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Laurel Mayor asks state to investigate notorious intersection

LAUREL, Md. (WUSA9) -- The third fatal wreck since 2011 on a notorious stretch of Maryland Route 198 has Laurel Mayor Craig Moe demanding an investigation by the Maryland State Highway Administration.

"The road is heavily traveled not only by traffic but by pedestrians," Moe said.

Man dead after accident involving tour bus in Laurel​

A Thursday evening accident claimed the life of Michael E. Palomo, 45, of Silver Spring. Palomo's pickup truck was hit by a tour bus turning left. Seven passengers on the bus were taken to hospitals.

Man dead after accident involving tour bus in Laurel

LAUREL, Md. (WUSA9) -- A man died after an accident involving a tour bus and a pickup truck in Laurel.

According to a Laurel spokesperson, the accident happened just before 7 p.m. at the intersection of Laurel-Fort Meade Road (Route 198) and Brock Ridge Road. A preliminary investigation indicates that the bus was trying to turn into a shopping center parking lot and failed to yield to the pickup truck, who was trying to exit the parking lot. 

The driver of the truck, Michael Eric Palomo, 45, of Silver Spring, was trapped in his vehicle and later succumbed to his injuries. 

There were 58 people on board the bus at the time of the accident and seven passengers were taken to a hospital after complaining about pain from the crash. The spokesperson said their injuries are not life-threatening.  

Laurel woman dies from West Nile Virus

LAUREL, Md. (WUSA9) -- A 94-year-old Laurel woman has died from the West Nile Virus, according to family members.

Japonette Mount of the 1000 block of 8th Street in Laurel passed away on September 8 at the Baltimore VA Medical Center, her daughters told Laurel officials.

Mount is the second person to die from West Nile Virus in Maryland this year. An older man from Baltimore County died from the disease the same day as Mount. 

Laurel officials say while they can not confirm where Mount became infected they are collecting samples from her home to determine if any mosquitoes were infected. 

Symptoms of West Nile Virus usually show up within 14 days following the bite of an infected mosquito. They include:

•Body aches.
•Back pain.
•Skin rash (occasionally)
•Swollen lymph glands (occasionally)
•Eye pain (occasionally)

Proposed bill would require transparency in hospital closures

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WUSA9) -- Elected officials in Maryland announced a bill Tuesday that would enable the Prince George's County Council to decide whether government funded hospitals can close.

The bill, which was also announced by healthcare union 1199SEIU, is proposed less than two months after Dimensions Health System announced a plan to close the maternal and child health unit at Laurel Regional Hospital.

Under the bill, hospitals would be required to give the Board of Health 90 days notice before a closure and the board would be required to hold a public hearing within five miles of the hospital no more than 30 days after receiving the closure notice.

Md. man arrested for sexually assaulting girl before birthday party

LAUREL, Md. (WUSA9) -- A Laurel man was arrested Thursday after police say he sexually assaulted a seven-year-old girl while her family was setting up for her birthday party.

Luis Alberto Cruz-Aguilar is accused of sexually assaulting the girl while at her house in August to help the family set up for the party. Laurel police say he lured the girl into another room, sexually assaulted her and left the house.

The family only knew Cruz-Aguilar, 40, as an acquaintance and did not have his address, police said.

Cruz-Aguilar was arrested Thursday morning at a job site in Baltimore County by Laurel police. He was taken into custody without incident.

Laurel leaders discuss hospital closing

LAUREL, Md. (WUSA9) -- Elected officials in Laurel, along with state and county officials, held a news conference Tuesday to discuss the upcoming changes at Laurel regional hospital.

Next month, 38 workers, mostly labor and delivery nurses, will be laid off when the maternal and child health unit closes.

The change comes as the Laurel hospital transitions from a full-service hospital to an ambulatory care center.

Many workers at the hospital are however worried about their financial security.

"Instead of feeling appreciated, they feel fear. They are worried for their futures and many are scrambling to find new jobs, wondering how they will continue to pay the bills and take care of their families," Jennifer Epps, Vice President of SEIU #1199 said.

Baltimore Co. Fire Lt. dies in Laurel motorcycle crash


LAUREL, Md. (WUSA9) -- A double fatal motorcycle crash killed two men Sunday in Laurel. One of the victims has been identified as a Baltimore County fire lieutenant, according to police.

Hubert Harrison Jr., 63, of Bowie, Md. has been identified as one of the victims in the crash. Fire officials confirmed he was a Baltimore County fire lieutenant. Police say he was on his way home from work.

Officials say he was with the Baltimore County Fire Department for nearly 29 years.

The other victim has been identified as Fahad Iqbal, 23, of Laurel, Md., police said.

Both men were on motorcycles and pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

The accident happened around 4:30 a.m. on Route 197 at Basswood Drive just east of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.