MARYLAND

Drivers Die in Collisions

Three people, including a law enforcement officer, were killed yesterday in separate crashes in Montgomery County, officials said.

Police said Luis Romero, 50, of North Potomac, was traveling west on West Edmonston Drive at 2:21 a.m. and failed to stop at a flashing red light at Rockville Pike. His truck crashed into a southbound police car driven by Officer Alexander Weisto, 29. Romero was pronounced dead at Suburban Hospital. Weisto was treated for head and hand injuries and released.

Then, about 6:25 p.m., Oscar Amaya Benitez, 22, of Gaithersburg, was killed after the 1998 Dodge Neon he was driving south on Girard Street in Gaithersburg struck a curb and light pole. His passenger, Karla M. Gamero, 24, of Gaithersburg, suffered minor injuries, police said.

About 10 p.m., an officer with the Maryland National Capital Park Police was killed after the vehicle she was driving hit a tree near Burnt Hill Road in Clarksburg, police said. The officer's name was not released last night.

THE DISTRICT

Test Conducted on Head Injuries

Detectives are trying to learn more about the head injuries that left a toddler in critical condition while she and three other girls were with a babysitter, police said.

An ambulance took Layla Randolph, 3, to Children's Hospital when she stopped breathing about 9 p.m. Friday in an apartment in the 1300 block of U Street NW, said Sgt. Joe Gentile, a D.C. police spokesman. Minutes later, D.C. Child and Family Services took custody of the other children, ages 5, 13 and 15.

All four were being watched by a friend of the injured girl's mother who was not identified by police. Police are awaiting medical tests that will help determine how the girl's head was injured.

National Guard Milestone

The D.C. National Guard, the only one of 53 branches solely under federal command, is celebrating its 200th anniversary this weekend.

Retired and current D.C. Army and Air National Guard members attended events Friday and yesterday marking the anniversary.

Local and national dignitaries spoke of the local Guard's unique role as guardian of the nation's capital.

The brigade, then known as the D.C. Militia, was assembled in May 1802 after Congress passed legislation to create additional protection for the city.

Fenty Moves to Oust Few

D.C. Council member Adrian M. Fenty (D-Ward 4) has called for the firing of embattled Fire Chief Ronnie Few and is urging colleagues to join him.

"The situation and the chief himself is not salvageable," Fenty said yesterday. He said he will circulate a letter to council members tomorrow to try to enlist their backing in ousting Few. Only the mayor has the authority to fire him.

Fenty said he has heard complaints from emergency rescuers and firefighters about the way the department is run.

VIRGINIA

Body of D.C. Man Identified

The body of a man, apparently beaten to death, that was found in the Burke area of Fairfax County was identified yesterday as that of Amaraegbulam Ahaghotu of the District, police said yesterday.

Ahaghotu, 26, of the 700 block of Rittenhouse Street NW was last seen Monday, authorities said. His body was discovered Friday near Coffer Woods Road and Burke Centre Parkway, Fairfax County police said.

An autopsy determined that the death was caused by blunt force trauma to the upper body.

Ahaghotu's car was found yesterday in Southeast Washington.

"I can't say it is wrong that I went

to the FBI. I did it for my religion because we are against the killing.

I am very sure . . . that the truth

will come out and the FBI will

thank me."

-- Eyad Alrababah, who became acquainted in Northern Virginia with two of the Sept. 11 hijackers. -- Page A1

From reports by staff writers Mary Otto, Arthur Santana, Petula Dvorak and David Cho.