Train Spills Fuel in Montgomery County

A CSX freight train hit a small boulder on the tracks in northwestern Montgomery County early yesterday morning, puncturing the locomotive's fuel tank and spilling up to 500 gallons of diesel fuel onto the tracks, authorities said.

State and county environmental officials did not believe the fuel caused any damage to Little Seneca Lake, a few hundred yards away in Boyds, said Capt. Jim Resnick, a spokesman for the Montgomery County Department of Fire and Rescue Services.

Montgomery police and CSX officials are investigating whether someone placed the boulder on the tracks as a prank or act of vandalism, Resnick said. The train's 51-year-old engineer was taken to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital after complaining of a headache and nausea, apparently from inhaling diesel fumes. He was expected to be released yesterday.

The Philadelphia-bound train did not derail but suffered front-end damage after hitting the boulder about 1 a.m. near the Boyds commuter rail station at Barnesville and Clarksburg roads, Resnick said.

Calif. Man, Daughter Survive Beltway Crash

A California man and his daughter escaped with minor injuries yesterday after the man fell asleep on the Capital Beltway in Prince George's County and their car crossed four lanes of traffic, flipped over the guardrail and plunged through the wooden sound-barrier wall, authorities said.

William Glenn England, 73, and Pamela Katheryn Graham, 47, were hauling a U-Haul trailer attached to their Cadillac on the inner loop just north of Route 450 about 9:25 a.m. when England fell asleep at the wheel, Maryland State Police Trooper D.D. Thomas said. No other cars were hit as England's Cadillac drifted across four lanes of traffic, but the accident caused a two-hour traffic backup on the Beltway's southbound lanes from Route 1 to Route 450, Thomas said.

The two had been driving yesterday from Massachusetts and were moving from Thousand Oaks, Calif., to Shirlington, Thomas said. England was cited for negligent driving because he did not pull over to rest when he felt tired, Thomas said.


Smoke Damages Wisconsin Avenue Store

D.C. investigators are trying to determine the cause of a fire that led to heavy smoke damage inside the G.C. Murphy Co. store at Wisconsin Avenue and Newark Street NW yesterday afternoon.

Firefighters spent more than an hour fighting three small fires inside the building, Fire Department spokesman Kenneth Mallory said. Although the fire did not cause any structural damage, smoke damaged an unestimated amount of clothing, a company spokesperson said.

The G.C. Murphy store, a landmark on the District's Northwest side, is the city's only branch of the York, Pa.-based chain. The company also has stores in Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland.

School Board to Hold Emergency Meeting

The divided D.C. school board will hold an emergency meeting at 10 a.m. tomorrow to discuss several motions related to the board's ouster of Wilma R. Harvey (Ward 1) as president on July 22.

The current president, Dwight E. Singleton (Ward 4), called the emergency meeting. The board will vote on three motions: to create an investigative panel to establish grounds to remove Harvey; to present grounds for Harvey's removal to the offices of various city officials; and to rescind the original removal.

The elected board is scheduled to regain power to oversee the school system next June. Last week, D.C. Council member Kevin P. Chavous (D-Ward 7) and six members of the board announced details of a compromise they said could end the feuding that erupted last month when the panel voted 6 to 5 to remove Harvey.

Singleton could not be reached for comment yesterday.


Two Teens Critically Injured in Fairfax Crash

Police are considering whether to file criminal charges against a 17-year-old Fairfax County driver for a high-speed accident that sent him and a passenger to the hospital with serious injuries, officials said yesterday.

The Springfield youth, who was not identified by police because of his age, was traveling south on Rolling Road near Greeley Boulevard about 2 a.m. Saturday. After drifting into oncoming lanes, the driver lost control when he tried to steer back into his lane, and the car slammed into a telephone pole, police said.

Passenger Khalid Baig, 19, of Burke, was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital with a broken neck. The driver was hospitalized with serious head injuries. Both were listed in critical condition yesterday afternoon, officials said.

Alcohol was not a factor in the crash, police said.

Two Killed in Shooting at Winchester Motel

Two men were killed and a female bystander was injured in a shooting at a Winchester motel yesterday morning that sent guests diving for cover in the swimming pool, according to police and witnesses. Gunfire rang out about 8:22 a.m. in the parking lot of the Lee-Jackson Best Western motel, authorities said, as about 15 people were starting their day at the swimming pool.

"The parents yelled at the children to dive in, and they all went under water," Winchester Police Chief Gary Reynolds said. "There was a tremendous amount of panic . . . complete pandemonium."

Police declined to release the names of the slain men, one from Frederick County and the other from Virginia Beach, until they could confirm their identities with relatives. The name of the wounded woman, a motel employee who was in surgery for much of the day, also was not released. All three victims suffered gunshot wounds to the chest, authorities said. Reynolds said one of the dead men was slumped over in a truck and the second lay dead on the ground next to a .45-caliber revolver.

Crash Kills Driver After Shooting

A shooting last night on Interstate 64 in New Kent County led to a crash that left a driver dead and two other people injured, Virginia state police said.

Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said the driver of a westbound Nissan lost control after the car was hit by shots fired near the Bottoms Bridge exit from a small car also traveling west in the next lane. The Nissan ran into a ditch, killing the driver.

Two passengers in the Nissan were injured, Geller said. They were taken to the Medical College of Virginia Hospitals in Richmond, where their conditions were undetermined. Police were searching for the other car.


"I've prayed for rain, and it looks like He's trying. But not hard enough."

-- Cynthia Miller at Hains Point, speaking of an approaching--and all too brief--thunderstorm.