City / County Digest

CITY / COUNTY DIGEST

October 09, 2007

Ex-Arundel schools head named to Florida post

Former Anne Arundel County schools Superintendent Eric J. Smith was named yesterday as Florida's education commissioner.

The Florida State Board of Education voted unanimously to select Smith after a second round of interviews with three finalists for the post.

Smith "has the skills and experience that Florida's education system needs, and I look forward to working with him in the future," school board Chairman T. Willard Fair said in a statement released by the state agency.

Smith took over the Anne Arundel system in 2002. Although the schools showed strong progress during his tenure - all elementary schools met state targets on standardized tests in his final year, and the scores of black high school students ranked among the top 10 in the state - he rankled the county teachers union. The union was poised to vote on a no-confidence motion when Smith abruptly resigned in 2005.

Baltimore

: Park Heights

Police officer struck by car

A Baltimore police officer was treated for an injured shoulder and arm last night after she was sideswiped by a car while clearing an accident scene in Park Heights, a city police spokesman said.

The officer was standing in the northbound lane of Park Heights Avenue at Pinkney Road shortly before 8 p.m., near the accident scene, when the vehicle struck her, said Agent Donny Moses, a police spokesman.

The officer, who joined the force less than a year ago, was taken to Sinai Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening. Her name was not released last night.

Police are still investigating the incident, and it was unclear whether charges would be filed against the driver.

Liz F. Kay

Anne Arundel

: Arnold

Motorcyclist injured in collision with car

A motorcyclist was in critical condition yesterday after his bike collided with a car on a busy Arnold road, police said.

Police said the driver of a 2001 Volkswagen Jetta was crossing the southbound lanes of Route 2 to get into the turn lanes for College Parkway about 8 p.m. Sunday when he drove into the path of two southbound motorcycles. He hit the right side of a 2001 Suzuki motorcycle, and the rider, 22-year-old Kyle B. Heck of Severna Park, was thrown from the bike.

Heck, who was wearing a helmet, suffered life-threatening internal injuries and was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was stable and in critical condition.

Prince George's

: Largo

Six Flags ride investigated

State officials are investigating problems with a Six Flags America roller coaster that left 25 people suspended in the air for almost two hours Saturday evening.

A spokeswoman for Six Flags, whose company board is chaired by Washington-area businessman and Redskins owner Dan Snyder, said no one was injured on the ride, called Two Face: The Flip Side.

Karin Korpowski, the park's public relations manager, said the roller coaster was retrieved manually and, in the process, some passengers were exposed to hydraulic solution from a nearby line.

"They were all offered complete decontamination but they all refused," she said. Two people asked to be evaluated at a local hospital.

The coaster passed its annual inspection this year and has operated at the Largo amusement park since 1999.

Jennifer Skalka

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