Door Opens While Metro Train Is Moving
A door on an Orange Line car opened while the train was moving at full speed through the tunnel between the District and Rosslyn during yesterday afternoon's rush hour, Metro officials said.
Officials said that a rider notified the conductor through the train's intercom and that the conductor stopped the train and performed an immediate search before going on to Rosslyn, where the train was emptied and taken out of service. The incident occurred shortly after 5 p.m.
The car was made by the Italian firm Breda Costruzioni Ferroviarie and not Spain-based CAF Inc. The CAF models have been beset by problems, including door malfunctions.
Passenger Joe Straw said the door opened while the train "was going full speed. Everyone reacted pretty quickly. There was a woman standing by the door, not leaning on it, and a passenger grabbed her arm."
Straw said the door closed when the conductor stopped the train. He also said the conductor searched the train before proceeding to Rosslyn.
Panel Speeds Toward Taxi Surcharge
Relief for D.C. cabbies might be coming sooner than expected.
The D.C. Taxicab Commission will consider on Friday -- instead of at a regularly scheduled session Sept. 14 -- a proposal to let drivers once again charge extra to offset skyrocketing gasoline prices.
For the past four months, D.C. cabbies have charged $1 extra per trip for fuel costs. The emergency surcharge expired Thursday, after the commission failed to extend it, angering cabdrivers as gasoline prices hit a record high.
Causton Toney, the acting interim chairman of the D.C. Taxicab Commission, said the commission called an emergency session after hearing cabdrivers' concerns and realizing that gas prices would remain high. He said the commission was leaning toward approving up to a $1.50 surcharge for four months. If approved, it would take effect Saturday.
He said that before the surcharge expires, the commission might consider a permanent rate increase.
Prosecutor Adds Details on Gang Case
More details emerged at a detention hearing in federal court in Greenbelt yesterday about Oscar Ramos Velasquez, 19, one of 19 men charged last month in a racketeering indictment against the Mara Salvatrucha gang.
James M. Trusty, an assistant U.S. attorney, cited two incidents in particular in arguing that Velasquez is a danger to society. On Sept. 17, 2004, Velasquez helped beat up and stab a member of a rival gang, Trusty said. And in July 2003, Velasquez took part in a gang rape of two women who were hanging out with members of the gang, Trusty said.
Trusty said Prince George's County prosecutors filed first-degree rape charges against Velasquez yesterday.
Velasquez came from El Salvador six years ago. For the past year, he has been employed as an ironworker. Nineteen members of Velasquez's family -- including nine siblings -- showed up for his detention hearing. The judge ordered him held without bond.
His mother said the family would not comment on the case.
Also yesterday, the Maryland U.S. attorney's office said it plans to add a prosecutor devoted to gang-related prosecutions. The new prosecutor probably will be based at Greenbelt because of a surge in gang violence in Montgomery and Prince George's counties.
Anne Arundel Superintendent Resigns
Eric J. Smith, the nationally renowned educator who took command of the Anne Arundel County school system in 2002 and brought three years of academic prosperity and political tumult, announced yesterday that he will resign to take a job at Harvard University.
He announced his exit less than two months after the release of an audit that found deep faults in the school system's human resources department, including allegations of unorthodox hiring bonuses and undeserved pay raises. The report set off a round of public acrimony between Smith and members of the school board.
The disputes "have resulted in considerable distraction from the important work that I was brought here to do and that I love doing," Smith said in a statement released at the end of the workday.
Smith said he accepted a position in "leadership development" at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Smith will leave the 75,000-student Anne Arundel school system in better shape academically than when he arrived. Participation in college-level Advanced Placement courses has more than doubled in Anne Arundel during the past three years, under Smith's philosophy of expanding access to demanding coursework. Students improved across the board on the 2005 Maryland School Assessment test. Smith has introduced the prestigious International Baccalaureate program to Anne Arundel high schools and overhauled class schedules so students could take a greater variety of courses.
Police Track Down Sex Offenders
The Maryland State Police said yesterday that a Labor Day weekend sweep yielded the whereabouts of all but a handful of more than 400 sex offenders who were thought to be living in Maryland but had not registered with the state.
Thirty-four police investigators spent the weekend knocking on doors and searching databases to locate offenders who officials in other states said had moved to Maryland, said Greg Shipley, a spokesman for the state police.
Of the 403 offenders sought, police said they verified that 130 were living outside Maryland; there was no evidence to show that 88 others had ever moved to Maryland; 104 were found to be incarcerated; and five were dead. Sixty-nine offenders were found in state and ordered to register immediately, police said, and seven cases remain under investigation.
Taxi Fares Rising in Prince William
The Prince William Board of County Supervisors approved a temporary increase in taxi fares yesterday in response to rising gas prices that have followed Hurricane Katrina.
Riders will pay a 75-cent surcharge per trip until the county's two taxi companies can change their meters to reflect a higher fare of $1.80 a mile. That is a 30-cent jump from what riders have been paying since 2003, when the last fare increase was implemented.
The new fares go into effect today and will continue for 60 days.
"Some students walk in and haven't had enough food or water. We hand them an SMU T-shirt, and they say it's the first time in a week to put on a clean shirt."
-- Ron Moss, dean of admissions at Southern Methodist University, on students arriving from the hurricane-stricken states. -- B1
Compiled from reports by staff writers Jonathan Abel, Daniel de Vise, Steven Ginsberg, Allan Lengel, Nikita Stewart and John Wagner and the Associated Press.