- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 27, 2008



DNC delegate suffers stroke

Roxanne Taylor, a delegate from Prince George’s County at the Democratic Party’s convention in Denver, had a stroke Monday night, a party spokesman said.

Miss Taylor suffered the stroke at a reception after Monday night’s speeches.

Miss Taylor became sick about 11 p.m. at Dixon’s Downtown Grill, where state Comptroller Peter Franchot was hosting an event, the spokesman said.

Miss Taylor, 52, of Bowie, was taken to a hospital, where she was in critical but stable condition. Two paramedics on bicycles responded quickly and attended to Miss Taylor, a member of the Maryland Steering Committee.


Officer speeding when boy struck

A Montgomery County police officer was driving at least 26 mph over the speed limit when he struck and severely injured a boy in April, investigators said Tuesday.

No charges have been filed against Officer Jason Cokinos, and he is back on the job, a police spokeswoman said. She also said the officer received two traffic citations.

Officer Cokinos was off duty when his cruiser hit Luis Jovel, 12, as the boy was crossing the street near his home.

According to an accident report, the officer was driving at least 56 mph on the 30-mph-limit road. The collision wouldn’t have occurred if he had been within the speed limit, according to investigators.

Officer Cokinos’ attorney declined to comment. A final report on the accident is expected next month.


ACLU: Police withhold papers

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland said in a court filing that state police officials have not released all documents related to the 14-month infiltration or monitoring of anti-death penalty and peace activist groups.

The ACLU filed a Public Information Act lawsuit against the state police in June that first detailed the surveillance operation.

The suit is moot because all documents have been released and the plaintiffs waited too long to sue, said the state police’s attorney, Sharon Benzil. However, ACLU attorney David Rocah said only summaries of the surveillance logs were released, not actual reports.

A Baltimore circuit judge will determine whether to dismiss the lawsuit at a future hearing.


Olive oil spill could kill fish

A olive oil spill into the Baltimore Harbor will take days to clean up, Maryland Department of the Environment officials said Tuesday.

About 5,000 gallons spilled into the harbor and crews began cleaning Monday night with a vacuum truck and absorbent cloths. Agency officials also said the oil is not harmful to people but could be fatal for fish because it could deprive them of oxygen.

Officials think the oil came from Pompeian Inc., near Canton. Coast Guard officials assisting with the cleanup think vandals damaged a holding bladder containing the oil.


Teacher charged in cocaine sales

A former teacher was arrested and charged with distributing cocaine to students from Thomas S. Wootton High School, Montgomery County police said.

Theresa Cunningham Duarte, 44, distributed cocaine to students more than once from her Rockville home, police said. She was charged Monday with two counts of distribution of a controlled dangerous substance and other counts.

Miss Duarte was a substitute teacher at Einstein High School in Kensington for the 2003-04 school year, police said. She became a full-time teacher at Wootton in July 2004. She resigned from that post at the end of the last school year for unknown reasons.


‘Seinfeld’ invoked in high court case

Maryland’s highest court is using a scene from the “Seinfeld” television show to help explain legal reasoning in a contract dispute involving author Tom Clancy and his ex-wife.

The Court of Appeals has concluded that contract language trumps partnership duties. Its ruling sends the matter back to Calvert County Circuit Court to decide whether “The Hunt for Red October” author ended a book series in good faith or bad faith.

The ruling found that the contract between Mr. Clancy and Wanda King couldn’t be harmed out of spite stemming from their separation and eventual divorce in 1996.

In the “Seinfeld” episode, Jerry Seinfeld returns a jacket to the store out of spite for the salesman.



Metro route shut on busy weekend

A major overhaul of Metro track will shut down rail service to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport from Alexandria during one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.

Metro plans to replace the track between the airport and the Braddock Road station beginning 9 p.m. Friday. The work is scheduled to be completed by 4 a.m. Tuesday.

The transit agency is offering free shuttle bus service every five minutes between the airport and the Braddock Road station. Passengers should plan for an extra 30 minutes in travel time in the area, officials said.

Doing all the work at once will prevent months of delays that would have resulted from single-tracking trains in the area, said Dave Kubicek, Metro’s assistant general manager of Metrorail.


VCU student’s killer wants term voided

An amateur photographer sentenced to 30 years in prison for killing a Virginia Commonwealth University student wants his sentence be thrown out.

Benjamin Fawley entered an Alford plea in 2006 to charges that he killed Taylor Behl, a 17-year-old student whose body was found a month after she disappeared in Mathews County. An Alford plea means Fawley did not admit guilt but acknowledged there was enough evidence to convict him.

Fawley said he accidentally cut off Miss Behl’s oxygen during a rough sexual encounter, then panicked and disposed of her body.

The request filed in Mathews County Circuit Court says Fawley was not of sound mind when he entered the plea and that he did so on the “errant, misguided and ill-conceived” advice of his court-appointed attorney.


Lottery player wins $100,000 thrice

Ralph Stephens, a Virginia Beach resident, has won the $100,000 top prize in the Virginia Lottery’s Cash 5 drawing three times.

Lottery officials said Mr. Stephens’ most recent win was Aug. 3. He first hit the Cash 5 jackpot in 1997, and then repeated the feat in April of last year.

A lottery spokesman didn’t know whether Mr. Stephens’ three wins were unprecedented.

Mr. Stephens declined to be interviewed. Lottery officials said Mr. Stephens told them he fell out of his chair when he learned he had won the jackpot again.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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