MARYLAND

Waldorf Man Killed When Pickup Hits Tree

A Charles County man died in an early-morning traffic accident yesterday in Waldorf, Maryland State Police said. Police said Gary Mank, 38, of Waldorf, was killed when his Dodge pickup truck left the road and struck a tree.

The accident occurred at 1:45 a.m. on Bensville Road near Eutaw Forest Drive. Police said Mank was pronounced dead at Civista Hospital near La Plata. Alcohol may have been a factor in the accident, a police spokesman said.

Vehicle Sought After Fatal I-70 Crash

Maryland State Police were searching for a pickup truck that was seen leaving the scene of an accident yesterday near Mount Airy that left a Baltimore man dead.

Police said Brian Harris, 43, apparently swerved to avoid a ladder in the westbound lane of Interstate 70. Harris, who was not wearing a seat belt, was killed when he was thrown from his car when it overturned in the median, police said.

Witnesses told police that a truck with ladder racks had been parked on the shoulder of the road and left after the accident.

3 Accused of Firing Paint Balls at Cars

Maryland State Police say three 12-year-olds have been arrested for shooting paint balls at motorists in Montgomery County.

Police say they received several complaints from people who were splattered while driving on the ramp from westbound Interstate 370 to northbound Interstate 270 on Friday evening.

When police investigated, they say, the youngsters fired paint balls at them and their vehicles, denting several police cars. Three suspects were arrested after a search of the Deer Park Place neighborhood. They have been charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault and destruction of property.

All three juveniles were released to the custody of their parents.

VIRGINIA

Man Pinned Under Truck Dies

A Caroline County man was killed Thursday when the truck he was working on fell on him.

John Robert Cunningham, 57, was dead when rescue workers arrived, Sheriff Homer Johnson said. Johnson said the hydraulic jack holding up the 1951 Chevy pickup lost pressure, and the truck fell on Cunningham's chest. Cunningham, owner of the Houndstooth Inn in Hanover County, was working on restoring the pickup. His body was discovered when his wife came out to call him for dinner.

THE DISTRICT

Man Drowns in Washington Channel

A man drowned last night while swimming in the Washington Channel, where witnesses said he appeared to be struggling in the water, police said.

The man, whose identity was unavailable but who police said was in his late teens or early twenties, was pulled from the water near the Francis Case Memorial Bridge in Southwest Washington about 8:15 p.m. after more than an hour of searching, U.S. Park Police said. He was pronounced dead at George Washington University Hospital.

Two women saw the man swimming away from the seawall at the 900 block of Ohio Drive toward a sailboat when he disappeared under the surface about 7 p.m., said Officer Tony Robinson of the D.C. Police Underwater Search and Recovery Team. The man appeared to be swimming alone, police said.

Police said last night that they did not know why the man was in the channel. Homicide detectives are investigating the death.

2 Cameras Yield 2,100 Red-Light Tickets

Two cameras installed above busy intersections in the District detected 2,100 red-light-running violations in the first month of operation, according to D.C. police.

The cameras--at 14th and U streets NW and Fourth Street and New York Avenue NW--were installed June 30. Police began issuing citations Aug. 1 and mailed 2,100 of them in the program's first four weeks, authorities said. Each violation carries a $75 fine and two points on a driver's license.

Three additional cameras--at North Capitol and H streets, East Capitol Street and Benning Road SE and East Capitol Street and Texas Avenue SE--became operational last week, police said. Four more cameras are to be installed in the next two weeks at Pennsylvania and Minnesota avenues SE and along Bladensburg Road NE. Officials hope to set up 40 cameras by the end of the year.

Hearst Elementary Parents Seek Charter

A group of parents with children in Hearst Elementary School has applied for charter status, which, if granted, would convert Hearst into the first charter school in Northwest Washington's Ward 3.

The application was made after a year of turmoil at the school, where parents clashed with the principal and Superintendent Arlene Ackerman. The principal, Shirley Hopkinson, was granted a transfer, and six of the school's nine teachers left. A new principal, Betty Shamwell, has been generally well received by parents.

"Things, I would say, are relatively stable," said Andrea Carlson, a Hearst parent. But parents still have "concerns about the direction of the school system. We have other concerns about true local school management and about our ability to attract and retain quality staff."

The District has 29 charter schools. This is the second effort by parents to turn a public school into a charter school. Some Paul Junior High School parents have been trying for more than a year to win charter status, but their first attempt failed because they did not collect enough signatures.

Curfew Detentions Rise to 8

Police picked up a 16-year-old girl and her 4-year-old brother at 3 a.m. yesterday, bringing to eight the number of youths detained under the District's new curfew law, police said.

The girl was baby-sitting for her brother and was detained by police near Roosevelt High School in Northwest Washington's Petworth community, according to Executive Assistant Chief Terrance W. Gainer. He said the children were taken to 4th District headquarters, where their parents, both of whom were working, soon arrived to claim them.

The city curfew, which is in its first weekend, prohibits children 16 and younger from being on the streets without a parent or guardian between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and after midnight Friday and Saturday. Exceptions are made for emergencies, travel to and from work, errands requested by parents and attendance at school functions.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"When I think about what sells here, I always think of the obvious{mdash}history books, political science, books about the media. It's mostly people reading about themselves."

--Mary Ann Brownlow, community relations coordinator for Borders Books in Northwest, on the book-buying habits of Washingtonians.