- The Washington Times - Monday, November 30, 2009


2 cars in 2 days in Anacostia River

A car has ended up in the Anacostia River for the second time in two days.

The latest incident occurred just before 1 a.m. Sunday on Half Street Southwest.

Fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said two people were in a small car when it ended up in the water. One person was able to get out, and rescuers safely pulled out the second one.

Mr. Piringer said two people were taken to a hospital with serious, but not life-threatening, injuries in connection with the accident.

A police diver conducted a secondary search but found no one else in the river.

On Saturday, a CSX freight train pushed a car parked on the tracks into the river. In that incident, the one person inside the car got out before emergency personnel arrived.

Museum to benefit from collections’ sale

Investor William H. Gross has sold two of his major stamp collections to benefit the Smithsonian Institution’s National Postal Museum, which plans to build a new street-level gallery.

The stamps from Confederate postmasters in the Civil War and from British North America postal history sold last week for $3.2 million at auction in New York City. The proceeds help fulfill an $8 million donation to the museum that Mr. Gross announced in September.

He also has given the museum some of the rarest known stamps from his personal collection.

Mr. Gross is the founder of Pacific Investment Management Co., based in Newport Beach, Calif.

The museum’s expansion from a basement space near Washington’s Union Station is scheduled to open in late 2012. A gallery will be named in Mr. Gross’ honor.



DWI suspected in fatal crash

Police said an Ellicott City man was drunk when he crashed a car, killing one of his 17-year-old passengers and putting another in critical condition.

Howard County police say the driver, David Dixon Erdman, 22, was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. They plan to charge him with homicide by motor vehicle while intoxicated and other counts.

Steven Joseph Dankos, a star football player at River Hill High School, was killed when Mr. Erdman’s GMC pickup left the road early Sunday, struck three stone pillars and flipped over.

The driver’s brother, Thomas Erdman, 17, is in critical condition.


Road work begins at busy intersection

Crews are scheduled to begin work in early December at a busy intersection in Montgomery County.

The Maryland State Highway Administration plans to start the nearly $1 million project at Veirs Mill Road and Route 28 in Rockville, WTOP-FM reported. The agency said the work will improve traffic flow in the intersection, which carries more than 31,000 cars daily.

The project will extend and add new turn lanes, resurface existing pavement and upgrade sidewalks and traffic signals.

Roads in the area will be affected during construction. Some lanes on Route 28 and Veirs Mill Road will be closed at specific hours during the week when the work begins.



3 workers hurt in train accident

Officials said a Metrorail subway train crashed into the back of another at a rail yard Sunday, injuring three workers.

The Metro transit agency said injuries were minor and not life-threatening. No passengers were on board when the crash occurred about 4:30 a.m. Sunday.

Metro said a six-car train was returning to the West Falls Church Rail Yard in Northern Virginia when it rear-ended a parked six-car train. Two workers were cleaning the parked train to get it ready for service.

Metro officials were investigating the accident.

The crash was the latest accident involving the Washington area’s rail system. A June crash killed eight passengers and the train operator. A track repairman was killed in August when he was hit by a gravel spreader. Another worker was killed when he was hit by a train in September.


Dentist pleads guilty to drug distribution

A Tazewell County dentist faces up to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to illegally distributing painkillers.

Peter M. Francisco, 57, could also face fines of up to $750,000 during his sentencing, which is set for Feb. 23.

Francisco pleaded guilty last week in U.S. District Court in Abingdon to three counts of illegal distribution of hydrocodone.

U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said in a news release that Francisco wrote illegal prescriptions for more than 10,000 pills from 2000 to 2009.

Mr. Heaphy said the prescriptions were issued to three people who filled them and then returned the pills to Francisco for his own use.

Francisco has agreed to surrender his privileges to prescribe controlled substances.


8 workers injured in school explosion

Eight workers replacing the roof at a Crittenden Middle School in Newport News have been injured in a work-related explosion.

Police spokesman Lou Thurston said five workers were being treated at trauma centers after Sunday morning’s blast at the school. Three were being treated in emergency rooms.

All were employed by T.R. Driscoll Inc. of Lumberton, N.C., though their identities have not been confirmed.

Police said the blast sparked a fire and caused a 20-by-50-foot wall to collapse in the school’s shop area.

Though damage appeared to be contained to the one room, it was not immediately clear whether classes would resume Monday.

The Newport News Fire Marshal’s Office, city police and the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry were investigating.


Loans available for storm loss

Low-interest disaster loans are being made available for Virginia residents and businesses that suffered losses during the mid-November nor’easter - remnants of Hurricane Ida.

The Small Business Administration loans apply to the cities of Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Virginia Beach and a number of other Hampton Roads localities.

According to the SBA, loans of up to $200,000 are available for home repairs and loans of up to $40,000 can cover personal property losses.

Loans of up to $2 million are available to businesses and nonprofits.

Centers will open in various localities early in December to accept applications.

In the Hampton Roads area, the storm brought tidal flooding, which delivered corrosive salty water to streets and parking lots.

The State Farm insurance firm has logged about 1,000 storm-related claims so far, with salt damage being the prime culprit.

One tow-truck operator said half the stalled cars that he hauled from floodwaters had to be junked.

From combined dispatches and staff reports

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