THE REGION

I-95 Closed During Bomb Scare

A mile-and-a-half stretch of Interstate 95 in Howard County was closed for about two hours last night after a motorist who witnesses said was driving recklessly told police she had a bomb. It ended up being a hoax, and the driver was arrested, the Maryland State Police said.

State police said numerous motorists phoned to report that a woman in a white Ford Thunderbird was driving erratically across all four lanes on northbound I-95, slowing down and then speeding up.

The woman then stopped in a lane of the highway and sat on the hood and the trunk and started walking up and down the road. When troopers arrived, she warned there was a bomb in the car.

Police shut down the highway in both directions, diverting traffic and bringing in a bomb detection dog, which found no explosives, police said.

The highway was reopened about 11 p.m.

The motorist, Laura S. Newman, 20, of Takoma Park, was charged with one count of making a false statement regarding a destructive device, police said.

Panel of Experts Takes On Metro Funding

Rudolph Penner, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, will lead a panel created by business and political leaders to analyze Metro's financial problems and recommend ways to fund the transit system.

Among the members named yesterday were Clinton administration transportation officials Nuria Fernandez, who was federal transit administrator, and Mortimer Downey, who was deputy transportation secretary. Also serving is Thomas Downs, a former president of Amtrak, and James Wilding, former president of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

The panel, which will examine whether a regional dedicated tax should be created to fund Metro, is sponsored by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, the Greater Washington Board of Trade and the Federal City Council.

Anthrax Scare Shuts Bolling Facility

A mail screening facility at Bolling Air Force base in Southwest Washington was temporarily closed yesterday afternoon when a machine recorded a false positive for anthrax, officials said.

Linda Card, deputy public affairs director for Bolling, said the machine that detects hazardous materials indicated the possible presence of anthrax shortly after 2 p.m.

The facility, which screens mail addressed to the base, was shut down, but subsequent tests came up negative, Card said. The base fire department said the matter was cleared up about 3:25 p.m.

Eight civilian contract employees were decontaminated as a precaution and were fine, she said. As is routine in such instances, the FBI said it is conducting an additional lab test.

THE DISTRICT

Suspect in Teen's Death Held Without Bond

The Southeast Washington man charged with killing a 13-year-old boy this week was ordered held without bond yesterday after appearing in D.C. Superior Court.

Charged with second-degree murder, Pernell P. Wood, 20, has told detectives that the gun was on a bed and that the weapon discharged when he "flopped" onto the bed, according to charging papers in the case. Michael Swann, who was in the next room, was fatally struck by a single round.

A firearms expert cited in charging papers said the likelihood of such an accident is "remote." The gun has not been recovered.

VIRGINIA

Pr. William Lawyer Considers State Race

Former Prince William county attorney Sharon Pandak said she is seriously considering running for the Democratic nomination to be Virginia attorney general next year and has begun putting together a campaign organization.

Pandak, 51, served for 15 years as the lawyer for the growing suburban county. She resigned several months ago to seek elective office, she said. Pandak, who grew up in Staunton and went to college and law school in Williamsburg, said she believes she will have support across the state.

She would face at least two lawmakers in the Democratic primary: Sens. John S. Edwards (Roanoke) and R. Creigh Deeds (Bath), both of whom have announced their intention to run. If she wins the nomination, she probably would face Del. Robert McDonnell (R-Virginia Beach) or Richmond lawyer Steve Baril.

MARYLAND

High School Student Killed in Crash

A 17-year-old Calvert High School senior was killed yesterday afternoon in a collision in front of the school in Prince Frederick, authorities said.

Jessica Gelatka was trying to turn left in a Volkswagen GTI from Dorsey Road onto Dares Beach Road about 2:30 p.m. when the vehicle was struck by a westbound Jeep, Maryland State Police said.

The 59-year-old woman who was driving the Jeep was flown to Prince George's Hospital Center, where she was treated and released. The death was the third juvenile traffic fatality in Calvert County this year, officials said.

Congressmen Make Pitch for Bay to Bush

A delegation of congressmen representing the Chesapeake Bay watershed asked the White House yesterday for $130 million to be devoted to the bay in next year's federal budget.

The Chesapeake Bay Watershed Task Force is chaired by Reps. Wayne T. Gilchrest (R-Md.), Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (D-Va.). Their request included $50 million for improvements to wastewater treatment plants and $75 million to curb pollution from agriculture, according to a release issued by Van Hollen.

Two More Charged in School Fires

Officials said two more Glen Burnie residents have been charged with setting fires Tuesday at an elementary school under construction in Anne Arundel County, bringing to five the number of suspects accused in the crime.

Joseph A. Molineiro, 21, and a 16-year-old whose identity was not released were charged with second-degree arson. Molineiro was held yesterday on $250,000 bond. The fire caused an estimated $1.5 million of damage to Marley Elementary School three months before it was scheduled to open.

"I was always looking for wood paneling, wood tables -- something to knock on."

-- D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D), on his lingering nervousness while waiting for a final call yesterday from Major League Baseball announcing that the Expos would move to Washington. -- Page A1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Henri E. Cauvin, David A. Fahrenthold, Chris L. Jenkins, Lyndsey Layton, Allan Lengel, Eric Rich, Michael D. Shear and Clarence Williams.