VIRGINIA

3 N.J. Children Killed in Va. Crash

Three children from Atlantic City were killed and four other people were injured yesterday morning in Albemarle County outside Charlottesville after the minivan in which they were riding spun out of control, police said.

The driver of the vehicle, Abdul Salaam, also of Atlantic City, was charged with reckless driving, driving without a valid license and three counts of involuntary manslaughter in the one-vehicle accident on westbound Interstate 64, said Virginia State Police Sgt. J.L. Baker.

A 6-year-old boy, a 5-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl, all of the same Atlantic City address, were killed in the crash, Baker said. None was wearing a seat belt, he said. Four other passengers in the vehicle were transported to the University of Virginia Medical Center, an administrator there said.

A 2-year-old boy and a 44-year-old man were reported in good condition, a 7-year-old girl was listed in serious condition and another child whose age was not known was treated and released, a hospital spokesman said. Officials did not release the names of the victims.

The crash occurred at 10:04 a.m. after Salaam lost control of the vehicle and hit the median on the left side of the road, then spun right and hit the guardrail, police said.

Plan for Low-Income Residents to Expire

About 400 low-income Virginians could be paying substantially higher rent after a state program expires Dec. 31.

Since 1991, the state has given a tax credit of as much as $10,000 to landlords who discount rent for low-income elderly, disabled or recently homeless people. The program runs out at the end of this year.

Contract Killer Awaits Execution

A man who killed a Chesapeake woman for $4,000 in a 1993 murder-for-hire will be executed tomorrow unless the U.S. Supreme Court or Gov. James S. Gilmore III (R) intervenes.

An attorney for Marlon DeWayne Williams argues that the killer deserves mercy because of childhood abuse.

Williams, 26, shot Helen Bedsole on Nov. 9, 1993, as she stood in her kitchen. Bedsole's husband, Clark C. Bedsole, had hired Williams to kill her. The couple was divorcing after 25 years of marriage.

Williams pleaded guilty to capital murder, and a judge sentenced him to death. A jury sentenced Clark Bedsole, 50, to life plus three years.

Williams would be the 10th person put to death in Virginia this year and the 69th since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed executions to resume in 1976.

Two Men Killed in Head-On Collision

Two men were killed in a head-on crash on the Eastern Shore yesterday.

State police said a car driven by William Clark, 20, of Chincoteague, crossed the double yellow line on Chincoteague Road and struck a car driven by Jeffrey Patton, 37, of Lancaster, Pa., killing both motorists.

MARYLAND

Spill Snarls Traffic on Beltway

A tractor-trailer loaded with beer lost control on the Capital Beltway's Inner Loop near Wisconsin Avenue last night, snarling traffic for a few hours as workers retrieved spilled cargo and tried to pull the vehicle out of the woods, officials said.

The accident occurred shortly after 7 p.m., when, Maryland State Police investigators said, the vehicle's load shifted and the driver was unable to negotiate a turn. The vehicle smashed through a guardrail and into a wooded area, where it hit a tree, officials said.

Two of the Beltway's three lanes were closed while crews collected boxes filled with cans of Miller Lite beer. Firefighters also were called to drain diesel fuel from the truck's saddle tanks.

The accident remained under investigation last night, but state police said speed appeared to be a contributing factor.

Lawmaker Aims to End Oyster Deal

A Maryland lawmaker wants two state agencies to end an agreement that ties money for Chesapeake Bay oyster replenishment to the controversial dumping of dredge spoil.

Del. Richard D'Amato (D-Anne Arundel) is seeking new funding for oyster recovery programs, hoping to replace the millions of dollars that will be lost if the Department of Transportation reduces its contribution.

The department agreed in 1996 to contribute $1 to oyster restoration for every cubic yard of dredge material placed in open water over six years. The agency planned to dump some of the material in the bay near Poole's Island and 18 million cubic yards into a four-mile-long trench off Kent Island known as Site 104.

The Department of Transportation has given the Department of Natural Resources about $5 million--between 55 percent and 70 percent of the funding for the oyster program. The Site 104 dumping could produce an additional $18 million for the oyster program.

But the Site 104 money is in question because of environmental concerns.

School System Aims to Fill Openings

Prince George's County public schools are soliciting non-African American applicants for three of its countywide magnet school programs.

The openings are at Fairmont Heights High School for the biotechnology program, Andrew Jackson Middle School and Central High School for the humanities and international studies program and G. Gardner Shugart Middle School for the science, math and technology program.

Under the settlement of a 25-year-old desegregation lawsuit against the school system, the school system agreed to continue to work to maintain racial diversity in schools through its magnet programs.

For more information, call 301-952-6005.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"I guess we're probably just out of commission. This is not the greatest hardship of manking."

--David Stempler, 51, a pool owner in Potomac, on drought-related restrictions against topping off swimming pools.