Local news digest for D.C. area

July 31, 2013
THE DISTRICT
New strategy for
pedestrian safety

It is a small but subtle change at selected intersections in the District — a change in the timing of crosswalks that traffic safety officials hope will reduce pedestrian injuries.

It’s known as LPI, or leading pedestrian interval. Traffic signals are changed to give pedestrians a three- to 10-second head start before cars begin moving. Other major cities, including Chicago and New York, are using the strategy.

If you drive along the 15th Street NW corridor or near the U Street/Cardozo Metro, you might have noticed a slight change. Monica Hernandez, a spokeswoman for the District Department of Transportation, said anecdotal evidence suggests that the crosswalk strategy is helping.

A 2004 study by the Institute of Transportation Engineers found that the delay helped reduce pedestrian incidents at intersections by 5 percent. Officials at DDOT said at least three years of data will be needed to measure the effectiveness of such changes.

— Lori Aratani

Man dies after
single-car crash

A 49-year-old man who was severely injured in a single-car crash Tuesday in Northeast Washington has died, D.C. police said.

Mark A. Wise of Northeast was pronounced dead at a hospital, authorities said.

Police said he was driving a 1991 Cadillac Deville east on Blaine Street NE about 7:20 a.m. when the car hit a curb at Benning Road and then struck a chain-link fence. Police said the Cadillac ended up on top of three parked cars in the 4300 block of Benning Road.

Authorities said the accident is under investigation.

— Peter Hermann

MARYLAND
Inmate is among 18 indicted in gang case

A federal grand jury indicted 18 alleged gang members on racketeering charges, including a detainee at a state-managed detention center in Baltimore, a development that could draw more scrutiny to the beleaguered state correctional system.

Federal officials say Bloods members, most of them operating from Howard County, broke into houses, stole money and other items, and sold drugs. Eighteen alleged Bloods were charged with racketeering, and three people not identified as gang members were charged with selling drugs.

The federal investigation began in 2012 after the federal indictment of Michael Dominique Johnson, 20, of Columbia, who authorities say robbed a confidential informant a few months earlier. Investigators began monitoring Johnson’s communications from jail.

Authorities allege that Johnson called other gang members more than 50 times from the Chesapeake Detention Center to discuss drug trafficking and other gang business. The indictment follows allegations of gang activity at the Baltimore City Detention Center.

— Carrie Wells, Baltimore Sun

O’Malley PAC raises
almost $500,000

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley on Wednesday reported raising nearly $500,000 for his political action committee since the start of the year, a period during which he was more focused on fundraising for other Democratic candidates, aides said.

O’Malley (D), who is term-limited in Maryland, has used his O’ Say Can You See PAC as a vehicle to build national exposure and pay for a small cadre of political advisers as he weighs a 2016 presidential bid.

O’Malley is also serving this year as finance chairman for the Democratic Governors Association, a group he formerly led. In his current capacity, he made several trips around the country in the past six months, helping the DGA raise a reported $15 million.

— John Wagner

VIRGINIA
Suspects sought
in Springfield attack

Fairfax County police said Wednesday that they are trying to identify the people who beat a man in an attack caught on video in Springfield.

Police received a report after 10 p.m. Monday of disorderly conduct in the 5200 block of Inverchapel Road.

The 30-second, black-and-white video, recorded by a neighbor’s home-surveillance camera and posted on YouTube, shows several young men shoving, kicking and punching another young man.

Some attackers appear to have drinks in their hands. Onlookers recorded video on electronic devices. After the attack, many ran from the scene.

— Dana Hedgpeth

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