- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 7, 2009



10 killed in 562 July Fourth crashes

Virginia State Police responded to 562 highway crashes that left 10 people dead over the holiday weekend.

The 10 deaths for the Friday-to-Sunday reporting period match the same number of deaths in last year’s four-day July Fourth weekend.

In a news release issued Monday, state police said alcohol was a factor in four of the fatal crashes, and seven of the dead were not wearing seat belts. One death involved a bike rider.

In addition to the highway crashes, state police also cited 7,390 motorists for speeding and 2,140 for reckless driving. About 130 people suspected of driving drunk were also removed from the roads.


Fast-food executive dies in plane crash

Investigators at the wreckage of a Sunday plane crash that left at least two dead said Monday that four passengers were listed on the aircraft’s flight plan.

The family of former Checkers Drive-in Restaurants Chief Executive Daniel Dorsch said he and his wife, Cyndie, died in the single-engine plane crash in Rockbridge County.

Authorities said the pilot reported losing an exterior panel shortly before the aircraft hit the ground about 10:30 a.m. on a farm owned by Virginia Tech.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration hasn’t confirmed the victims’ identities, but said the Pilatus PC-12 originated at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and was going to Tampa Executive Airport in Florida.

Checkers also issued a statement Monday calling Mr. Dorsch a strong leader. Mr. Dorsch also owned several Papa John’s Pizza franchise stores and a motorsports dealership in the Tampa area.


Man killed opossum on police ride-along

Police charged a Vernon Hill man with animal cruelty for killing an opossum while on an approved ride-along with a Danville police officer.

Police said Evan Bryce Schuler, 22, was participating in the department’s ride-along program in June.

While stopped at a gas station, police said Mr. Schuler left the vehicle and ran toward an opossum. According to a news release, Mr. Schuler kicked the opossum several times, killing it.

When confronted by two officers, Mr. Schuler called his behavior “instinctive” because he lives on a farm and opossums routinely kill his chickens.

After an investigation, Mr. Schuler was arrested and charged with cruelty to animals. He was released on a summons to appear in Danville General District Court. A hearing is scheduled for Aug. 31.


Day care worker held in toddler’s death

The Richmond Police Department said it has arrested a day care worker in connection with the death of a 13-month-old child who was left unattended in a van for several hours.

Police said Monday that Keishawn L. Whitfield, 23, of Richmond, will be charged with felony child neglect and may face other charges.

Police said Miss Whitfield discovered the child after returning to a van outside the day care about 4:30 p.m.



U.S. attorney hires 3 gang prosecutors

Maryland’s U.S. attorney hired three prosecutors to focus on gang-related cases.

U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said Monday that using federal racketeering and conspiracy laws to prosecute gang members and leaders is reducing violent crime in Maryland.

Mr. Rosenstein said the volume of federal violent crime cases was growing and a record number of prosecutors were working on these cases. The new gang unit is funded for an initial two-year term as part of Maryland’s Comprehensive Anti-Gang Strategy.

Prosecutors Clinton Fuchs and Thiru Vignarajah, who will be based in Baltimore, and William Moomau, who will be based in Greenbelt, will work with federal, state and local officials.


2nd teenager dies after rail incident

A second teenage boy died a day after he and another teen were discovered lying on light-rail tracks near the Lutherville station.

The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) identified the victims Monday as Connor Peterson and Kyle Wankmiller, both 17.

Kyle, who was from Lutherville, died Sunday at a nearby hospital. Connor died Monday at a trauma center.

MTA officials still don’t know what happened to the teens. There was no obvious evidence that the boys had been hit by a train.

MTA spokeswoman Cheron Wicker said police are reviewing surveillance videos and audiotapes from several trains, as well as interviewing witnesses. Baltimore County police are assisting MTA police with the investigation.


Man, mom arrested after police chase

State police said a man and his mother were arrested after the man led police on a chase in Carroll County.

It began about 6:30 a.m. Monday in Westminster, where troopers had gone to apprehend Randy Brown Jr., 23, on outstanding warrants.

Troopers say Mr. Brown’s mother, Laura Mathis, also of Westminster, created a distraction and Mr. Brown fled in a car.

After leading police on a chase of about three square miles, Mr. Brown crashed into a tree. He was taken to a hospital.

Mr. Brown is charged with numerous offenses, including fleeing and eluding, assault and reckless endangerment. His mother is charged with obstruction and hindering and other offenses.


Mikulski seeks funds for jobs program

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski is seeking federal funds to help the state of Maryland and a private foundation continue an innovative program that puts low-income, mentally ill people to work.

The Maryland Democrat said Monday that she was seeking $725,000 in next year’s federal budget to cover 8 percent of the cost.

The state has committed about $6.5 million, and the Owings Mills-based Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation an additional $1.7 million.

The program is managed by the Baltimore-based Sheppard Pratt Health System. Operators say it has helped 500 people find jobs since September.

Proponents hope to continue the program for two more years to show that the therapeutic effects of employment can save taxpayers money.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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