Pepco Works to Restore Power

Nearly 500 customers in Montgomery County were still without power yesterday, after Friday night's thunderstorm. At the height of the storm, which was concentrated in Montgomery, lightning strikes and downed trees and wires left 19,000 homes in the dark, including some in the District, parts of Prince George's County and Northern Virginia.

Camille Smith, a Pepco spokeswoman, said crews were expected to restore power to all customers by late yesterday.

Mall Reopens After Collapse

Laurel Mall reopened yesterday after a large concrete walkway collapsed Thursday night. Officials closed the mall Friday as a precaution while engineers inspected other walkways and parking structures for signs of decay, according to Jim Collins, Laurel police spokesman.

There was no sign that the collapse of the 50-foot-long, 16-foot-wide walkway was anything but an accident, Collins said. No one was injured by falling concrete because the collapse happened after the mall had closed for the night, but it did crush two trucks, Collins said.

Sherrie Little, marketing manager for the mall, said the upper level of the parking deck will remain closed until the walkway is repaired, but the lower level is open. The upper level contains about 400 of the mall's 4,000 parking spaces.

Driver Sought in Fatal Collision

Prince George's County police are searching for the driver of a Honda Accord involved in a fatal collision yesterday with a motorcycle in Clinton.

The driver of the Suzuki motorcycle was southbound on Woodyard Road about 4:45 p.m. when the oncoming Honda attempted to turn left onto Dower House Road, according to police.

The motorcycle driver, whom police declined to identify, was killed in the collision, said Cpl. Kim Brown, a police spokeswoman. The driver of the Honda left the scene before police arrived.


Bacteria Caused Teen's Death

An Alexandria teenager who died last week at a North Carolina beach resort suffered from a blood infection brought on by the bacterium that causes meningitis, state health authorities said yesterday.

Meningococci bacteria attacked the bloodstream of Kelley Swanson, 18, causing sepsis, said Lucy Caldwell, spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Health. In meningitis, the germs attack the lining of the brain.

"In this case, it was the same bacteria that can also cause meningitis," Caldwell said. "Therefore, the public health response is the same. Public health staff is continuing to follow up with prescribing antibiotics for individuals who had close contact with [Swanson]. And they are continuing to work throughout the weekend."

Because the bacteria can be spread through saliva and sharing glasses and water bottles, health officials have been focusing on young people who attended a private party with Swanson after the T.C. Williams High School graduation. Many of the guests dipped their cups into a punch bowl instead of using a ladle.

A couple of Swanson's friends who reported feeling ill last week had upper-respiratory infections, not meningitis, she added.

Woman Killed in Fairfax Crash

A 20-year-old woman died early yesterday when she drove across the double yellow line on Telegraph Road in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County and struck an oncoming Mercedes sport-utility vehicle head-on, police said.

Her passenger, a 19-year-old man, was in critical condition at Inova Fairfax Hospital, Fairfax police spokeswoman Beth Funston said. Two people in the SUV were treated for minor injuries and released, she said.

Police are withholding the name of the woman and her passenger pending notification of the woman's family.

Juror Fined Over Newspapers

A Prince William County juror was fined more than $21,000 after buying newspapers during a murder trial and then lying about it.

Lindy L. Heaster, who appeared in court yesterday, tearfully apologized and said her deliberations were not affected by the purchase.

In April, a judge threw out the conviction of a man accused of killing his wife after lawyers produced a convenience store surveillance videotape that showed Heaster buying two newspapers.

Heaster swore under oath that she had bought only a cup of coffee. She also has been ordered to write apology letters to other jurors and to perform 250 hours of community service.

"There are two ways of learning. One is you produce a theoretical plan, put it on the shelf and wait for a real incident. The other is to run a test, see how it works and make corrections. Mistakes are free."

-- terrorism expert Brian Jenkins on the District's test tomorrow of the city's emergency evacuation routes. -- C1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Ann E. Marimow and Sandhya Somashekhar and the Associated Press.