The following stories have been hand-selected by the Assignment Desk at News4:
TEEN STEALS BUS, GOES FOR A RIDE
The Metro Transit Police Department arrested William Jackson, 19, and charged him with unauthorized use of a vehicle and fleeing the scene of an accident. The details are still a little sketchy but initial reports from Transit officials are that Jackson, while wearing a bus driver's uniform, took a bus from within Metro's Bladensburg facility. He drove from the facility and struck a tree at 17th Street and Massachusetts Avenue around 4:15 p.m. on Friday. A witness to the accident alerted Metro police and they pulled the bus over ending Jackson's joyride. Jackson hopped out of the bus and made a run for it, but was apprehended by police just a few blocks away, according to police. There were no injuries reported as a result of the accident, according to transit officials.
MARYLAND MAN IN SPY SWAP
Galina Zaporozhsky was known on Willow Vista Way in Cockeysville for several things: the cookies she would bake every Christmas for her neighbors, the daily walks she liked to take and the fact that her husband Alexander was in prison in Russia after being convicted of spying for the U.S. On Friday, in the largest spy swap since the Cold War, he was one of four men released by Moscow in exchange for 10 Russian sleeper agents arrested in the U.S. two weeks ago. It was unclear if or when he would return to his Cockeysville house, but in one respect, a homecoming would be bittersweet. His wife died in October while he was serving an 18-year prison sentence in their homeland. One of the couple's two grown sons now lives with his wife in his parents' home and the other lives nearby, according to a next-door neighbor, whose thoughts immediately turned to the young men when she heard the news of the spy swap.
"SYNTHETIC POT" SOLD LOCALLY
In the small backroom of Capitol Hemp, a head shop in Adams Morgan, a worker dutifully arranges an array of ceramic pipes displayed in a well-lit glass case. Another clerk helps a couple of customers as they peruse a selection of bongs and vaporizers.
Stored behind the counter is another amply stocked product whose popularity is booming: "spice," the generic name for a legal "synthetic marijuana." Capitol Hemp owner Adam Eidinger said that in the 18 months since he began stocking spice, demand has doubled each month, and its sales now represent a third of his revenue. On some Fridays, he said, his two District stores can bring in $10,000 from the sale of spice alone. In the District and most states across the country, it is legal to buy and sell spice, whose crushed green leaves are sprayed with various man-made chemicals. When smoked, the treated leaves can produce a marijuana-like high.
METRO TRAIN ON WRONG TRACK
For the second time in two weeks, a Blue Line Metro train was re-routed to the wrong track. Metro says Friday morning maintenance workers near the the Stadium-Armory station mistakenly switched a Blue Line train off course -- sending it over to the Orange Line. The train was headed toward Largo Town Center. The train then reversed and went back to its intended track. Passengers were delayed about 10 minutes, and Metro says they don't believe anyone was put at risk. A Metro employee will be tested for drugs and alcohol, which is standard procedure, and then most likely re-trained, as a result of the incident. Metro says they don't think the mistake was a safety issue, similar to a Blue Line switch incident last week.
STREAMLINING VA REST STOPS
Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell has directed transportation officials to implement four strategies aimed at streamlining and reducing the costs of operating the state's rest areas. The plan is part two of an initiative McDonnell announced during his campaign days. Part one was to reopen 19 rest areas that were closed by former Democrat governor, Tim Kaine, as a means of saving money. "As I promised," McDonnell said, in a written release, "this [reopening] was accom-plished by April 15 and work is now underway to implement long-term solutions that will make running these rest areas more cost effective." In a nutshell, the four strategies look to reduce contracting and maintenance costs at 38 of the state's rest stops; to open up advertising and sponsorship possibilities to the private sector; to solicit grants that will pay for welcome centers; and to go forth with a General Assembly resolution to study ways to increase funding for highway-related causes.