Boy, 11, Injured in Northwest Hit-and-Run

15-Year-Old Escapee From Youth Facility Charged in Accident

The 15-year-old wasn't supposed to be on the streets of the District at all.

But police say that the youth, who earlier had escaped from a youth facility, got a car and drove too fast on a residential street in Petworth. The vehicle hit 11-year-old Brenton Contee as he rollerbladed through the neighborhood, leaving him critically injured.

But several neighborhood residents knew the troubled teenager, and they wasted little time in letting police know who he was. One tipster was so outraged that he called police repeatedly to make sure they followed up. "Whenever there is a kid involved, people are more likely to help," a D.C. police official said.

The vigilance paid off. Within 48 hours, the youth--whose name was not released because of his age--was charged with assault with intent to kill while armed, among other offenses.

Brenton is recovering, but the young basketball fan couldn't shake the fear that he was going to die. His mother, Deborah Johnson, said she told her son that "he's a good guy. And good guys don't die like this."

Capitol Heights Suffers 'a Great Loss'

Stray Bullet From Alleged Drug Dispute Kills Mother of 5

Dona Elizabeth Ferguson had five children, and a dream of moving out of a Capitol Heights neighborhood where drug deals and fights keep many residents in the back of their homes, away from windows and as far from the threat of danger as possible.

Keith Arnez Boone, 22, had a gun and a recent arrest on charges of possessing cocaine with intent to distribute, police said. He was among four men arrested on murder charges after Ferguson was fatally shot as she adjusted the drapes in her living room with her 9-year-old son.

Ferguson was a stranger to Boone, the alleged triggerman, police said. His shot, which hit the 40-year-old woman in the chest after piercing the window, seemed to have been intended for a man the suspects had been chasing after an apparent drug deal.

Ferguson, who worked the overnight shift at a Giant Food supermarket and also took care of children at a school run by her church, would rush home between shifts to put her children to bed or get them ready for school, a friend said.

"She was always joyful, always giving," said Joseph Whittington, an elder at Freedom Church in Forestville, where Ferguson had worshiped for 16 years. "To lose somebody like that . . . that's just a great loss."

Luck of the Drawing

Arundel Family Wins $31 Million

George and Celia Poteet's teenage sons were worried about their parents. They'd been acting weird in recent weeks, talking to each other in hushed tones and unlisting their phone number.

But after the sons had taken their last school tests of the year--and not a second before--their parents let them in on a secret. And it was a doozy. They had won $31 million in the Big Game lottery.

"I was afraid they wouldn't be able to study for their exams if they knew," said George Poteet, 48, a computer analyst for the Department of Defense.

The Poteets, who live in Anne Arundel County, don't have big plans for their winnings, which were the largest ever in Maryland for the seven-state lottery.

"We have just about everything we want," said Celia Poteet, 41. But the couple will be keeping a close eye on their 13- and 15-year-old sons, a task that will be easier now that Celia has quit her job as an X-ray technician. "I think the kids need some supervision in the next few weeks."

Convenience at All Costs

Metro Changes Fare System

Starting today, riding on Metro--or, more precisely, paying to ride on Metro--gets a lot easier.

If you ride the bus, you'll be charged $1.10 for nearly all trips. And you don't have to shell out more cash for transferring between buses.

If you ride the rails, the rate will come down if you wait until 7:15 p.m. or so--evening peak fares now end at 7, instead of 8.

"What? You said [prices are] going down?" asked bus rider Charles Lawhorne, of Anacostia, who figured he stands to save about $1.30 a day on his commute to Silver Spring. It's true, Charles.

The changes are expected to save money for about 40 percent of Metro's passengers. The new fare system could hit Metro in the wallet to the tune of about $10 million a year, but General Manager Richard A. White said that should be offset by a steady growth in ridership.

Pr. George's Taps Schools Chief

Delaware Official to Succeed Clark

The woman tapped to be the next superintendent of Prince George's County schools is putting her money where her mouth is.

Iris T. Metts, who is currently Delaware's education secretary, will succeed Jerome Clark if she is affirmed by Maryland's state superintendent of schools. Saying, "I believe in accountability," she volunteered to link some of her future earnings to her success in improving instruction and raising test scores.

Metts, 56, knows classrooms inside and out. She started out as a teacher before graduating to principal. She has also been superintendent of a Delaware school district.

She has her work cut out for her: State leaders have threatened a takeover of 12 Prince George's schools and have appointed a panel to monitor reform efforts. The county also must hire 1,400 teachers by mid-August and build 13 schools in the next six years. But county school board members said Metts has the savvy and the strength to build coalitions among competing groups and, ultimately, to get the job done.

Across the Region

Va. Ruling; Baby Found

* Earlier this month, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that juveniles can't be prosecuted unless both of their parents are notified. Last week, that ruling saved the life of Douglas Christopher Thomas, 26, who was scheduled to die just five hours later for killing his girlfriend's parents when he was a teenager. And after the state's high court stayed the execution, defense lawyers said two other death row inmates might be entitled to new trials for the same reason.

* A Fairfax County teenager who left her newborn child in a bathroom at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Arlington told her pastor she didn't abandon the baby--she just put the girl there while she searched for him to tell him about the birth. The Rev. James R. Gould said the teenager came to him, with her mother, five days after the baby was found. Gould said the young woman, who was not identified, wants her baby. Arlington police are investigating, and the baby has been placed with foster parents.

* The District's youth curfew law hasn't been enforced for more than 2 1/2 years because of a court injunction. But that could change in the wake of a ruling by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that the 1995 law doesn't violate the rights of children or their parents. A period of legal maneuvering and logistical preparations remains before the curfew takes effect.

* New barns and new parking at Pimlico Race Course. Upgraded grandstands and new food courts at Pimlico and Laurel Park. It's all part of a $60 million plan to help Maryland's horse race tracks compete in an increasingly crowded entertainment field. The proposal still must be approved by state leaders, but Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) called it a "significant step forward."

* Prosecutors in Fairfax County will decide whether to file charges against a man who fatally shot a teenager and wounded a man at his daughter's high school graduation party. His lawyer said that Eddie Bennett, of Sterling, believed he had no choice but to shoot 16-year-old James H. Randall, of Reston, and an unidentified 21-year-old man after several party-crashers were asked to leave the party but later returned with guns.

* In a surprise move, the Clinton administration offered to throw in an extra $600 million to get a new Woodrow Wilson Bridge off the ground. That would boost the federal contribution to the controversial project to a hefty $1.5 billion. It's up to Maryland and Virginia to cover the rest, which will be at least $300 million. The Department of Transportation also appealed a federal judge's ruling that threatens to stall the project.

-- Erica Johnston

CAPTION: Deborah Johnson's son Brenton Contee remains in the hospital.

CAPTION: Eyewitness Lillie Durham, 65, stands near where Brenton Contee was hit.

CAPTION: Dona Ferguson, back right, worked at a Giant supermarket.