- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Metro sets ridership record

Metro set a record Friday for ridership, surpassing the previous record from 2004, set on the day of former President Ronald Reagan’s state funeral.

Metro said it counted 854,638 riders, beating the old record by 4,000 passenger trips. Officials attributed the increase to a Washington Nationals baseball game, a Women of Faith Conference at the Verizon Center and tourists visiting the city.

So far, 20 of Metrorail’s top 25 highest ridership days in its 32-year history have been recorded this year. Many of the busiest days are generated by baseball games or big events such as the Cherry Blossom Festival and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Ridership also has been steadily increasing as high gas prices push more people to take Metro trains instead of driving.

Metro releases Social Security data

Metro said it accidentally published the Social Security numbers of nearly 4,700 former and current employees on its Web site.

A document was posted from June 9 to June 25, as part of a solicitation from Metro to companies wanting to provide worker-compensation and risk-management services, officials said. They also said the information mistakenly revealed Social Security numbers of 4,675 employees. The document, moreover, included the names and Social Security numbers of a smaller group of workers.

Metro has sent letters to those affected. The agency is offering employees free credit report monitoring, identity-theft insurance and counseling services.

Officials are taking steps to protect employee information, such as improving Internet security, Metro chief safety officer Ronald Keele said.



Police identify man beaten, killed

A Laurel man died four days after he was found beaten on a Severn street, Anne Arundel County police said.

Daniel Ejukwa, 55, was found July 8 about 5 p.m. lying in the 1600 block of Meade Village Circle, police said. He was pronounced dead Saturday at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

Mr. Ejukwa had left a home in that block shortly before he was found, police said. They said a man told investigators that he saw Mr. Ejukwa on the ground with wounds to his upper body, and was then robbed at gunpoint and beaten.

The man flagged down an officer and led him to Mr. Ejukwa.


Body found in Inner Harbor

A woman’s body was found floating in the Inner Harbor, Baltimore fire officials said.

The body was found about 7:15 a.m. Monday near the Science Center, off the 600 block of Light Street.

The woman was 20 to 30 years old and was clothed and there were no signs of trauma, authorities said.


Body floating in canal identified

Ocean City police have released the identity of a man found floating in a canal near the Delaware state line.

Ricky Lee Crippen, 38, of Witman, Va., was found Friday night in a canal in north Ocean City.

Customers at Harpoon Hanna’s restaurant, on Route 54, called authorities to report a body floating in an adjacent canal.

Police were still investigating the incident.


Teens’ shooting seen as accidental

Howard County prosecutors have concluded the shooting of two teenagers by an undercover officer was not intentional.

Prosecutors will not file charges against the officer, whose name is being withheld because of his undercover assignment.

State’s Attorney Dario J. Broccolino told police Chief William J. McMahon the officer’s actions “do not constitute a violation of any Maryland criminal law.”

The shooting occurred April 7. Police said as officers got out of their car to question the two teens, one officer’s handgun discharged, and the same bullet struck two boys, ages 14 and 15. They were treated at area hospitals and released.

Prosecutors have informed lawyers for the teens that their clients will not face any charges in the incident.


Ex-officer sentenced for contract bribery

A federal judge Monday sentenced a former Montgomery County police officer involved in a bribery scheme tied to $130 million in federal security contracts.

U.S. District Judge Deborah Chasanow sentenced Michael Holiday of Silver Spring to four years in prison.

The 51-year-old pleaded guilty to bribing Dessie Nelson, 65, of Oakland, Calif., who worked for the General Services Administration. Holiday won $130 million in contracts for his business to provide security at Maryland and California buildings.

He also was ordered to pay $400,000 in restitution to the IRS.

Nelson admitted to accepting a shopping bag filled with $35,000 in cash, an envelope stuffed with $10,000 in cash and a $7,000 Caribbean cruise. She will be sentenced July 28.

Holiday also was sentenced for sending a video file containing child pornography to an undercover FBI agent in 2004.


Witnesses sought in fatal crash

A Silver Spring man was killed when he crashed his motorcycle on a ramp above Interstate 95 in Howard County, Maryland Transportation Authority Police said.

Krisna Seegobin, 29, was thrown from his bike on the elevated ramp from southbound Interstate 895 to southbound I-95 about 3:30 p.m. Sunday in the Elkridge area, police said. He landed on the highway below.

Investigators think Mr. Seegobin was hit by a tractor trailer and possibly other vehicles after he landed. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators were seeking witnesses to the accident, police spokesman Cpl. Jonathan Green said. The crash apparently involved no other vehicles.



VCU chief recovering from heart surgery

Virginia Commonwealth University President Eugene Trani is recovering from quintuple heart bypass surgery.

Mr. Trani, 68, underwent the surgery Saturday at VCU Medical Center, school officials said. He was in stable condition Monday.

Mr. Trani reported chest pains late last week, and tests indicated the surgery was necessary. He is expected to be discharged from the hospital later this week and will recuperate at home for six to eight weeks.


Vets attempt to fix eaglet’s beak

Veterinarians from the Wildlife Center of Virginia near Waynesboro are trying to fix the malformed beak of a 3-month-old eaglet from the Norfolk Botanical Garden.

A team of vets over the weekend anesthetized the baby eagle and worked to fix its crooked beak, which was misshapen by a growth. The beak was so twisted that the bird could not feed itself.

Surgery to remove the growth had been scheduled for Saturday, but the growth fell off on its own. The vets instead trimmed the deformed upper beak to fit properly with the lower beak, crafted a brace and anchored it to the lower jaw with wires.

It is too soon to tell whether the bird will ever go back into the wild, said Ed Clark, the center’s president and co-founder.


Suspect sought in triple shooting

Fairfax County police are seeking a man they say shot three other men outside a restaurant in Falls Church.

The three men were shot shortly before midnight on Saturday outside the El Catrin restaurant, on Patrick Henry Drive. One, a 52-year-old Arlington man, sustained life-threatening injuries.

Police have obtained an arrest warrant for Vitalino Gomez-Carreto, 23, of no fixed address. He purportedly got into an argument with a man inside the restaurant and was escorted out, then returned to the parking lot and shot the victims.


Arraignment set for former priest

A former Roman Catholic priest convicted on federal charges of embezzling from two Louisa County churches is scheduled to be arraigned on July 21.

Rodney Rodis appeared in Louisa Circuit Court on Monday for his first formal appearance on the state charges. The 52-year-old already is serving a 63-month term in federal prison in North Carolina.

John R. Maus was assigned to represent the 52-year-old defendant.

Rodis was convicted in federal court in October of mail fraud and money laundering. He also was ordered to repay about $600,000.

Many former parishioners from St. Jude and Immaculate Conception Catholic churches were unhappy with the federal sentence. If convicted on all the state charges, Rodis faces up to 260 years.


Former student sentenced for fires

A former Virginia Tech student will serve five years in federal prison for arson convictions related to three fires at a Blacksburg apartment complex where he lived.

U.S. District Judge Glen Conrad sentenced Robert Andrew Lawson, 23, on Monday, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office said. He will be on probation for three years after his release.

Lawson agreed to pay nearly $74,000 in restitution when he pleaded guilty to the charges in April, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Prosecutors said Lawson reported the first fire and was on the scene of the other two. Fires on July 19 and Aug. 31, 2007 occurred in the building where Lawson lived. A fire on Sept. 20 was in a building across the street.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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