Local digest: A roundup of D.C.-area news briefs

THE DISTRICT
Charges dismissed
against tow driver

D.C. prosecutors this week dismissed charges against a D.C. tow-truck operator who allegedly hopped into his rig and fatally struck a man who pistol-whipped and robbed him in December.

Prosecutors had charged Corey D. Stoddard, 35, with second-degree murder in the Dec. 31 death of Kevin Lewis Crouch, 22, of Southeast Washington. But a judge reduced the charge to voluntary manslaughter.

That the charges had been dismissed was first reported by WTTG-TV (Channel 5).

— Keith L. Alexander

VIRGINIA
Woman groped
on way to campus

Alexandria police said they are looking for a man accused of groping a young woman who was walking to Northern Virginia Community College on Monday afternoon.

The victim, a 19-year-old woman, told police that she was in the 5000 block of Dawes Avenue about 2 p.m. when a man approached her from behind, grabbed her groin and fled, police said.

The suspect was described as in his 20s, about 5 feet 4 inches tall, thin, dark-skinned and with a beard and mustache. He wore brown clothing and a black baseball cap, police said.

— Julie Zauzmer

MARYLAND
Police: 2 report being held captive at hotel

Montgomery County police said that two men reported being held captive by four armed abductors at a Marriott hotel in Silver Spring on Thursday morning.

Police Capt. Paul Starks said one victim was a guest at the hotel, on Prosperity Drive. The victim told police that he had won money gambling at the Maryland Live casino in Anne Arundel County on Wednesday night. About 6:30 a.m., he heard a knock and opened his door, and several people rushed in and demanded cash, police said.

According to police, the victim said his captors wanted more money than he had and told him to call a friend; he called a friend who arrived at the hotel room. Starks said that one of the captors allegedly stayed with the first victim in his hotel room while the other three — two men and a woman — drove to a bank branch with the second victim.

An attempt to obtain money from the bank failed after the victim, accompanied by one captor, handed a teller a withdrawal slip on which he had written that he needed help and that the teller should call police. After the captors at the bank drove away, they probably called their accomplice at the hotel and told him to flee, police said.

— Julie Zauzmer

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