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An analyst in Montgomery "certainly would help them," Shah said.

Prince George's County also lacks an analyst. In Fairfax County, an analyst is studying why the number of traffic-related fatalities jumped from 48 in 1999 to 66 last year. In the past, he has determined where to set up sobriety checkpoints and speed traps, said David Cook, crime analysis coordinator.

"It'd create such a mess for us if we didn't have someone," Cook said. "Some places don't have the need for it, but here you do, with the amount of roads and traffic here."

In Montgomery, police divisions such as special assignments and auto thefts have their own analysts. Each district also has its own analyst who tracks crime statistics and patterns. On Thursday, police credited a Germantown crime analyst for alerting investigators to a pattern of commercial burglaries in Poolesville. The information helped officers make two arrests, police said in a news release.

However, traffic officers often decide to place speed traps and other enforcement on anecdotal evidence, based on the number of complaints that a road receives from neighbors or motorists. Sometimes, supervisors also will gather and tally accident reports.

"Mrs. Jones will call and say, 'They're speeding in front of my home,' " said Buchan, a former traffic officer. "It gets rather ridiculous."

                                     © 2001 The Washington Post

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Hit-and-run driver pleads guilty, faces 10-year prison sentence
by Greg Simmons
Gazette Staff Writer
Jan. 24, 2001

A Washington man faces 10 years in jail after pleading guilty Friday to a Silver Spring hit-and-run involving a 5-year-old boy.

Gregory Augustus, 24, who hit the child and dragged him more than 3,000 feet in Silver Spring last March, pleaded guilty in Montgomery County Circuit Court to second-degree assault and driving with a suspended license.

"We think it's a fair resolution with the case," said Deputy State's Attorney John McCarthy.

Augustus was facing several counts of traffic violations until he entered a pretrial plea agreement, which will allow him to be sentenced under less strict charges. If Augustus' case had gone to trial, he could have faced up to 25 years in prison.

In court Friday, McCarthy revealed several pieces of evidence the state would have used against Augustus had his case gone to trial.

Augustus, who lived in Capitol Heights at the time of the incident, had gone with his wife and friends to shop at City Place mall in Silver Spring, McCarthy said.

About a half-hour later, he separated from the group and went to Ruby Tuesday's, where he began to drink alcohol, the prosecutor said. When his friends found him, they got in an argument at the restaurant and Augustus left, still drunk, McCarthy said.

As Augustus sped down Colesville Road, he turned left onto Georgia Avenue and jumped the median strip, where he hit Byron Lewis Jr., McCarthy said.

McCarthy said Augustus continued down Georgia Avenue. Witnesses could hear the "swishing" underneath the car.

According to a 911 call, several people came up to the Augustus' car yelling at him to stop while he was at the traffic light at Wayne Avenue along Georgia Avenue.

Augustus turned left onto Bonifant Street and then turned right onto Fenton Street. McCarthy said the child was dislodged from the car on Fenton Street, about 3,200 feet after the car had hit him.

Rescue personnel took Lewis to Children's National Medical Center in Washington with a broken leg and pelvis. Lewis also lost an ear and received severe road burns.

Augustus will be sentenced at 9:30 a.m. April 19 by Judge DeLawrence Beard.

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