A succession of fires, shootings and fatal car crashes punctuated the long night of New Year's celebrations in the Washington area suburbs, leaving five people dead and two critically injured. The city itself was quiet.
In one early-morning accident, a mother and her 6-year-old daughter were killed yesterday when the car in which they were riding slammed into a bridge abutment as they were driving west on Rte. 50 in Cheverly, Maryland State Police reported.
Mary Frances Austin, 26, of 2552 Stanton Rd. SE and her daughter, Renee Marie Brown, were pronounced dead at Prince George's County General Hospital, and Mrs. Austin's husband, David Albert Austin, 31, was reported incritical condition in that hospital's intensive care unit yesterday.
At almost exactly the same time as the Austin's 4:30 a.m. crash, a car driven by 27-year-old Joseph Dodge Libbey III, traveling at high speed, missed a curve, crossed the center line and hit a telephone pole on Cherry Hill Road in Silver Spring, Montgomery County police reported.
Libbey of 12815 Two Farms Drive, had been celebrating the New Year with his passengers in the car, William George Rhodes, 24, of Renick La. in Silver Spring and Thomas Curtin, 24, of Maple Street, Silver Spring. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Curtin was admitted to Holy Cross Hospital in fair condition yesterday with lacerations and bruises. Rhodes was treated at the hospital and released. Police reported that "alcohol was a contributing factor," in the accident.
Throughout the night in Prince George's County, nearly 80 fire alarms were received, often sending engines wailing out of the firehouses - the vast majority in answer to small incidents.
However, at 1:11 a.m. a two-alarm blaze broke out at 1135 Southview Drive in Oxon Hill - an apartment complex that had been vacated since a three-alarm fire erupted Thursday afternoon.
As a ladder truck sped to the scene, a 16-year-old volunteer fireman who was riding on the side of the truck fell off, suffering severe head injuries. Jeffery Maddox of Oxon Hill was admitted to Greater Southeast Community Hospital in critical condition, fire Capt. William Beardmore reported.
The fire, which Beardmore said was apparently set, caused $35,000 worth of damage to two apartments in the building, which had suffered $250,000 loss in the earlier blaze. Thursday's fire had apparently been caused by a short-circuit in some Christmas tree lights which had been left burning all night.
In Fairfax County early yesterday, a domestic quarrel between James E. Lawrence, 45, and his 46-year-old wife, Shirley Mae, ended when Lawrence was fatally shot in the stomach with a 38 caliber pistol, Fairfax County police reported.
Police arrested Mrs. Lawrence shortly after the 8:45 p.m. incident at the Lawrence home at 3742 Camelot Drive. She was charged with homicide after her husband died at 11 a.m.
Earlier, in Alexandria, a 19-year-old youth held a 17-year-old at shotgun point for about three hours before surrendering to an Alexandria police investigator, Alexandria police said.
Charles K. Lingelback, 19, first had smashed his first through a window pane earlier in the evening, then, at about 11 p.m. pointed a shotgun at 17-year-old Darrel L. Breeding and refused to let him leave the Breeding home at 113 Hume Ave., police said.
At some point during the incident, Alexandria police reported, a shotgun blast was fired, but no one was injured. Lingelback was first treated for his hand injuries, then taken to Alexandria jail, where he is being held without bond on charges of abduction, police said.
At mid-afternoon yesterday, a Montgomery County man, 54-year-old Wilbur Fisk Nash, III. of 2110 Georgia Ave. in Brookville, died after shooting himself in the stomach with a shotgun, Montgomery County police said.
Police, who said Nash's body was found in the receation room of his home, said Nash had been depressed because of a recent illness.