Man sitting on car shot 15 timesA...

THE BALTIMORE EVENING SUN

Man sitting on car shot 15 times

A 22-year-old man was shot 15 times and critically wounded early today as he sat on a car near his home, police said.

The victim, Lee Wesley Lane, of the 1900 block of Perlman Place, was in critical condition today at the Shock-Trauma Unit in Baltimore.

Homicide detective Charles Gilbert said Lane was sitting on the hood of the car about a half-block from his home shortly after midnight when a man walked up and fired at least 16 shots from a semiautomatic handgun. Among Lane's wounds were "seven or eight" to the buttocks and one to the head, although the bullet did not penetrate the skull.

A 16-year-old boy, who was standing near the car, received a graze wound of the right leg. He was treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital and released, police said.

L Gilbert said 16 empty shell casings were found at the scene.

A motive for the shooting was unknown, Gilbert said. Witnesses were unable to provide a good description of the gunman.

Asphyxiation caused death:

Asphyxiation caused the death of Anna Keusch, the 86-year-old Canton store owner who was killed over the weekend, police said.

Keusch, a widow for several years, lived in the second-floor apartment above John's Grocery in the 3000 block of Dillon St., a store she had owned or leased for about 30 years, police said.

Police said Keusch's body was found in her bed when an employee arrived for work around 8 a.m. Saturday. The store had been ransacked and the woman's apartment door was open, police said.

U.S. 11 bridge closing

Maryland State

Maryland highway officials are closing the U.S. 11 bridge over the Potomac River in Washington County for a month's worth of emergency repairs.

The work was ordered after a routine inspection found that one of the 82-year-old bridge's support piers was sinking.

Earle Freedman, the state's chief bridge engineer, said that the two-lane bridge is expected to reopen to vehicles weighing less than 7,000 pounds July 3, after the initial phase of the $400,000 repair job.

The 1,700-foot-long steel girder structure, southwest of Hagerstown, is expected to reopen to vehicles weighing more than 7,000 pounds by mid-August.

The contractor on the project is expected to work seven days a week through June to shore up the sinking pier and reopen the bridge to light traffic, Freedman said. The contractor will then buttress the other three piers not built on bedrock, he said,

before the bridge fully reopens in mid-August.

Lotto jackpot hits $4 million:

The jackpot for Wednesday night's drawing of the Maryland Lotto game has grown to $4 million since Saturday's drawing failed to produce a winner, lottery officials said today.

The winning numbers drawn Saturday night were 03, 14, 24, 29, 41, 45.

Lottery spokeswoman Theresa Gutierrez said 45 people matched five of the six winning numbers; they are to collect $1,424 each. Another 2,942 bettors matched four of the six numbers drawn Saturday night. Their tickets are each worth $7.

Pharmacist of the year:

Paul F. Jarosinski, 39, coordinator of oncology pharmacy at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, has been chosen pharmacist of the year for the U.S. Public Health Service.

Jarosinski's father, Simon J. Jarosinski, is an alternate member of the Baltimore County Liquor Board and lives in Timonium. The award is a national one among the 700 pharmacists who work for the public health service. Paul Jarosinski has worked for the service for 15 years.

Sky divers escape:

Eleven sky divers narrowly escaped from a twin-engine plane before it burst into flames after crash-landing in a field in Southern Maryland, State Police said.

The plane barely missed several homes before crash-landing shortly after takeoff yesterday from St. Mary's County Airport in Hollywood. Three people, including the pilot, were slightly injured.

Researcher lands $125,000

Anne Arundel County

Naval Academy ocean engineering professor has been selected by the National Science Foundation as a Presidential Young Investigator.

David L. Kriebel, 32, has been recognized for his teaching and research accomplishments. The award includes a five-year grant support further research.

As a Presidential Young Investigator, Kriebel will receive $25,000 for each of five years to fund basic research. If Kriebel can obtain matching funds of $37,500 each year, the foundation will make another $37,500 available to him.

Kriebel's principal research is in the area of coastal erosion. He developed a computer model, now used around the world, that predicts dune erosion in severe storms. With funding from the award, Kriebel hopes to continue refining his numerical erosion models and measure wave and current interaction with ocean engineering structures such as breakwaters and offshore platforms.

Light rail funding argued

Baltimore County

Baltimore County residents who oppose the northern light rail line are contending in court that a county bond-issue referendum that provided local funds for the line was too vaguely worded.

A judge heard arguments last week in a suit that the Northern Light Rail Community Coalition had filed last fall in county Circuit Court. The suit alleges that a November ballot question that sought approval for $80 million in public works did not make it clear that some of the money would be used for light rail.

Judge Alfred L. Brennan Sr. said he was unsure how long it will take him to decide the issue.

The bond issue, which passed by a vote of 79,442 to 52,926, asked voters to authorize the county "to borrow $80,210,000 for public work purposes, for the class of projects which includes among other things streets and highways, bridges and storm drainage systems to be undertaken in the next ensuing two fiscal years."

"I think people were sufficiently informed here," Michael McMahon, assistant county attorney, said at the hearing. "Here, the purpose is to borrow money for public works projects . . . which would include light rail. There is information available to the interested voter."

But Phillip G. Dantes, an attorney for the coalition, called the referendum "completely misleading and inaccurate."

"The ballot language did not infer in any fashion that part of that money would be [given to] the state's light rail project," he said.

The decision could cost the state Department of Transportation $10 million -- two-thirds of the county's share of construction costs for the light rail transit line, which will eventually run from northern Anne Arundel County through Baltimore to Hunt Valley in Baltimore County.

$617,588 left to college

Carroll County

Western Maryland College has received a bequest of $617,588 from the estate of Isabel I. Royer, professor emerita of biology at the college, for use in annual student scholarships.

Royer, who taught biology at Western Maryland from 1942 to 1979, died last June.

The Westminster college is to distribute the money among three scholarship endowments that Royer established after her retirement. The money is to be apportioned as follows:

* $110,000 to the Dr. Alvey Michael Isanogle Memorial Scholarship Fund, set up in 1952 as a memorial to Royer's first husband, who spent much of his career as dean of the School of Education at the college. The fund aids students "who demonstrate a true interest in academic pursuits." It is to disburse about $7,200 each year.

* $50,000 to the Isabel I. Royer Biology Scholarship Fund, which was endowed through Dr. Royer's will on behalf of students who excel in biology. It is expected to generate about $3,200 a year.

* $457,578 to the Isabel I. Royer Scholarship Fund, also established through Royer's will, which aids students who show financial need and academic promise. It is expected to generate about $30,000 annually.

Free English classes starting

Harford County

Harford Community College is offering free day and evening classes for foreign-born adults who wish to improve their English skills.

Instruction is offered in reading, writing and speaking skills. Classes are offered in the Bel Air and Edgewood areas. Adults new to the program may enroll by attending one of two advising sessions this week.

The sessions are scheduled for 6:30 tonight at Bel Air High School, 100 Heighe St., Bel Air, and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Edgewood High School, 2415 Willoughby Beach Road, Edgewood.

People who have already attended the classes but wish to enroll again may do so by phone.

For more information, call the college at 836-4152 or 836-4115.

Jury selection may take weeks

Howard County

Juryy selection began today in Howard County Circuit Court in the trial of a New York man accused of killing a Maryland state trooper.

Selection of a jury in the trial of Eric Tirado, 27, is expected to take as long as two weeks because of pretrial publicity, attorneys say. Tirado is charged with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Trooper Theodore Wolf during a traffic stop on Interstate 95 on March 29, 1990. The prosecution is seeking the death penalty.

Tirado, of the Bronx, N.Y., and Francisco Rodriguez, 21, were arrested in the Bronx about two weeks after the slaying and charged with murder. About 10 days later, Roberto Rodriguez, 28, a Honduran national, also was arrested in the case. He later pleaded guilty to car theft.

The publicity following Wolf's slaying probably will pose the biggest obstacle to jury selection, according to prosecutors and defense attorneys. Sixty prospective jurors a day will be interviewed until a dozen are chosen.

"It'll be really, really tough," said Mark Van Bavel, Tirado's attorney. "There's no way we'll seat a jury by the end of this week. Absolutely not. Not a chance."

A panel of 500 prospective jurors has been assembled, the largest jury panel in county history, lawyers said.

Sales clerk's death investigated

Baltimore County police are investigating the death of a 22-year-old sales clerk who was found stabbed to death at a weight loss center.

The body of Gina Courtalis, of the 4200 block of Darnall Road, was found about 5:30 a.m. yesterday in the file room of the Nutri-System Weight Loss Center in the Towson Market Place in the 1200 block of Putty Hill Ave., police said.

Courtalis' upper back had multiple puncture wounds, police said.

Courtalis, a graduate of Perry Hall High School, had worked at the store for about 18 months and was to close the store between 1:30 and 3 p.m. Saturday, police said.

When she failed to return home Saturday, her mother called police and reported her missing at 4:30 a.m. yesterday.

Family members went to the store yesterday and found the victim's Nissan Pulsar parked at a curb. Courtalis' keys were on the counter in the weight loss center, police said, and there were no signs of ransacking or forced entry.

Police believe the center's door was unlocked or contained a defective lock, which allowed the assailant or assailants to gain entrance.

Employees of the center were grim yesterday. "Everybody's sort of in shock," said one.

"The employees are taking it pretty rough," the worker continued. "She was a pretty sweet girl. Everybody liked her."

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