Metro issues fare credits after delays

After two straight days of major delays on Metro’s busy Red Line, the transit agency has begun issuing fare credits to scores of frustrated riders.

By midafternoon Friday, 550 people had complained to Metro, mostly via the Web, about hours-long Red Line delays Wednesday and Thursday. The delays were so disruptive that Metro General Manager Richard Sarles issued a public apology Thursday.

As with Metro riders generally, more than 90 percent of those who complained are holders of registered SmarTrip cards, Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said. As a result, in most cases, Stessel said, Metro is able to confirm whether a person making a complaint was using the system when a delay occurred.

As of 3 p.m. Friday, 316 of the 550 complaints had been “reviewed” by Metro and fares had been credited to SmarTrip cards in nearly every case, typically in the range of $2 to $3, Stessel said. He said the transit agency probably will credit $1,000 to $2,000 in fares by the time all the complaints have been dealt with.

He said a voucher for a free ride will be given to customers who have paper fare cards showing that they were caught in the Red Line delays.

— Paul Duggan

Frederick grand jury clears deputies in shooting

A Frederick County grand jury has cleared two sheriff’s deputies in the fatal shooting of a Mount Airy man in January.

State’s Attorney Charlie Smith said the panel found on Friday that the deputies were justified in shooting 19-year-old Daniel Vail.

Police say Vail was a suspect in an armed home invasion two days earlier. Deputies Charles Zang and Kevin Riffle went to his apartment at 1 a.m. Jan. 10 to serve a search-and-seizure warrant.

Smith said the deputies entered Vail’s bedroom and found him pointing a shotgun at them. He said the deputies fired after ordering Vail several times to drop the gun.

The Vail family has questioned the use of deadly force. The family’s attorney says there is evidence the deputies fired at least 18 shots.

— Associated Press

Boy, 12, thwarts
abduction attempt

A man tried to abduct a 12-year-old boy from a street in Capitol Heights on Friday evening, but the boy freed himself from the man’s grasp and fled, Prince George’s County police said.

Police said that the incident occurred about 5:15 p.m. in the 6500 block of Wilburn Drive and that the man had asked the boy if he wanted candy from the man’s van.

— Clarence Williams

and Martin Weil

Probation for volunteer firefighter

The former president of a volunteer fire department in Fauquier County was sentenced Friday to two years of supervised probation for stealing more than $40,000 from the organization to pay his mortgage during the 2008 financial crisis, authorities said.

William J. Stuart, 52, former president of the Remington Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, pleaded guilty in August to a charge of theft from an organization receiving federal funds.

Stuart, of Bealeton, wrote to the judge that he was “deeply sorry” for what he had done.

— Matt Zapotosky