THE REGION

Metro Calls July 4 Service a Success

Metrorail officials said yesterday that Metro carried more than 440,000 passengers on Sunday, down about 16,000 from last year's Fourth of July festivities. Officials said the dip was due to the heat.

Metro officials also said that their experiment in rerouting some trains went well.

Although some riders said they were confused by the new routes, extra personnel in stations helped guide riders in the right direction, said Metro spokeswoman Cheryl Johnson.

One reason for the service changes was to ease crowding at the Smithsonian station, which normally fills up after the fireworks.

MARYLAND

Chemical Leak Closes I-95 in Pr. George's

Northbound lanes of Interstate 95 in Prince George's County were closed for more than two hours last night, creating a traffic jam more than three miles long, after a chemical believed to be chlorine leaked from a tanker, Maryland State Police said.

The lanes were closed about 9:30 p.m. as hazardous-materials crews from the Prince George's Fire Department cleaned up the spill south of Old Gunpowder Road. Traffic was detoured at Powder Mill Road before two northbound lanes were opened about midnight. About an hour later, all the lanes were reopened.

Investigators had not determined last night what caused the truck to start leaking, but they said the vehicle had not been involved in an accident.

Wrong Form Lets Drunk Drivers Off Hook

County prosecutors in Anne Arundel say they're losing drunken driving cases because of an error in a consent form people sign before blowing into a Breathalyzer.

Maryland state reports show that in April and May more than 1,000 people statewide won their licenses back from the Motor Vehicle Administration after their cases were thrown out because of the faulty form.

State officials say they have fixed the form, which had not been updated to reflect changes in the law.

Under Maryland law, judges may require drivers who flunk a Breathalyzer test to have a device attached to their car ignitions that blocks the starter if the driver isn't sober. The device includes an onboard Breathalyzer test that must be taken before the ignition key will work.

The faulty form allowed drunk drivers to claim that they weren't properly advised of the law.

THE DISTRICT

Apparent Overdose Caused Death

A 19-year-old Mount Rainier man died Sunday morning after he swallowed an unknown white substance while in the custody of D.C. police, Sgt. Joe Gentile, a police spokesman, said.

The man, identified by police as Anselem Hare, was being held in the 5th District cellblock in Northeast Washington after being stopped for allegedly speeding at 3:45 a.m. Saturday in the 1400 block of Downing Street NE. Hare was taken into custody after an officer determined he did not have a driver's license.

Hare was in the cellblock for processing when an officer saw him "chewing some type of substance," Gentile said.

He was taken to D.C. General Hospital suffering a convulsion and symptoms that doctors described as consistent with a cocaine overdose.

Hare, of the 4000 block of 37th Street, was pronounced dead at 5:10 a.m. Sunday, Gentile said. A toxicology report is pending from the D.C. medical examiner's office.

VIRGINIA

Former Commonwealth's Attorney Jailed

A former Richmond commonwealth's attorney was jailed over the weekend after he allegedly got into an argument and attacked a building contractor.

Joseph Morrissey, who was the commonwealth's attorney for the city in the early 1990s, was already scheduled to report to jail later this month on a contempt of court citation, and he was free on bond. He was jailed Saturday after the attack and held without bond on charges that he had violated the conditions of his earlier bond.

Police said the argument erupted Saturday morning over some repairs that contractor Gary Wycoff was doing for an associate of Morrissey's. Wycoff's head was slammed through a storm door, and his nose broken, police said. He was treated at a local hospital and released, police said.

Morrissey is to appear for a court hearing on the charges today.

Duke's Support of Lee Unwelcome

A Confederate heritage group seeking the restoration of Robert E. Lee's portrait to a Richmond tourist attraction is getting some unwanted support from former Ku Klux Klan imperial wizard David Duke.

A Duke spokesman says the Louisiana politician plans to visit Richmond on July 15 to weigh in on the Lee controversy. Leaders of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, though, say Duke should stay away.

Brag Bowling, of Richmond, a Sons of Confederate Veterans brigade commander, said Duke is not welcome.

"David Duke is going to do nothing but make the situation worse," he said. "The last thing Richmond needs is racial strife."

The portrait of Lee was removed from a local history exhibit at Richmond's Canal Walk just before the project's June 4 grand opening. Sa'ad El-Amin, a member of the City Council who is black, said the portrait was offensive to many blacks and threatened to organize a boycott of the riverfront development.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans and others, some holding Confederate flags or wearing Stars and Bars lapel stickers, protested the removal of the portrait.

A committee of city leaders has since recommended that a different Lee portrait illustrating the Confederate hero's ties to Richmond be added to the floodwall gallery.

Bowling said he fears Duke's involvement will switch the focus back to race and undermine the proposed compromise.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Before air conditioning, people were much more tied to their everyday activities and routines by the weather. Now we can make nature conform to our desires. It seems to be, for better or worse, a characteristically American thing to do."

-- Donald Albrecht, co-curator of an exhibit on the history of air conditioning at the National Building Museum in Washington.