Motorcyclist Killed in Crash Is Identified

D.C. police yesterday released the name of a motorcyclist who was killed Tuesday morning in an accident in Northwest Washington.

Pedro Leite, 28, of Catonsville died after his motorcycle collided with a dump truck. The accident occurred about 7 a.m. at the entrance to a construction site at Sidwell Friends School in the 3800 block of Wisconsin Avenue NW. No charges have been filed.


Southern Route Backed for Connector

The Maryland Board of Public Works stamped its approval yesterday on Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s selected route for a connector highway across the Washington suburbs.

The three-member panel, made up of Ehrlich (R), Comptroller William Donald Schaefer (D) and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp (D), voted to approve the southern route for the 18-mile, $2.4 billion highway, known as the intercounty connector.

The route has been on planning maps for decades, despite political, legal and environmental challenges that have dogged the project. The three board members approved it without discussion.

Bleachers Evacuated in Bomb Scare

Authorities evacuated the bleachers at a football scrimmage last night at Wheaton High School after several spectators spotted an object that they thought might be a pipe bomb taped underneath the stands, fire officials said. The pipe was determined to be harmless.

Bomb squad technicians used a robot to inspect the pipe, which was approximately three feet long and had caps at both ends, and found that it contained blueprints, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesman Pete Piringer said. No one was injured.

Authorities were called to the school in the 12000 block of Dalewood Drive about 7 p.m., and officials declared the area safe by about 8:30 p.m.

The bleachers were cleared and the scrimmage against Springbrook High School was halted while the robot picked up the tube about 8 p.m., Piringer said. Officials closed a section of Randolph Road outside the school for about 15 minutes, Piringer said.

State to Purchase More Voting Machines

The Maryland Board of Public Works agreed yesterday to buy more of the electronic voting machines that have been the subject of intense scrutiny and debate since they were first used in four counties in 2002.

The state will spend $7.9 million to buy machines from Diebold Election Systems Inc. for use in Baltimore, which had purchased a different touch-screen system and is allowed to use its machines until the 2006 election. The board also agreed to spend $2.3 million to buy more machines for Prince George's, Montgomery and Baltimore counties because of large increases in voter registration.

Also approved was a $6.1 million contract for maintenance and management services for the electronic voting system.

Critics say the Diebold machines are unreliable and subject to fraud, allegations that have been vigorously denied by Diebold and Maryland election officials.

Montgomery County election officials' review of voting machines used in the county in November found that 7 percent of the machines had such problems as frozen screens and failure to boot up. Five percent of machines were considered suspect because their vote tallies were considerably lower than other machines used in the same precincts.

State officials disputed those figures, saying a review they conducted with Diebold showed that 0.4 percent had significant problems.

One of the major complaints about the machines is the lack of a paper trail that can be used to verify individual votes. Legislators are working on proposals that would require adding a verifiable paper trail to the existing machines.

Man Charged With Aiding Pa. Fugitive

A Woodstock man was arrested Tuesday night on charges that he aided a fugitive who committed suicide in Howard County after his flight from Pennsylvania last week.

Michael K. Voland Sr., 45, fled Pennsylvania on Thursday night when state police tried to serve a protective order obtained by his wife. He eluded police until Monday morning, when he killed himself on a roadside in Patapsco Valley State Park in Howard County.

Everette "Ray" Taylor, 65, of the 2700 block of Hernwood Road was charged with harboring a fugitive and hindering an official police investigation, police said.

Police said Taylor drove Voland about 10 miles Friday night and provided him with food and clothing.

But Taylor said that he didn't realize he was doing anything wrong when he helped the man he had known since boyhood.

"[Voland] said no one was after him and that they called off the search," Taylor said. "I was just trying to be a good Christian. . . . I'd help anybody out. But I wouldn't break a law to do it."

Taylor was released and is to return to court Oct. 28.


Suspect in Arlington Robbery Sought

The FBI was searching yesterday for a robber in sunglasses who held up an Arlington bank Tuesday.

The man entered the BB&T branch in the 1100 block of South Walter Reed Drive about 1:20 p.m. and passed a note demanding money and a small silver gift bag to a teller, the FBI said.

The teller filled the bag with money and the bandit walked off, the FBI said. The man was described as 5 feet 7 inches tall, about 165 pounds, in his late twenties with dark wavy hair and a tattoo on his left forearm. He was wearing a T-shirt with the word "Staff" on the back.

Anyone with information about the robbery should call the FBI at 202-278-2000.

"I can't sleep. I can't eat. I'm in limbo. I feel so helpless. I want them to come and reside with me."

-- Former New Orleans resident Mikalyn Valentine of Waldorf, who lost contact with her ailing mother and grandmother as the water was rising in the city after the devastating hurricane. -- B1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Del Quentin Wilber, Allan Lengel, Clarence Williams and Jonathan Abel and the Associated Press.

Surveillance video shows the suspect in the robbery of an Arlington bank. The shirt had the word "Staff" on the back.