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    Mayor Neil O’Leary is speaking out after the governor of Maine placed blame on Waterbury for bringing drugs into his state.

    "We need to find solutions to problems and not be pointing fingers and name calling," O’Leary said Friday. "And that’s what saddens me, a governor would stoop to that level."

    During a town hall Wednesday night, this is how Governor Paul LePage of Maine addressed the drug epidemic:

    "I don't ask them to come to Maine and sell their poison but they come," Gov. LePage said. "And I will tell you that ninety plus percent of those pictures in my book and it's a three ring binder are black and Hispanic people from Waterbury, Connecticut the Bronx and Brooklyn."

    O’Leary would not go so far as to call the comments racist, but he said Governor LePage’s statement is no way to tackle a serious issue hurting communities across the region.

    "To talk about a drug epidemic in terms of race is never a good idea because it’s just not right," he told NBC Connecticut.

    O’Leary said the ongoing drug crisis right now is worse than anything he saw during his 32 years in law enforcement.

    "There is a significant heroin epidemic going on in the United States of America right now and its taking people’s lives every single day," O’Leary said.

    ALCU of Connecticut interim executive director David McGuire issued a statement to NBC Connecticut.

    "We applaud our sister affiliate, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, for speaking out against racism and seeking to get to the bottom of whether racial profiling—or profiling of Connecticut residents—is happening in Maine."

    Instead of blaming certain cities and minorities, Mayor O’Leary said elected officials and law enforcement from across New England should work together on cutting off the supply of potentially deadly drugs.

    "We’d be happy to do that," he said. "But we’re certainly not going to get caught into any racial derogatory commentary any further."

    O’Leary pointed out three recent overdose victims in his city were all white.



    Photo Credit: AP

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    Police are searching for a man for strangulation in Cheshire. 

    An active arrest warrant has been issued for Bradley Michaels on charges for second-degree assault and second-degree strangulation from a domestic incident on Monday.

    Michaels could be operating a 2014 Lexus IS250 AWD with the Connecticut license that reads 3AJSV9.

    Anyone with information is asked to call Cheshire Police at (203) 271-5500.



    Photo Credit: Cheshire Police

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    Connecticut Department of Transportation officials and Gov. Dannel Malloy announced Friday the major construction project on I-84 in Waterbury should be finished sooner than originally planned because of the mild winter and a dedicated construction team.

    Construction crews Friday morning continued the rock excavation clearing the way for I-84’s new alignment through Waterbury.

    “You could fill the Yale bowl to the height of 55 feet with the rock that we’ve already moved,” Malloy said of the project’s progress.

    A year and a half after breaking ground, DOT officials said the project covering the 2.7 mile stretch of highway is 10 months ahead of schedule.

    “I guess they are ahead of schedule which is good news,” said David Shea of Waterbury, “but when is it going to end?”

    “What are the commutes like during all this construction?” NBC Connecticut asked Lauren Lombardo, who drives from Meriden to Waterbury for work.

    “In the morning it’s slow,” she said. “But in the afternoon it’s just dead-stopped and takes me a little while to get here so I have to give myself some extra time.”

    The project is getting rid of the interstate’s S-curve shape and widening the road to add shoulders and a third travel lane in each direction.

    “Once the three lanes come it’s going to be a nice smooth ride,” Lombardo said.

    The improvements to the highway are paving the way for economic development, Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary said.

    “The interest in the property and the undeveloped property on the east side of Waterbury has gone up tremendously since this project actually got the shovels in the ground,” he said.

    By summer 2019, a year earlier than expected, Gov. Malloy said the work should be finished and there will be three flowing lanes of traffic in both directions.

    "This is a blueprint project for how we are going to be doing things in the future using new construction methods, new monitoring methods," Malloy said.

    For weekly updates on the construction project, visit the website.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Donald Trump's personal physician said he wrote a letter declaring the Republican nominee would be the healthiest president in history in just five minutes while a limo sent by the candidate waited outside his Manhattan office.

    Dr. Harold Bornstein, who has been Trump's doctor for 35 years, told NBC News on Friday that he stands by his glowing assessment of the 70-year-old's physical state.

    "His health is excellent, especially his mental health," he said in an exclusive interview at his Park Avenue office.

    In his letter, Bornstein said there were no "significant medical problems" in Trump's history and that a recent examination "showed only positive results." The letter was written and released in December but has drawn fresh scrutiny in recent days as Trump's allies have questioned Hillary Clinton's health. 



    Photo Credit: NBC News
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    Dr. Harold Bornstein in his New York City office on Friday, August 26, 2016. He told NBC News that he stands by his assessment of his longtime patient, Donald Trump, as the man who would be the healthiest president in history.Dr. Harold Bornstein in his New York City office on Friday, August 26, 2016. He told NBC News that he stands by his assessment of his longtime patient, Donald Trump, as the man who would be the healthiest president in history.

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    Whirlpool is recalling microwave hood combinations after getting five reports of incidents, including a home fire, two fires involving surrounding cabinets, smoke and burning odor.

    Customers should immediately stop using the recalled microwaves, unplug the units and contact Whirlpool for a free replacement product. 

    The microwaves were sold at Best Buy, HH Gregg, Lowes, Sears and other stores from January 2014 through April 2016 for between $370 and $470.

    For a list of all the recalled microwave hood combinations, click here


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    An arrest has been made in the New Britain church shooting that happened last Friday, police told NBC Connecticut.

    New Britain Police said one person is in custody following the shooting that happened on Arch Street near the church around 8 p.m on Aug. 19.

    Resonding offers found a 77-year-old Angela Semidey, who is married to the pastor, suffering from a gunshot wound to her leg at the Arch Street Church: Iglesia Cristiana El Sigue Siendo Dios.

    "I had all the children outside, trying to push them inside so that none of them would be hurt… putting them inside. I was the last one that went inside and so I felt something that hit me in the area above my hips," said Semidey, in Spanish to NBC Connecticut.

    Friday police arrested Kunta Kinta Cupe, 39, of Branford for the shooting and charged him with one count each of assault first-degree and criminal attempt assault first-degree; and two counts each of criminal possession of a firearm and criminal use of a firearm.

    Cupe's bond was set at $750,000.


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  • 08/26/16--18:41: Back-to-School Police Escort

  • Four-year-old Jackson Scherlen didn't have his father at his side on the first day of pre-K in Texas this week. But he did have about 20 of his father's brothers and sisters from the Amarillo Police Department to give him a hug and wish him the best.

    Officer Justin Scherlen never missed the first day of school for his four children, according to the Amarillo Independent School District, but he died recently from complications of an on-duty vehicle crash that took place last year.

    He left behind his children and wife, Jessica, and to help fill the void as the kids when back to school, nearly two dozen of his fellow officers escorted them to school on their first day, the school district said.

    Jackson hugged and high fived every one of the officers before going to class at at Coronado Elementary School.

    "You have fun, OK? Be good," says one officer, as seen in video of the goodbye.

    "See you, bud. Have a good day at school," says another.

    The group posed for photos outside the school as well, preserving a bittersweet memory for the Scherlen family and their larger family at Amarillo PD.

    "As a police department we feel like we're a family. We're around each other so much that we get to know each other, we get to know each other’s families that we feel that close,” Officer Jeb Hilton told NBC affiliate KAMR in Amarillo. 

    The station reports that two of Scherlen's other children, a fourth and a second grader, were also escorted to school Monday, before the officers returned to take Jackson to his pre-Kindergarten class.



    Photo Credit: Amarillo ISD

    Nearly two dozen Amarillo police officers escorted the 4-year-old son of a fallen officer to school on his first day.Nearly two dozen Amarillo police officers escorted the 4-year-old son of a fallen officer to school on his first day.

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    Train cars carrying trash were on fire in Hartford on Friday night.

    Hartford Police Department said police and fire department were on the scene of the fire near Flower Street.

    The fire is contained.

    Flower Street going northbound was closed. 

    There was no other information immediately available. 


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    Stephen Bannon's appointment as chief executive of Donald Trump's campaign has drawn scrutiny to his personal history, including a 1996 arrest in a domestic-violence case that was ultimately dismissed, NBC News reported.

    Court records show that Bannon was charged with three misdemeanors in Santa Monica, California, on Feb. 22, 1996, after his then-wife claimed he attacked her.

    A police report obtained by Politico and confirmed by NBC News details a New Year's argument about finances that allegedly became physical. He pleaded not guilty to the charges, and about six months later the case was dismissed after prosecutors said they could not find his wife, court documents show.

    Asked about the old charges, a personal spokeswoman for Bannon noted they had been dismissed, while the Trump campaign did not comment.



    Photo Credit: AP, File

    Stephen Bannon, campaign chairman for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, attends Trump's Hispanic advisory roundtable meeting in New York, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016.Stephen Bannon, campaign chairman for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, attends Trump's Hispanic advisory roundtable meeting in New York, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016.

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    The city of Hartford's investment in the Downtown North development, which is anchored by the new Dunkin' Donuts ballpark in Hartford, is $102 million, according to an internal audit, but the city has not yet paid the former developer's last invoice and auditors said they cannot estimate what the final cost to finish the stadium will actually be. 

    The park was supposed to open in April, when the Hartford Yard Goats' inaugural season started, but it was not done and the city fired the developer, Centerplan, in June. The stadium still sits unfinished and Arch Insurance, the surety company for the project, is in the process of determining what work needs to be done to finish the stadium. 

    During the investiation, Arch Insurance has been negotiating with the City of Hartford about the possibility of assuming responsibility and completing Dunkin' Donuts stadium, according to the company's vice president. 

    "While Arch and the (City of Hartford) have made a lot of progress in these negotiations, the complexities of the city’s contract has led to difficult decisions by all parties including the City, Arch, Centerplan, and the City’s architect," Patrick Nails told NBC Connecticut. 

    On Thursday, the Eastern League, which the team belongs, directed the Yard Goats to come up with an alternate plan should the Hartford stadium not be finished in time for the start of the 2017 season in April. 

    A memo from the chief auditor to the city's internal audit commission says the city has $4.4 million left for the DONO project, but has not paid the nearly $5 million May 2016 invoice to Centerplan. 

    The memo also says the internal audit cannot estimate the expected cost to finish the stadium and the city is working on an alternate financial plan to finish the stadium should Arch not cover the costs to finish the project. 

    The figures used come from city of Hartford official records, but don't include litigation costs associated with Centerplan/DONO vs. the City of Hartford.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    Dunkin' Donuts Park in HartfordDunkin' Donuts Park in Hartford

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    Noelia Colon and her three children were attending bible study at the Arch Street Church Inglesia Cristiana El Sigue Siendo Dios, when shots were fired last Friday.

    "The first picture that came to my mind was, 'Is one of my kids outside somewhere on the ground with a gunshot wound?'" said Colon.

    Her son, Yaxdiel, was out back with his brother, 8-year-old Sammy, and his sister, 6-year-old Julie. His siblings were among the first to be ushered back inside by church members. Colon said she grabbed her children, but didn’t see Yaxdiel.

    "I didn’t see my three year old so I started running toward the door," Colon said.

    Seconds later Yaxdiel stumbled in. He had just been blocked from a bullet by the pastor’s wife, Angela Semidey. The bullet went through the back of her right hip and out through her thigh.

    “I look at her and she tells me ‘I’m hit. I’m hit,’ and she is holding on to her thigh,” Colon said.

    After she was released from the hospital Semidey spoke with NBC Connecticut about the attack.

    “That bullet was going to be for that little boy. God took care of him,” Semidey said in Spanish.

    Colon agrees and said seconds could have meant her son taking a bullet to his head.

    "I don’t know how I am going to repay her," Colon said.

    Colon’s gratitude also extends to the New Britain Police Department.

    On Friday they arrested Kunta Kinta Cupe of Branford and charged him with one count each of First Degree Assault and Criminal Attempt Assault, first Degree and two counts each of Criminal Possession of a Firearm and Criminal Use of a Firearm. While Cupe waits to appear before a judge on August 29, Colon said she plans to go back to church.

    "You kind of take for granted your daily activities, but now I appreciate everyone I come across."


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    The 32nd Annual Hot Air Balloon Festival kicked off in Plainville on Friday.

    Thousands flocked to Norton Park to grab food, check out vendors, and most importantly see about a dozen hot air balloons.

    The event is a fundraiser for the Plainville Fire Company.

    This year organizers hoped to avoid the traffic gridlock of previous years due to increasing crowds headed to the festival.

    During the three-day festival, public parking will not be available on Friday or Saturday at the park.

    People are requested to park in one of four off-site locations and then take a shuttle to the site.

    The lots include Robertson Airport and Carling Technologies, both on Johnson Avenue. The other locations include the GE main parking lot on Woodford Avenue and Plainville High School.

    Regular festival-goers said they noticed the ease in traveling to the festival this year.

    On Friday about a dozen balloon teams took place in a so-called “glow.”

    Balloons are tethered to the ground and illuminated in the dark with their flames, delighting the crowd of thousands of people.

    “Absolutely gorgeous. I’ve never experienced anything like this,” said Jill Polverari of Southington.

    Pilot David Buckingham oversaw a crew and volunteers.

    They rolled out, blew up, and raised the balloon in about 20 minutes.

    Buckingham's balloon will take flight several times this weekend.

    “It’s amazing. To me it’s the best way to fly,” said Buckingham.

    If you want to come down Saturday or Sunday, admission is free.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that the U.S. and Russia are close to a deal that could end the fighting in Syria, NBC News reported.

    "Today I can say we achieved clarity on the path forward," Kerry said in Geneva, where he and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov have been negotiating on a way to reach a ceasefire. Kerry cautioned there is more work to do, but added, “we are close.”

    Sources close to the negotiations told NBC News the framework of the agreement being discussed includes a nationwide ceasefire and unrestricted access given to humanitarian groups.

    Still, some of those involved in the negotiations expressed concern that even if a deal was reached, it would not hold for long.



    Photo Credit: AP

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, arrive for a meeting in Vienna, Austria, Monday May 16, 2016.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, arrive for a meeting in Vienna, Austria, Monday May 16, 2016.

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    Despite Friday’s rain, the moderate drought conditions across Connecticut this summer has taken its toll on the Fall season crops. In fact, it’s been a painful pumpkin growing seasons for farmers, such as Kathy Martin, the owner of Brown’s Harvest in Windsor.

    “It's always a gamble when you're farming, always,” said Martin.

    Martin has been growing crops for 39 years, including around 20 varieties of pumpkins. In her experience, Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate.

    “The summer has been, as you know, quite hot humid and lack of rain,” said Martin. “It means we have to get irrigation out on the crops that are the important crops.”

    This Summer, Martin has put an inch of water, at least, on her 20 acres of Fall season crops weekly.

    “It's very costly. It's an added expense that you really can't get back,” said Martin.

    It’s not money down the drain, but a pricey move that could cost customers come time to buy those pumpkins. Unlike some, Martin said she won’t raise her rate.

    “You have to prioritize everything. So your bigger crops, what helps your bottom line is what you are going to focus on,” said Martin.

    While Brown’s Harvest pumpkin patch has been flourishing, not every farm has been as lucky.

    “I know some are already asking if we have extra pumpkins to sell and we'll know that pretty soon,” said Martin.

    It is a possibility of fewer pumpkins to paint, carve, cook and place on the porch. Like basic economics, it’s a price we may all have to pay this Fall if we don’t get some rain this Summer.

    “Keeping my fingers crossed that we will get some more rain to plump up those pumpkins,” said Martin.

    Brown’s Harvest will begin their Fall festivities on September 17th, and have a special Salute to American Soldiers event on September 24th.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    A woman was shot to death while pushing a child in a stroller on Chicago's South Side, police said Friday, and family identified the victim as a cousin of NBA star Dwyane Wade.

    The 32-year-old woman, whom family identified as Nykea Aldridge, was apparently the unintended victim of a gang shooting, police said. She was walking around 3:30 p.m. in the 6300 block of South Calumet when two males approached another male and opened fire, police said.

    Several hours after his cousin was shot, Wade sent out a tweet about the killing.

    Pastor Jolinda Wade, Dwyane's mother, identified Aldridge as her niece. Family spokesman Pastor Edward Jones confirmed Aldridge is Dwyane's cousin.

    "This is one particular time our family wished we didn't have to be speaking to the media about anything," Jolinda Wade said. "(I) just sat up on a panel yesterday, (with ESPN wesbite) The Undefeated, talking about the violence that's going on within our city of Chicago, never knowing that we would be the ones ... actually living and experiencing it."

    Aldridge was taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County where she was pronounced dead. A relative took custody of the child, police said.

    Jones said Aldridge is a mother of four and had just had a baby. Jones said she and her family had recently relocated to the neighborhood and she was on her way to register her kids at school when she was shot. 

    It was not immediately clear which school Aldridge was going to, but the shooting happened close to Dulles School, which was partially blocked off as police analyzed the scene. 

    "She loved God, loved her family," Jones said. "Just like everyone else, just wanted a better life, to live a better life. This is tragic because now it struck home with us. Something has to be done. This has got to stop."

    Wade called the killing senseless and said the Wade and Morris families were in a "sensitive, grieving place."

    "She wasn't bothering anybody, just going to register her kids in school — and bullets that fly around have no name decided to find its way to her head," she said.

    Wade said this is the second child her sister, Aldridge's mother, has lost to gun violence. 

    Wade asked for prayers and said she will continue to be proactive in the community.

    "We're still going to help and empower people like the one who senselessly shot my niece in the head," she said. "And all of our young people out there, senselessly shooting each other."

    Two men are being questioned as persons of interest and an investigation is ongoing, police said.

    Dwyane Wade decided to join his hometown bulls this summer, and has been a longtime supporter of the South Side, where his foundation has been active. In November, after Chicago police released video of Laquan McDonald’s fatal shooting on the South Side, Wade wrote the teenager’s name on his shoes for an NBA game, along with the hashtag "#justice."



    Photo Credit: Facebook/Family
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    Nykea AldridgeNykea Aldridge

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    State police are investigating a report of a man trying to lure a girl into his van in north eastern Connecticut on Thursday afternoon.

    The incident happened in Baltic just before 1:30 p.m. 

    Police said they received a 911 call at 1:22 p.m. Thursday about the possible attempted abduction of a 10-year-old girl on River Street after a man in a white utility van attempted to coerce the girl into the vehicle, police said.

    The girl did not get into the van and instead ran to the closest house, according to police

    Her family members said the man tried to entice the girl with candy, cash and video games.

    "He told her that your parents had asked me to pick you up, so get in my van. So she froze. Then he said he had games for her he has money and to get in the van," the girl's aunt, Elizabeth Heart, said.

    "He told her that your parents had asked me to pick you up, so get in my van. So she froze. Then he said he had games for her he has money and to get in the van," the girl's aunt, Elizabeth Heart, said.

    The vehicle might have been a Ford E350 with a utility rack and the driver appeared to be in his 40s and has a tattoo on his left forearm.

    He was wearing a gray tattered shirt and black shoes and sped off when the child ran, police said. 

    State police said they received another report around half an hour later about a similar incident in the Wauregan section of Plainfield, but Plainfield police said there is no active investigation.

    A girl got nervous about a white utility van driving behind her, so she called her mom and her mother called police. Officers then went out and stopped some cars, but there is no active investigation into that report.

    The Sprague Resident State Trooper’s Office is investigating the Baltic case and anyone with information is asked to call 860-822-3000, extension 207.



    Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

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    The Department of Consumer Protection said it has launched an investigation into Total Wine & More and its pricing practices. 

    Legislative director Leslie O'Brien said the state launched the investigation into the franchise to determine whether or not Total Wins is violating the state's minimum pricing laws.

    The investigation is based on newspaper advertisements the company ran in newspaper throughout Connecticut on Tuesday, O'Brien said. 

    The probe comes after Total Wine & More filed a lawsuit earlier this week challenging the state’s minimum price requirements for wine and spirits.

    In a press release, the company that operates more than 150 liquor superstores in more than 20 states announced the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. The company said the suit is in response to customer demands for fair prices on wine and spirits.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images/Caiaimage

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    A New Jersey family was stunned to find a 300-pound black bear wading in their backyard pool Friday afternoon. 

    The bear was spotted by the family taking a dip in their pool in the backyard of their Rockaway Township house at about 3 p.m. Friday, they told NBC 4 New York.

    Video captured from inside the home shows the bear wading in the pool, then walking around the family's lawn.   

    "He popped our float! I think he's breaking our pool," homeowner Stacey Dowling says in the video.  

    Dowling tells her husband Rick, "He's trying to get out. Babe, let's get him out!" 

    Her husband immediately responds, "I'm not going out there! You crazy?" 

    No one was injured by the bear and it eventually ran off, the family told NBC 4 New York.  

    The bear visit isn't the first along Herrick Road this week. Two days ago, another bear was spotted on the street. And in the town, there have been several sightings in recent weeks. 

    And who could forget the sight last year, when a mama bear and her five cubs took a dip in another backyard pool in Rockaway Township. 

    Town officials are warning residents to be aware, and calling on the state to do more to lessen bear-human encounters. 



    Photo Credit: Stacey Dowling

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    A pair of mariners stranded on an uninhabited Pacific island for a week were rescued by a U.S. Navy air crew on Friday after writing "SOS" in the sand, NBC News reported.

    The boaters were marooned on an island in Chuuk State, Federated States of Micronesia, on Aug. 19 with limited supplies and no emergency equipment on board, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement.

    A Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft crew from Patrol Squadron (VP) spotted the boaters on the beach near their makeshift sign on Friday.

    A search and rescue team was called in and the survivors were rescued and transferred by patrol boat to Nomwin Atoll.



    Photo Credit: U.S. Navy photo/Released

    A pair of stranded mariners signal for help by writing A pair of stranded mariners signal for help by writing "SOS" in the sand as a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft crew from Patrol Squadron (VP) 8 flies over in support of a Coast Guard search and rescue mission.

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    Some eastbound lanes of I-84 have reopened after crash in Hartford on Saturday morning.

    The crash happened near Exit 49, according to state police.  The car caught fire after crashing, police said.

    There were heavy delays on I-84 East as crews worked to clear the scene.

    There is no word on injuries.



    Photo Credit: Connecticut DOT

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