Both boys survived.

Beach Patrol Capt. Butch Arbin said an autopsy was pending for their father, who showed signs of cardiac arrest.


Worker rescued after 25-foot fall

Baltimore County firefighters rescued a man in Essex yesterday who fell 25 feet into a trench filled with water.

Fire officials said the 48-year-old man fell while repairing pipe at the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant about 1 p.m. The trench had about 3 feet of water in it.

The man’s co-workers held his head above water to keep him from drowning until rescue crews arrived. Then crews used an on-site crane to lift him out in a Stokes basket.

Officials said he never lost consciousness and was flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore with serious injuries.


Rowdy behavior may end Canal Day festival

An annual June festival at the C&D; Canal may be canceled because of lewd, drunken behavior, Chesapeake City officials said.

The Canal Day festival, held each year since 1975, raises money for local landmarks but is better known for a party outside on the canal basin, where revelers drink and more than 400 boaters gather.

“The Mardi Gras thing has got to stop,” said Mayor Bill Kiessling, who called Monday for a study to review whether the festival should be canceled. Mr. Kiessling said other options include moving the date or changing the festival’s name to discourage rowdy boaters from attending.

Laurance Smith, a Coast Guard auxiliary member, said authorities would step up enforcement next year and may limit the number of boats allowed in the basin.


Second church burned this month

A stubborn fire that sent clouds of smoke billowing over central Baltimore yesterday engulfed an abandoned church that once housed a movie theater.

The fire at Gateway Church of Christ was reported about 10:30 a.m. and quickly grew to three alarms, fire department spokesman Kevin Cartwright said.

There were no reports of injuries and firefighters did not know what started the blaze, although some witnesses told authorities that they saw someone fleeing the building with a smoldering grill, Mr. Cartwright said.

The fire was the second at a church in central Baltimore this month. Two weeks ago, lightning struck the steeple of the First Mount Olive Freewill Baptist Church, causing extensive damage.


Police withhold report on wrong-place raid

The Annapolis Police Department says it will not release its report into a drug raid last month at an incorrect address.

A spokesman said the report is being withheld because the department has been told to expect a lawsuit from two of the residents of the apartment.

Silvia Bernal and her husband, Elmer Perez, said officers armed with rifles broke down their door at the Spa Cove apartments complex, used a flash grenade and kicked Mr. Perez in the groin. Another man and woman arrived after the raid began and were handcuffed.

The department said the officers soon realized they were at the wrong address and called for an ambulance. Three of the tenants were treated at a nearby hospital and released.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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