THE REGION

Amtrak Intercepts Two D.C.-Bound Trains

Amtrak police stopped and searched two Washington-bound trains last night and delayed several other routes in the Mid-atlantic region, a company spokesman said.

Police officials called Amtrak dispatchers to halt trains 2171 and 2175, both Acela Express trains from New York, so that officers and dogs could search the trains, said Marc Magliari, Amtrak spokesman. One train was north of Philadelphia when stopped; the other was near Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Both trains were delayed for more than 40 minutes but subsequently finished their routes.

Magliari declined to say what prompted the searches and did not disclose further details about the investigation.

THE DISTRICT

Bill Covers Tuition for National Guardsmen

D.C. Army and Air National Guard members would each be eligible for as much as $2,500 in federal tuition assistance a year as part of a bill passed yesterday by the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill authorizes $422 billion in defense expenditures.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and Rep. Dave Hobson (R-Ohio) introduced the amendment to the spending bill, Norton said. Residents of the District, Maryland, Virginia and other states who serve in the D.C. Guard could apply for the tuition assistance.

Norton noted that similar tuition programs are financed by states for their National Guard units. Although governors have authority over the units in the states, Norton said, the president has authority over the D.C. National Guard.

MARYLAND

More Montgomery Schools Detect Lead

High levels of lead were found in the drinking water of nine more Montgomery County schools, school officials announced yesterday.

Elevated lead levels have been found in some samples taken at all 21 schools tested since March. The lead was found in water fixtures not designated as drinking areas, school officials said.

At Twinbrook Elementary in Rockville, 15 of 119 water fixtures tested had high lead levels; the highest reading was 1,866 parts per billion, compared with the federally accepted standard of 20 parts per billion.

Elevated lead was also found in 24 of 86 fixtures at East Silver Spring Elementary in Silver Spring (highest reading: 1,085 parts per billion); 13 of 63 fixtures at Garrett Park Elementary in Garrett Park (highest reading: 173.2); 17 of 67 fixtures at Glen Haven Elementary at Grosvenor Center in Bethesda (highest reading: 320.6); 6 of 74 fixtures at Montgomery Knolls Elementary in Silver Spring (highest reading: 218.5); 8 of 103 fixtures at New Hampshire Estates Elementary in Silver Spring (highest reading: 1,205); 16 of 105 fixtures at Poolesville Elementary in Poolesville (highest reading: 205.3); 10 of 86 at Summit Hall Elementary in Gaithersburg (highest reading: 633.7); and 34 of 76 at Washington Grove Elementary in Gaithersburg (highest reading: 1,835).

Schaefer Bypassed by State Democrats

The Maryland Democratic Party snubbed State Comptroller William Donald Schaefer by leaving him out of the delegation chosen to vote at the Democratic National Convention, Schaefer's spokesman said yesterday.

About 150 members of the state Democratic Central Committee met Wednesday and approved a list of 30 delegates submitted by the presidential campaigns of John Kerry and John Edwards, said Josh White, the executive director of the Democratic Party in Maryland.

Among those on the list were Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson, Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan -- but not Schaefer.

"It's obviously a purposeful slight. He doesn't hew to the leftist leanings of the Maryland state Democratic Party," said Mike Golden, Schaefer's spokesman. White said Schaefer never asked for a spot at the convention and he didn't endorse a candidate for president -- both requirements for convention attendees.

VIRGINIA

Body Found in Missing Man's Car

A decomposing body was found yesterday in the trunk of a vehicle belonging to a Spotsylvania County man who was last seen about two weeks ago giving a ride to a stranger.

John Register's white Chevrolet Lumina was found in Newport News, but police there said they hadn't confirmed that the body was that of the 21-year-old father of two, said Lou Thurston, a police spokesman there. However, John Miles, Register's grandfather, said authorities told the family that the body was Register's.

Police have been looking for Register since May 6, when he gave a ride to a man loitering at the Super 8 motel where Register worked.

Thurston said he didn't know what triggered police interest in the car, but once the officer checked the license plate and found it belonged to a missing man, he approached the vehicle. "When he checked the passenger side, he found a substantial amount of blood," he said. The case is being investigated as a homicide.

Unsafe Driver, Not Dogs, Caused Pileup

Virginia State Police said yesterday they are looking for the driver of a silver car who they now believe might have caused the six-vehicle collision at the Mixing Bowl on Wednesday morning.

Witnesses told police that the car cut across four lanes of the outer loop of the Capital Beltway in an attempt to exit on Interstate 95 south. A tractor-trailer jackknifed trying to avoid the car, and the collision wound up involving an asphalt truck and four cars.

A Virginia State Police spokesman had said Wednesday that the accident began with dogs escaping from a car. But further investigation showed that while a car carrying dogs had been hit, and at least one of the dogs was killed, the pileup began with the silver car, Trooper Rick Carman said.

Motorist Rescues Escaped Toddler

A motorist driving through the Mount Vernon area at 3 a.m. yesterday came to the rescue of a toddler he spotted standing alone in a parking lot, helping get him back to his family.

After the driver saw the child, he called Fairfax police and waited with the boy until they arrived. About 90 minutes later, the toddler's parents realized he was missing, and they were soon reunited at the Mount Vernon district station, police said.

"We don't know exactly what we're doing. We don't have a good definition of this project. I don't think we're at a point where we can honestly tell the commissioner to go forward."

-- Gerald P. McCarthy, a member of a Virginia transportation panel that has been studying a proposal to create high-occupancy toll lanes on the Capital Beltway. -- Page A1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Clarence Williams, Spencer S. Hsu, Nancy Trejos, Michelle Boorstein, Peter Whoriskey and Tom Jackman and the Associated Press.