- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 7, 2007


Tourist trolley bursts into flames

A tourist trolley erupted into flames in Northwest yesterday afternoon.

The fire began at 12th and Rhode Island avenues, authorities said. Only the driver was on the green and orange Old Towne Trolley bus at the time. No one was injured.

A resident of a home near the fire said she heard an explosion, looked outside and saw the bus catch fire. Other witnesses said they saw a huge plume of black smoke from many blocks away.

D.C. fire spokesman Alan Etter said the cause is still under investigation, but authorities say it was likely a mechanical problem.

Mr. Etter said the whole engine compartment was involved, and the fire was fueled by the bus’ propane tank.



Five plead guilty to large drug sales

Five Baltimore residents have pleaded guilty to dealing large amounts of cocaine and crack cocaine.

Federal prosecutors said Angel Velasquez, Daniel Gasca, Rafael Gasca, Patricia Fonseca and Enrique Gasca all pleaded guilty yesterday and Thursday. In all, prosecutors said 10 persons have pleaded guilty in this case.

The five confessed in plea agreements to receiving drug shipments from Colorado and Baltimore. Undercover officers purchased more than one kilogram of crack cocaine from the drug dealers.

Prosecutors said they were dealing the drugs out of bars and other Fells Point locations. They also sold hundreds of false driver’s licenses, Social Security cards and alien registration documents.

Sentencing for all five is planned in September.


Manslaughter charges filed in speeding death

Maryland State Police charged a Mount Airy man yesterday with causing a fatal crash while driving twice the speed limit.

Timothy Short turned himself in on vehicular manslaughter charges. Police said that in January on Route 27, he sideswiped a car driven by a teenager before crashing head-on into a Mount Airy woman’s car.

The woman, Flora Snowden, 63, was killed in the crash. When Mr. Short hit her car, he was traveling twice the 50 mph speed limit, police said.

He is charged with reckless driving, negligent driving, speeding and two counts of failure to control speed to avoid a collision.


High carcinogen levels near gas station

Frederick residents have been warned that high levels of gas were found in a local gas station’s monitoring well.

The high levels of carcinogens were found in June, according to the Frederick County Health Department.

Twenty-five residents living within a half-mile of the Frederick gas station were notified Thursday, within the Maryland’s 30-day notification deadline. The water supply of the Frederick Gas Mart was not contaminated, officials said, although one of the station’s monitoring wells tested positive for high levels of carcinogens.

Officials with the Maryland Department of the Environment said methyl tertiary-butyl was found at 125 times Maryland’s action level. Benzene, a known carcinogen, was also found at 120 times the state’s action level.

The environmental department will require the gas station’s owner, Abdul Ayub of Muzammil LLC, to pay for further testing. Officials are studying the groundwater flow to determine if the water supply has been contaminated.


Teen shooter charged as adult

Hagerstown police said a city teenager is being charged as an adult in a shooting Monday night.

Ryan Kaplan, 17, is charged with attempted second-degree murder, assault and other offenses. According to court documents, he is accused of shooting Justin Leibrand, 19, of State Line, Pa., during an argument in the 300 block of Brookline Avenue.

Mr. Leibrand reported hearing seven or eight shots as he walked to a friend’s vehicle, and was wounded in the heel. The suspect was arrested Tuesday morning.

Bond for the teen was set at $600,000.



Coast Guard rescues stranded father, son

The Coast Guard rescued a father and his son after the jet skis they were on got stuck in the mud near the Cape Charles Lighthouse on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

Claus Althoff and his son Alexander, 13, were rescued Thursday after the father called the Coast Guard telling them their jet skis were stuck. Mr. Althoff was able to relay their exact position using a Global Positioning System unit.

A rescue boat crew from the Cape Charles Coast Guard Station arrived but could not get close enough to the father and son because the water was too shallow.

A helicopter rescue crew from the Atlantic City Coast Guard Air Station arrived on scene, hoisted the two aboard the aircraft and transferred them to Cape Charles.


Disabled woman sues over job rejection

A Norfolk woman who said she was turned away from her first day on the job at a regional jail when officials discovered she only had one arm is suing.

Chanelle Taylor is seeking damages and back pay in her federal suit, which said the Hampton Roads Regional Jail in Portsmouth violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Miss Taylor, who was born without a right hand and forearm, said she passed written and physical agility tests and was interviewed by jail officials before she was offered the job. She said that after reporting for duty in December 2005, she was told she no longer had the job.

She said she told a jail official that she had a prosthetic for her arm, but he said she could still not have the job.

The lawsuit does not state whether Miss Taylor was wearing the prosthetic arm during the job interview and tests.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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