Maryland Briefs

MARYLAND BRIEFS

October 17, 2008

2 students arrested for throwing chemical bombs

Two Patterson High School students have been arrested and charged with detonating two bottles containing chemicals within minutes of each other in the school during classes Tuesday, forcing an evacuation. A school police officer inhaled fumes and was treated at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and released. No students or staff members were injured. The names of the students charged, believed to be juveniles, were not released. One was arrested Tuesday and the other Wednesday. The first bottle bomb blew up in a locker about noon and caused school personnel to order an evacuation of all students and staff as firefighters arrived. While the evacuation was in progress, a second bottle bomb exploded in the cafeteria. Edie House, a school system spokeswoman, said students were dismissed for the day at about 1:30 p.m., but were allowed back into the school in the 100 block of Kane St. to retrieve their belongings before going home. Chief Kevin Cartwright, a city Fire Department spokesman, said, "These types of malicious incidents pose a serious threat to the safety of everyone, especially in a school atmosphere, and authorities are expected to prosecute those involved to the fullest extent of the law."

Richard Irwin

Baltimore man pleads guilty in check scheme

A Baltimore man pleaded guilty yesterday in a scheme to steal U.S. Treasury checks and cash them using false identification, the U.S. attorney's office said in a news release. From May 2006 to May 2007, Maurice Whitfield, 34, was given Treasury checks stolen from the mail and cashed them at check-cashing stores using fake Maryland identification, the news release said. Whitfield received a percentage of each check and gave the rest to his partner, according to the U.S. attorney's office. Over the course of a year, he cashed more than $100,000 in stolen checks, according to U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. Whitfield, also known as David Johnson, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, forged endorsement of a Treasury check and aggravated identity theft. He could face up to 32 years in prison under all charges and fines up to $500,000. Sentencing has been set for Jan. 23.

U.S. Power Boat Show opens in Annapolis

The United States Power Boat Show has begun in Annapolis. The show opened yesterday and runs through Sunday. Ed Hartman, president and CEO of the United States Yacht Shows, says the recently ended sailboat show drew about 50,000 people. Hartman says that's about 2 percent lower than last year's record attendance. Though the powerboat show features more watercraft, Hartman says the sailboat show usually has higher attendance.

Associated Press

Woman's body found near Suitland Parkway

U.S. Park Police say they've found the body of a missing Maryland woman in the woods along Suitland Parkway in Prince George's County. They say she was involved in a crash more than a week ago. Officers responded to a report of a body found in the woods off the eastbound lanes of Suitland Parkway west of Suitland Road about 1:30 p.m. yesterday. Police say the woman, identified as 50-year-old Jean Kearny of Forestville, was involved in a crash Oct. 7. The incident is being investigated by the Criminal Investigation Branch. Prince George's police said Kearny was reported missing and had not been seen since she left her daughter's Forestville home about 10:30 p.m. Oct. 6.

Associated Press

Meeting on high school racial dispute concludes

Athletic officials from two high schools embroiled in a racial dispute have concluded a meeting in Hagerstown mediated by the U.S. Justice Department. Allegany County Public Schools spokeswoman Mia Perlozzo says the mediator has asked both sides not to comment on the meeting among the athletic directors and head football coaches of Dunbar High School in the District of Columbia and Fort Hill High School in Cumberland. She says the Allegany school system, which includes Fort Hill, may release information about the mediator's written findings as soon as next week. The meeting lasted less than three hours. The dispute involves accusations by Dunbar Coach Craig Jeffries and some black players on his team that players on the mostly white Fort Hill team used racial slurs during a game in Cumberland on Sept. 19. Jeffries pulled his team from the field, saying he feared the situation would become violent. His decision caused Dunbar to forfeit the game.

Associated Press

Cumberland officer guilty of driving while intoxicated

A Cumberland police officer has pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated after crashing his motorcycle while off duty. Eric Bittner, 38, was granted probation before judgment, placed on 18 months supervised probation and fined $250 during a hearing Tuesday in Allegany County District Court. Prosecutors dropped other charges, including speeding and attempting to elude police. Police Capt. Kevin Ogle says Bittner remains on administrative duty while the department conducts an internal investigation. Police in nearby Frostburg say the 10-year veteran crashed his motorcycle on U.S. Route 40 after a brief chase May 27. They say Bittner rode the bike despite promising not to drive when police confronted him at a Frostburg tavern an hour earlier.

Associated Press

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