Va. Tax Revenue Grows by $324 Million

Some Say Rate Increases Weren't Needed

Virginia's economy grew faster than predicted during the budget year that ended June 30, generating $323.8 million more in tax revenue than government economists had estimated.

Gov. Mark R. Warner (D), who announced the final tally for the year Thursday, said that most of the surplus will go into the rainy-day fund.

The size of the surplus prompted some in the legislature to again object to the tax increases enacted by the 2004 General Assembly.

Crash Sparks Explosion; Boy Killed

Man Who Hit Car Was Reading Map, Police Say

A fiery four-vehicle crash on Interstate 66 in Fairfax County on Tuesday killed a 2-year-old boy, critically injured his pregnant mother and killed her fetus.

The chain-reaction crash in the westbound lanes killed George Zak Marchman, 2, of Fairfax County. His mother, Elizabeth Ann Marchman, 33, was driving a Geo Metro that was struck from behind by a Chevy pickup driven by Matthew R. Cable. The Geo then struck a Buick, which hit a Toyota.

Police said that when Cable's truck hit the Geo, the car's gas tank ruptured and the gasoline ignited, causing an explosion. Five other people were injured, including two retired Fairfax firefighters who tried to rescue the Marchmans from their car. The westbound lanes of I-66 were closed for two hours.

Cable, of Hagerstown, Md., was cited for reckless driving. Police said he was distracted while trying to read a map.

State Board Amends Accreditation Rule

New Social Studies Test Won't Be Factor Yet

The Virginia Board of Education voted to delay using scores from new social studies Standards of Learning exams as a factor in accreditation.

The one-year reprieve allows elementary and middle schools to use those scores if they help achieve accreditation.

This year, the state Department of Education introduced two history exams and one civics and economics exam to replace a cumulative test that covered three years of coursework. School divisions were allowed to choose the grade levels in which to administer the new tests or stick with the old test.

Man Who Killed Wife, Son Is Executed

Attorneys Said Veteran Was Mentally Ill

Convicted killer Mark W. Bailey was executed by injection Thursday night, six years after he fatally shot his wife and their 2-year-old son.

Bailey, 34, was pronounced dead at 9:07 at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt, Va. The execution was the third in Virginia this year.

Bailey, a former Navy submariner and a Persian Gulf War veteran, was sentenced to death for the Sept. 10, 1998, killings of his wife and son at their Hampton home. According to court records, Bailey awoke that morning and shot his sleeping wife, Katherine, 22, three times in the head. He then shot their son, Nathan, twice as he was climbing out of bed.

The couple had been having marital problems, court records said. Bailey's attorneys said he had bipolar disorder.

Across the Region

SmarTrip Demand; Bay's Health Challenged

* Metro is rushing the production of tens of thousands of SmarTrip cards used for Metrobus fares and for parking in Metro's lots and will keep selling them despite dwindling supplies, reversing a decision the transit agency made last week.

* Research scheduled to be published next month shows no significant improvement in the volume of oxygen-depleted water in the Chesapeake Bay since the inception of the bay's cleanup in the mid-1980s, a finding that runs contrary to reports from the government agency leading the bay's restoration.

Heading onward: The Sussman family tours Presidents Park near Williamsburg, which features busts of every president.