THE REGION

Route 210-Beltway Changes Planned

Woodrow Wilson Bridge officials yesterday announced several upcoming modifications to the interchange of Route 210 and the Capital Beltway that will alter the way drivers move through the area.

Next month, a ramp from the outer loop to Oxon Hill Road will open. The old ramp will be closed. Also next month, the left-turn ramp from northbound Route 210 to the inner loop will close and will be replaced by a right-turn ramp.

Later this fall, new ramps connecting northbound Route 210 to the outer loop and southbound 210 to the inner loop will open.

Bridge officials said the changes are necessary to build a new Route 210 Beltway overpass and a new Route 210-Oxon Hill Road interchange. The improvements are part of the Wilson Bridge project and are scheduled to be completed in 2008.

GW Looking at Other Sites for Graduation

George Washington University is considering alternatives for the site of its commencement ceremony this spring because the National Park Service will be renovating the Ellipse. Administrators are looking at sites that could accommodate about 20,000 students, faculty members and family members, including MCI Center, Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and the Mall.

VIRGINIA

9-Vehicle Pileup Shuts Part of I-95 South

Southbound lanes of Interstate 95 were closed for several hours yesterday after a nine-vehicle pileup sent 15 people to hospitals with injuries that were not life-threatening, Virginia State Police said.

Investigators said the crashes occurred at 2:47 p.m. between the Lorton and the Route 1-Woodbridge exits when one vehicle cut off another, setting off a chain reaction of crashes involving a tour bus carrying a rap group, three cars, a 15-passenger van, a taxi, a sport-utility vehicle, a truck and a tractor-trailer hauling soft drinks.

At one point, police said, traffic was backed up for seven miles as rescuers worked at the scene and helicopters landed to transport three victims to hospitals. Traffic was diverted to high-occupancy vehicle lanes until 5:30 p.m., when the southbound lanes were reopened.

Police said two tickets have been issued in connection with the pileup, which is under investigation.

Events to Mark John Marshall's Birthday

Today marks the 250th birthday of former Supreme Court chief justice John Marshall. In honor of the day, the John Marshall Foundation will sponsor a gala banquet featuring Justice Anthony M. Kennedy as keynote speaker. The gala will take place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Richmond Marriott in the state capital. Tickets are $125 and can be purchased by calling 804-775-0861 or 804-648-7998. More information is available at www.john-marshall.org.

Additional commemorative events include an afternoon of free family activities, living history, games, music and refreshments hosted by the John Marshall House in Richmond, and a wreath-laying ceremony at Marshall's grave site followed by a guided walking tour of the historic Shockoe Cemetery.

Tomorrow, a service at Monumental Church conducted by Rector Randolph Hollerith, who is a Marshall descendant, will honor the chief justice using the 1789 Book of Common Prayer. The public is invited. The service will be at 11:15 a.m. at St. James's Episcopal Church, 1201 W. Franklin St. in Richmond.

MARYLAND

Judge Allows Sniper Trial to Be Delayed

Despite his wishes, sniper John Allen Muhammad will not get a speedy trial in Maryland, a Circuit Court judge in Montgomery County ruled yesterday.

Muhammad, 44, who has been sentenced to death in Virginia, told Judge John W. Debelius III that he did not want to waive his right to a trial within 180 days of his arrest in Maryland or within 120 days of his transfer to the state.

Defendants are usually entitled to a trial within those timeframes, but prosecutors and defense attorneys may ask judges for additional time to prepare for trial in complicated cases. Muhammad's attorneys, public defenders Paul DeWolfe and Brian Shefferman, indicated during a previous hearing that they needed more time to prepare. Their client did not agree.

"My first answer was no. My third answer was no," Muhammad told Debelius after being asked repeatedly whether he wished to waive his right to a prompt trial.

Debelius decided to delay the trial anyway.

"Due to the very complicated logistics involved in the trial of this case and the length of trial . . . I do find that there is good cause to set this matter beyond those applicable time limits," Debelius said.

Muhammad and fellow defendant Lee Boyd Malvo are accused of killing six people in Montgomery in 2002 during sniper attacks that terrorized the Washington area. The trial is set for May 1.

Volunteers Sought for Hospital Exercise

Montgomery County hospitals are looking for 400 volunteers to act as patients in an emergency-preparedness exercise.

The exercise will be from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday at Washington Adventist Hospital, Montgomery General Hospital, Holy Cross Hospital, Shady Grove Adventist Hospital and Kaiser Permanente.

Parents may bring children but must supervise them. Refreshments will be provided, and a certificate of attendance, which can be used for continuing education, will be provided.

To volunteer, call 240-777-2600 or e-mail the Montgomery County Volunteer Center at volunteer@montgomerycountymd .gov and include name, phone number, mailing address, e-mail and hospital preference.

Quintuplets Well After Premature Birth

A 22-year-old Baltimore woman delivered quintuplets this week at the University of Maryland Medical Center, and doctors said yesterday that the four girls and one boy were doing well despite being nearly 10 weeks premature.

The babies arrived by Caesarean section in 21/2 minutes Wednesday morning, and mother Jennell Dickens, who has been hospitalized since mid-July because of the high-risk pregnancy, was awake to see each one born. The smallest, NaRae Dimetria, weighed 1 pound 12 ounces, and the largest, Jade, was 2 pounds 13 ounces, officials said.

The Dickens babies were the first quintuplets born at the medical center in more than three decades.

"People in this area are pretty darn good at this stuff and these events. We just have to remember what to do."

-- Dan Tangherlini, the District's transportation director, on the prospect of demonstrations, sports events and a book festival today in Washington. -- B1

Compiled from reports by Steven Ginsberg, Susan Kinzie, Susan Levine, Ernesto Londono, Daniele Seiss and Leef Smith and the Associated Press.