- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 19, 2008



Three hurt in balcony collapse

Three people were injured over the weekend when a balcony collapsed in the 2800 block of Gull Way, according to the Ocean City Police Department.

The collapse was reported about 1:30 a.m. Sunday. Police say the injuries were not life-threatening, but an 18-year-old woman was taken by helicopter to a trauma center after she fell about nine feet during the collapse.

Police do not think activity on the balcony caused the collapse. Investigators were looking at possible structural issues.


Couple with baby charged with pot

Resort police have charged a couple with possession of marijuana after officers saw them smoking the drug in a car with their 1-year-old son.

Chad Marciano, 19, and Cassondra Rivera, 18, both of Milford, Del., were arrested Wednesday. A 17-year-old and the couple’s baby son, who were in the car when the couple was arrested, were turned over to social services.

Police say officers working in unmarked cars saw Mr. Marciano smoking what appeared to be a hand-rolled marijuana cigar, which he handed to Ms. Rivera.

Officers also detected a strong odor of marijuana in the car.


Police ID body found in Potomac

Montgomery County authorities Monday identified a body that was pulled out of the Potomac River in Great Falls Park earlier this month.

Police say the victim was Paul Richard Woods Jr., 48, of Sterling, Va. The medical examiner has classified the cause of death as drowning. Police say there is no evidence of foul play. Kayakers discovered the body on Aug. 12.



Unauthorized plane lands safely

A small plane that made an unauthorized takeoff Monday afternoon, then circled in western Virginia for several hours - prompting the voluntary evacuation of a shopping center - landed without incident at Roanoke Regional Airport.

A Roanoke police spokeswoman said the pilot was with federal authorities, who were handling the investigation.

Franklin County Administrator Rick Huff described the pilot as a 50-year-old retired air-traffic controller and licensed pilot.

An internal Department of Homeland Security memo indicated that authorities think the pilot might have been trying to kill himself, and Mr. Huff said law enforcement officers worked to talk him down.

Authorities asked business owners to evacuate Bridgewater Plaza, a strip shopping center near Smith Mountain Lake, as the single-engine Cessna 172 circled the area.

Officials said the plane took off at about 11 a.m. and landed at about 2:30 p.m.

Law-enforcement officials from Franklin, Bedford and Pittsylvania counties mobilized in the area, along with fire and rescue personnel.


Machete attack linked to gangs

Two known gang members were arrested after vandalizing a car and attacking a woman with a machete, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

A woman, 39, and a man, 34, got into a fight in Centreville with four or five men who purportedly vandalized a car at about 2 a.m. Sunday.

The vandalism happened in the 13000 block of Winding Ridge Lane.

Minutes later, the fight began, and police say the man and woman were shot with a BB gun. Then, police say, one of the men attacked the woman with a machete.

Police say the injuries aren’t life-threatening.

Officers arrested Luis Merino, 221, and Josue Palacios, 23, on charges of malicious wounding by mob and gang participation. Charges are possible against two 17-year-old men police detained and returned home.


Pedestrian on I-85 killed in hit-and-run

State police are investigating the hit-and-run death Monday of a pedestrian on Interstate 85 in Dinwiddie County.

Sgt. Thomas Cunningham said a man in his 30s was hit in the southbound lanes by a vehicle that didn’t stop at about 3 a.m.

Sgt. Cunningham said two other vehicles also struck the man.

The drivers stopped and called police. They were released after being interviewed by police and aren’t considered suspects.

The victim wasn’t identified. Investigators do not know why the man was on the interstate.


Police official charged with DWI

Assistant Chief Dawn Barber of the Newport News Police Department has been placed on administrative leave after being charged with driving under the influence.

The department announced the move in a prepared statement and said it plans to conduct an internal investigation.

State police arrested Chief Barber late Saturday night after stopping her on Interstate 664 in Hampton, officials said.

Newport News police spokesman Lou Thurston says Chief Barber, 44, oversees administration and support functions for the department.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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