- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 17, 2009



Passers-by rescue woman from Jeep

Several passers-by tore the cloth rooftop of a burning Jeep to rescue a trapped driver early Wednesday, Prince George’s fire officials said.

Fire department spokesman Mark Brady said the accident happened Wednesday about 8:45 a.m. on the Outer Loop of the Capital Beltway near Interstate 95. A tractor-trailer hit the rear of a Jeep Wrangler.

Mr. Brady said the impact ruptured the Jeep’s fuel tank and started a fire. The 27-year-old driver was dazed, her foot was stuck under one of the pedals, and the Jeep’s doors could not be opened.

One passer-by tried to put out the fire with an extinguisher while others jumped on the Jeep hood and ripped open the rooftop. They were able to lift the driver through the roof.

The driver was taken to a hospital with serious injuries.


Board approves port deal

The Board of Public Works on Wednesday approved a 50-year contract with Ports America to operate Baltimore’s Seagirt Marine Terminal.

Officials have estimated the deal will bring at least $1.3 billion to the state during the contract term.

The agreement calls for the Maryland Port Administration to lease the 200-acre terminal to Ports America in exchange for construction of a 50-foot berth that will allow larger vessels to dock in Baltimore.


Southwest to add flights from BWI

Airline officials say Southwest Airlines will add flights and a destination from Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport next year.

Southwest, the largest airline at BWI, will have 181 daily nonstop flights in May, and will add Panama City Beach, Fla. That service will start May 23.

Southwest currently has 157 daily flights to 41 cities from BWI. More than 2,500 Southwest employees are based at BWI.


Police ID man killed by officers

Baltimore police have identified the man fatally shot during a gunfight with two Baltimore County detectives who followed him into the city.

The man was Christopher Shelton, 39, of Baltimore. Online court records show he has two convictions for armed robbery.

Police said Shelton pulled a .50-caliber handgun and started firing at two county detectives who approached him as he sat in his car after meeting with a probation officer Tuesday afternoon. The detectives fired back, killing him.

It was the second fatal police-involved shooting in Baltimore in two days. Both involved convicted felons who fired guns in daylight near government buildings.


County gets tough on hiring of illegals

A new Frederick County regulation requires contractors to certify that they or their subcontractors did not knowingly employ illegal immigrants.

Under the new purchasing regulation approved Tuesday by county commissioners, the county could terminate the contracts of violators.

Frederick County Commissioner John L. Thompson Jr. said commissioners are also considering a further requirement that all contractors and vendors use the federal e-verify system to check the status of employees. The e-verify proposal is scheduled to be discussed in mid-February.



Death row inmate won’t get new trial

A federal appeals court has denied a Virginia death row inmate’s bid for a new trial.

Darrick Walker of Richmond was convicted of killing Stanley Beale in 1996 and Clarence Elwood Threat in 1997. Virginia law allows the death penalty for anyone who commits two premeditated murders within three years.

In a 2-1 decision Wednesday, a panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Walker’s claim that the prosecution failed to disclose evidence that would have negated the eyewitness testimony of Beale’s 13-year-old daughter. The court said the undisclosed material was not enough to undermine confidence in the guilty verdict.

Walker also is claiming in a separate appeal that he cannot be executed because he is mentally disabled. The 4th Circuit Court has not yet decided that issue.

Highway deaths decline in ‘09

Highway fatalities through November in Virginia are sharply down compared with last year.

According to the governor’s office, there were 98 fewer traffic deaths in Virginia as of Nov. 30 - a decline of 13 percent from 2008. The 821 traffic fatalities in Virginia in 2008 were the lowest since 1966.

Gov. Tim Kaine on Wednesday credited a number of factors to the decline, including coordinated efforts to reduce highway deaths and increased use of seat belts.

A survey in May found seat belt use in Virginia at 82 percent, the highest rate ever.


Council to strip Banneker contract

The D.C. Council has voted to take away a contract from a company owned by one of the mayor’s fraternity brothers.

The council voted Tuesday to strip Banneker Ventures of the $5.7 million contract to manage the construction of several parks and recreation centers. The company is owned by Omar Karim, a fraternity brother of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.

The council was upset the deal was sent through the D.C. Housing Authority and was never forwarded to the council for review.

The city’s Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization and Department of Parks and Recreation will manage the projects instead.

An attorney for Mr. Karim and his company’s subcontractor says his clients will consider their legal options.

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