A Metro in Brief item Sept. 8 and a follow-up Sept. 9 contained incorrect information provided by police. Fairfax County police now say that Brian Hilliard, who was killed Sept. 7 when the all-terrain vehicle he was riding collided with a sport-utility vehicle, probably was wearing a helmet, and that the SUV driver may have been speeding. In addition, police provided an incorrect age. Hilliard was 22. (Published 9/21/2005)


Lawsuit Faults Police in Fatal Car Chase

The parents of two children killed last year by a driver fleeing D.C. police filed a lawsuit yesterday that accuses officers of improperly starting the pursuit.

Christopher Suydan Jr., 7, and Octavia Suydan, 8, were struck and killed Sept. 11, 2004, as they crossed Florida Avenue NE. The driver of the car, Eric Palmer, 19, pleaded guilty in February to second-degree murder charges.

The lawsuit was filed in D.C. Superior Court on behalf of the children's parents, Towhanna Boston and Christopher Suydan.

An internal police investigation found no fault with the officers' conduct in the incident. Police officials declined to comment yesterday.

Police have said Palmer sped off when officers tried to make a drug arrest in the 600 block of Orleans Place NE. Police said officers pursued Palmer but quickly cut off the chase.

First Results In From Groundwater Study

Data from the first round of sampling in the Spring Valley neighborhood indicate that groundwater is flowing toward the Dalecarlia Reservoir, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said yesterday.

If further testing shows that buried World War I-era munitions have contaminated the groundwater, the westward flow could jeopardize the drinking water source for more than a million people. The Corps said ongoing testing will determine whether the groundwater is contaminated and whether it actually flows into the reservoir.


Abuse Case Against Scientist Is Dropped

A renowned geneticist will not face trial on charges that he abused a Montgomery County boy in the 1980s.

Prosecutors said Wednesday that they dismissed the case against William French Anderson less than a week before trial because key evidence against him was inadmissible under state law.

Anderson, 68, pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The inadmissible evidence was a recorded telephone call between Anderson and his accuser. In it, Anderson discussed a Los Angeles County case against him. Unlike California, Maryland does not allow evidence of similar allegations to be presented in sex cases.

Malpractice Insurance Aid to Continue

The Maryland attorney general's office has cleared the way for the state to continue paying subsidies to thousands of doctors to help with their medical malpractice insurance premiums.

The Maryland Insurance Administration recently sought advice about whether a law passed this year allows subsidies to be paid when an insurer does not raise its rates. Medical Mutual Liability Insurance Society of Maryland, which insures more than three-quarters of the state's private-practice doctors, does not plan to raise premiums next year.

A letter sent to the administration this week said a literal reading of the law would prevent payment of the subsidies but advised that the legislative intent was to continue payments.


I-395 Lanes to Close for Construction

Construction work on the Springfield interchange this weekend is scheduled to close part of Interstate 395 north, the Virginia Department of Transportation said.

Motorists who do not need local exits north of the Capital Beltway are encouraged to use the HOV lanes, which will be open to all drivers, VDOT spokesman Steve Titunik said yesterday. Others will have to take a seven-mile detour through Van Dorn Street and Eisenhower Avenue, onto the inner loop of the Beltway, he said.

The lanes on I-395 will close from 8:30 p.m. tomorrow to 10 a.m. Sunday. Crews will put up two steel beams that will help support the flyover linking Interstate 95 north to the Beltway's outer loop.

GMU Receives $25 Million to Build Lab

George Mason University has received a $25 million research grant, the largest in its 34-year history, to build a lab to study pathogens, including anthrax, that could be used in a bioterrorist attack and infectious diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, university officials announced yesterday.

The $42 million, 83,000-square-foot Regional Biocontainment Laboratory will be constructed at the university's Prince William Campus in Manassas. The campus is at the Innovation at Prince William business park, which the county and the college have been promoting as a biotechnology hub.

Police Identify Man Killed in ATV Accident

A man killed while riding an all-terrain vehicle Wednesday night in the Mason Neck area was identified yesterday as Brian Hilliard, 23, of the 6200 block of Miller Drive in the Kingstowne area, Fairfax County police said.

Police said Hilliard was driving his Suzuki ATV on a dirt road near Mount Vernon Boulevard and French Road about 7 p.m. When Hilliard tried to cross Mount Vernon Boulevard, he was hit by a 2001 Toyota RAV4, police said.

Motorcyclist Killed in Loudoun Crash

A motorcyclist was killed last night near Middleburg when his motorcycle collided with a truck, Virginia State Police said.

Officials released few details about the crash near Polecat Hill and Foxcroft roads in Loudoun County just after 7 p.m., including information about the victim.

Richmond College Freshman Is Missing

A 2005 graduate from a Fairfax County high school who moved to Richmond last month to attend Virginia Commonwealth University has not been seen since late Monday, and campus police said yesterday that they have launched an investigation into her disappearance.

Taylor Behl, 17, was last seen about 10 p.m. Monday, when she told her roommate that she was going out but would return in three hours, Behl's mother, Janet Pelasara, said yesterday. Her roommate reported her missing about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

There is no evidence that Behl, a graduate of James Madison High School in Vienna, is in danger, said Pam Lepley, a spokeswoman for campus police.

"Behl apparently took only her car keys and student identification with her when she left her dorm room, police said. Behl's vehicle, a 1997 white Ford Escort sedan, has not been found.

"We were amazed at the intensity of it.

What a little bear!"

-- A report from the National Zoo's Panda House,

on the panda cub's first, boisterous bark. -- B1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Del Quentin Wilber, Susan Levine, John Wagner, Tom Jackman, Clarence Williams, Nikita Stewart and Jamie Stockwell and the Associated Press.