VIRGINIA

Driver Pulled From the Potomac

Police divers pulled an injured man out of a submerged car last night after his vehicle ran off the George Washington Memorial Parkway and plunged into the Potomac River, a D.C. fire department spokesman said.

The man apparently was alone in the vehicle when it plunged into the river about 10:40 p.m. between the 14th Street and Memorial bridges, authorities said.

D.C. police divers extricated the man, who was placed aboard a fire department boat before being taken to a hospital, fire department spokesman Alan Etter said.

The man was not identified immediately and details of his condition were not known.

MARYLAND

Man Dies as Tree Limb Hits Truck

An unidentified man was killed yesterday evening when his truck was hit by a large tree limb on a Montgomery County street, police said.

Police did not release the name of the man, who was driving a Ford F-250 pickup east in the 800 block of Bonifant Street about 9 p.m.

Rescue efforts were delayed because electrical wires from two utility poles that were hit by the tree limb also fell on the truck, said Capt. Oscar Garcia of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service.

Officials were investigating whether the accident was related to the weather. A female passenger who suffered injuries was taken to a hospital's trauma unit, Garcia said.

Crash Shuts Beltway for Hours

The outer loop of the Capital Beltway in Montgomery County was closed for three hours yesterday morning when a tractor-trailer overturned east of the Connecticut Avenue exit, Maryland State Police said.

The overturned tractor-trailer blocked all four lanes of traffic.

The drivers of a Honda Civic and the tractor-trailer were taken to a hospital with minor injuries, police said.

HMO Costs, Smoking Faulted

An annual Maryland survey of seven HMOs found that insurers are doing a better job in some areas but are growing more expensive and need improvement in such areas as smoking cessation.

On Thursday, the Maryland Health Care Commission released its annual quality-of-care reports on the top seven HMOs in the state, gauging them on patient surveys and the medical care they provide.

Measures included how many women are screened for breast cancer and cervical cancer, access to primary care for children and childhood immunization.

Although surveys showed that 73 percent of the health insurers advised smokers to quit, only 41 percent of smoking patients discussed stop-smoking medications or strategies with their doctors last year.

Another area of criticism in the report was the cost of receiving health care. The survey said the 9.2 percent increase in health insurance premiums this year was still more than three times the growth in worker earnings and 21/2 times the rate of inflation.

Man, 68, Dies in Car Crash

A 68-year-old man was killed Friday morning when his car crashed into a utility pole on a rain-soaked Prince George's County street, county police said.

Police did not release the name of the man, who was driving a Ford Taurus north in the 11700 block of Brandywine Road at 6 a.m., said Cpl. Debbi Carlson, a police spokeswoman.

The man died after the crash at a hospital. Carlson said that the man was wearing his seat belt and that he did not have alcohol or drugs in his system.

Teacher of the Year Is Honored

Kimberly Oliver, a kindergarten teacher at Broad Acres Elementary, was named Maryland Teacher of the Year for 2005-06 at a ceremony Friday night.

Oliver, who was selected from seven finalists, has been teaching at the Silver Spring campus since 2000.

She was recognized for her key role in restructuring the school to help educators do a more effective job of reaching students.

As a result, the campus, which serves an ethnically and economically diverse student body, met -- and in some cases -- exceeded achievement targets required under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

In November, Oliver received her National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certificate. She has been a teacher trainer for two years and also has been a mentor teacher.

"To the rest of the state, Northern Virginia is a single-cell amoeba. Those of us in Northern Virginia see its individual parts. It's far more diverse than the rest of the commonwealth thinks."

-- Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria), on the political split in Northern Virginia. -- A1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Nia-Malika Henderson, Martin Weil, Allison Klein, Susan Kinzie and Lori Aratani and the Associated Press.