Annapolis fire officials closed a key portion of Aris T. Allen Boulevard for more than two hours after a backhoe operator struck a gas main yesterday afternoon.
Capt. Leonard Clark, spokesman for the Annapolis Fire Department, said the worker was helping build townhouses in Oxford Landing for Crystal Custom Homes of Stevensville when he hit a 2-inch gas main maintained by Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. at 1:45 p.m.
The rupture sent gas vapors across Aris T. Allen Boulevard for several blocks and forced fire officials to close off a mile-long stretch of the highway between Chinquapin Road and Route 2, Captain Clark said.
The closure backed up traffic in the Parole area, forcing hundreds of commuters to use Forest Drive or West Street to travel east from Route 2 to residential communities in Bay Ridge, Highland Beach and Arundel on the Bay, Captain Clark said.
The road reopened to traffic at 4:25 p.m.
Driver arrested on gun charges
County police arrested a Lothian man on handgun charges early Wednesday after they found him apparently passed out in his car, which was parked on the shoulder of Sands Road near Route 408, authorities reported.
Officer Keith Hoffman, who was patrolling Wayson's Corner shortly after 3 a.m., spotted a white, 1993 Chevrolet S-10 pickup with a man inside slumped against the door. When he looked into the truck, Officer Hoffman saw a .45-caliber, semiautomatic handgun in a brown holster on the floorboard beneath the driver's seat, police said.
The hammer of the gun was cocked in the single-action position, and the magazine contained eight rounds, police said. Officer Hoffman also found two boxes of spent .357-caliber and .45-caliber rounds inside the car, a .357 Smith and Wesson revolver in a brown holster tucked behind the seat and an open can of Budweiser beer in the truck, police said.
The man told the officer he did not have a permit to carry the gun, and that he had just returned from firing it at a gun range in Forestville, police said.
Ronald Glenn Smith, 33, of the 100 block of Patuxent Mobile Estates was charged with illegal handgun possession and with having an open container in his car.