Local Leads: 10/25/2009

News you need to know

By Michelle Tetu
|  Sunday, Oct 25, 2009  |  Updated 9:15 AM EDT
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Local Leads: Dulles Plane Turbulence and Deadly Parkway Crash

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The following stories have been hand-selected by the Assignment Desk at News4:


Two people were killed Saturday in a four-car crash on the Fairfax County Parkway, county police said.  They said heavy downpours that swept across the area during the late afternoon and evening probably contributed to the collision.  The crash occurred near Hooes Road about 5 p.m., when two cars headed north on the parkway veered into the southbound lanes and collided with two southbound vehicles.  The two people killed were in one of the northbound vehicles, the county police said.  Three children were taken to a hospital. Their injuries were described as non-life-threatening.

Students at the College of William and Mary have elected a transgender homecoming queen.  Jessee Vasold took the field Saturday at halftime of the Williamsburg school's football game against James Madison. The junior and other members of the homecoming court were introduced to the crowd and posed for pictures.  Vasold identifies as "genderqueer," a term for those who don't adhere to either strictly male or strictly female gender roles.  Students nominated and elected Vasold, who will represent the Class of 2011. An e-mail message left for Vasold on Saturday wasn't immediately returned.  "William and Mary is a diverse and inclusive community, and student selections to this year's Homecoming Court reflect that," school spokesman Brian Whitson said in an e-mail.

A Chinatown-based cultural group's plan to build an 11-foot mosaic to spruce up a "monotone" wall at the entrance of a Northwest D.C. Metro station hit a snag when the local black artist selected for the project was criticized because her designs weren't considered Chinese enough.  The designs were displayed at a meeting last week of the Chinatown Community Cultural Center, a nonprofit that seeks to preserve and promote the District's Chinatown and celebrate Chinese culture.  Among the crowd of 30 or so community members was a handful of Chinese-American artists and cultural experts, who became aware of the project after an e-mail announcement of the meeting. The group objected to the designs.  "If the currently proposed mural design is put up, it's nonsense," said Chung-wen Shih, a retired George Washington University professor who has produced television documentaries on Chinese culture. "We want a Chinese landmark in this city to be done right."

At least two people were injured Saturday when an airliner encountered turbulence as it approached Dulles International Airport, authorities said.  The two, a flight attendant and a passenger who had been aboard a United Express flight from Parkersburg W.Va., were treated at a hospital and released, said a spokesman for Colgan Air, Inc., which operated the flight.  The plane, a two engine SAAB 340 was at an altitude of about 11,000 feet with 11 passengers and a crew of three when it encountered turbulence, said Joe Williams, a spokesman for Pinnacle Airlines Corp., of which Colgan is a subsidiary.  He said the seat belt sign was on and the plane landed safely. However, he said, the flight attendant and a female passenger both hit their heads. No details of the injuries or how they were incurred were known immediately.


A man is in custody in connection with a hit-and-run crash that killed a Johns Hopkins University student.  Officers arrested Thomas Lee Meighan Jr., 39, of Sykesville, on Saturday.  The crash that killed Miriam Frankl happened on Oct. 16 near Saint Paul Street and West University Parkway in North Baltimore.  Frankl was a junior molecular and cell biology student.  Investigators did not say what charges Meighan is facing, if any.

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