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    The official state groundhog, Chuckles VIII, passed away and the Lutz Children’s Museum in Manchester made the sad announcement yesterday.

    Chuckles arrived at the museum about five years ago after being found as an orphan. She was not able to be released into the wild due to her several chronic medical conditions.

    This year, Chuckles predicted the coming of spring on Groundhog Day.

    “The museum was crowded with visitors and the media on Groundhog Day each year as she whispered her prediction into the Mayor’s ear. She will be remembered fondly by the museum volunteers, her friends at Bolton Veterinary Hospital, and her thousands of adoring fans,” museum officials said in a Facebook post.

    The Lutz Children’s Museum has begun the search for the next Connecticut State Groundhog, although it might take several months to find because of the museum’s policy to only accept animals determined by a veterinarian to be non-releasable.



    Photo Credit: Lutz's Children's Museum

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    An adorable baby fox was rescued from a storm drain yesterday in West Hartford.

    The little guy was stuck in there for a few nights before Animal Control Officer Karen Jones found and saved him.

    Officer Jones plans to reunite him with his mother soon.



    Photo Credit: West Hartford Police Department

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    Part of Wethersfield Avenue in Hartford is closed after a man was shot. 

    Police said the victim walked into Hartford Hospital with a gunshot wound to the leg and the injury is not life-threatening.

    The shooting happened around 10 a.m.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    Former President Barack Obama will come to Chicago Monday to make his first public appearance since leaving the White House.

    Obama will discuss community organizing and civic engagement at the University of Chicago, according to a news release. The discussion with "young leaders" is invitation-only, but a television feed will be provided. 

    "This event is part of President Obama’s post-presidency goal to encourage and support the next generation of leaders driven by strengthening communities around the country and the world," the release said.

    Obama was a lecturer at the university for many years before entering politics.

    He is also scheduled to appear May 25 with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a ceremony in the country to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

    Since leaving the White House, Obama has been seen at events and restaurants in New York City and elsewhere, but hasn't appeared in public to make any statements.

    Former President Barack Obama will come to Chicago Monday to make his first post-presidency public appear

    Former President Barack Obama will come to Chicago Monday to make his first public appearance since leaving the White House.

     

    Obama will discuss community organizing and civic engagement at the University of Chicago, according to a news release. The discussion with "young leaders" is invitation-only, but a television feed will be provided.

     

    "This event is part of President Obama’s post-presidency goal to encourage and support the next generation of leaders driven by strengthening communities around the country and the world," the release said.

     

    Obama was a lecturer at the university for many years before entering politics.

     

    He is also scheduled to appear May 25 with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a ceremony in the country to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

     

    Since leaving the White House, Obama has been seen at events and restaurants in New York City and elsewhere, but hasn't appeared in public to make any statements.



    Photo Credit: Joshua Lott/Getty Images, File

    This April 7, 2016, file photo shows then-President Barack Obama speaking at the University of Chicago Law School. Obama is set to return to the school a year later for his first public appearance after leaving office.This April 7, 2016, file photo shows then-President Barack Obama speaking at the University of Chicago Law School. Obama is set to return to the school a year later for his first public appearance after leaving office.

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    The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Thursday that it is recalling more than 100,000 pounds of frozen meals because the brownie mix included may be contaminated with salmonella. 

    The recall applies to 110,817 pounds of vacuum-packed trays containing “Banquet Chicken Nuggets with Mac & Cheese” with Code 3100080921 and a “best if used by date” date of July 20, 2018, the USDA said in a press release. 

    The meals were produced by Conagra Brands in Missouri and sold nationwide, according to the release. 

    The brownie mix used to make the desserts in the meals may be contaminated with salmonella, the agency said. 



    Photo Credit: USDA

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    When Steve Stephens shot and killed an elderly man at random in Cleveland Sunday, he blamed his ex-girlfriend, who now tells NBC News she was stunned and devastated as she watched the man she'd loved boast on Facebook of targeting people because of her.

    The woman, whom NBC News isn't naming because police haven't released her identity, said in an extensive interview that she and Stephens had recently been looking for wedding rings. But he suddenly called her on Saturday to tell her to "throw away his stuff" because the relationship was over.

    A day later, he killed Robert Godwin, 74, and posted video of the attack to Facebook. Stephens was tracked down in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, and he killed himself as state police pursued him.

    The ex-girlfriend, a 42-year-old social worker, said "my mouth fell open" as she watched her Stephens stream live video from in front of her workplace Sunday, saying "this is where [she] works" and outlined his plans.



    Photo Credit: Cleveland Police Dept., Steve Stephens/Facebook

    Steve Stephens, seen at left in a police handout photo and at right in a still from a Facebook video in which he discusses shooting more than a dozen people. Police were searching for Stephens on Sunday, April 16, 2017, after confirming one shooting that was depicted in a video posted to Facebook.Steve Stephens, seen at left in a police handout photo and at right in a still from a Facebook video in which he discusses shooting more than a dozen people. Police were searching for Stephens on Sunday, April 16, 2017, after confirming one shooting that was depicted in a video posted to Facebook.

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    Interstate 395 was closed in Lisbon after a tractor-trailer fire early this morning, but the highway has reopened. 

    The truck, which is carrying wonton noodles, caught fire between exits 21 and 22.

    No additional information was immediately available.



    Photo Credit: Lisbon Fire Department
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    State police are investigating an armed robbery at a Subway restaurant in North Windham Friday morning.

    A male robber in a gray sweatshirt and jeans showed a handgun when he robbed the shop at 361 Boston Post Road at 8:50 a.m., according to state police.

    Anyone with information is asked to call 860-465-5400.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    A hit-and-run driver struck a man and a woman on the sidewalk along West Main Street in Waterbury around 8 a.m. Friday and police are look for the driver who left the scene.

    Police said it appears the driver of a Jaguar lost control of the car, which jumped a curb and hit a 41-year-old woman and a 22-year-old man.

    They victims have lower extremity injuries, but the injuries are not life-threatening. Both have been taken to the hospital. 

    Police are investigating.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    Ledyard police are investigating and police officers are at the school today after they were alerted about social media posts that have the suggestion that “something” might happen at Ledyard High School.

    Police said they have found no credible evidence of a threat but police were at Ledyard High School yesterday and they are also there today.

    "We do not believe there is credible threat and our first priority is the safety of our staff and students. This is an incredibly close knit community and we take issues like this very seriously," Supt. Jason Hartling said in a statement.

    A statement from Principal Amanda Fagan says the school was initially made aware of a rumor Thursday and they met with the student named and found no posts that constituted a specific threat to Ledyard High School students.

    As school officials met with students, they learned no one had seen a specifically threatening post or the heard the student who was named make any threats, according to the principal.

    Later in the day, school officials learned about an Instagram account perpetuating the idea of a shooting.

    “Unfortunately, later in the day, we learned of an Instagram account that was created today, perpetuating the idea of a shooting. Again, we have shared all of our information with the Ledyard Police, and they are working with Instagram to find the point of origin of the account,” Fagan wrote.

    Investigators have been following up with Facebook and Google in the hopes of getting the technical information to help with the investigation and Ledyard police are interviewing people of interest.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    The Trump administration will not grant Exxon Mobile special permission to carry out oil and gas drilling in Russia while sanctions remain intact, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Friday, CNBC reported.

    Exxon tried to secure the waiver about a month after its former CEO Rex Tillerson became secretary of state.

    That ban was related to Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.



    Photo Credit: AP

    FILE - This Oct. 26, 2006, file photo shows an Exxon logo at a gas station in Dallas.FILE - This Oct. 26, 2006, file photo shows an Exxon logo at a gas station in Dallas.

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    A former Manchester librarian is accused of having a sexual relationship with a young girl for years until she went to college. 

    "I'm a hopeless romantic," Timothy Guay allegedly said in an interview with Manchester Police. "When I fall in love with someone, it is for the person they are, not the age they are."

    Guay has been charged with injury to a child, four counts of sexual assault and impairing the morals of a child. 

    Manchester Police said the suspect started a sexual and romantic relationship with a 13 year old girl, who finally ended her connection to Guay in 2012 during her first year in college, where she first realized the inappropriate nature of their relationship.

    The victim and Guay met during a "Teen Night" program at the Mary Cheney Library in 2006 when she was only 11 years old. Guay was employed as a library page at the time, the Manchester Police arrest warrant reads.

    When the victim turned 12, Guay— 22 years old at the time— began communicating with the girl over AOL messenger. Soon after, the two would have reoccurring meetings during "Teen Night" at 8 p.m. in the upper section of bookshelves because it was "the time we could meet and hug and kiss," the victim said, according to the arrest warrant. 

    The next year, the victim told police Guay, "eventually wanted to have sex," however, "the idea of sex before marriage was really difficult for me, but I didn't want to lose his love and support, so I went along with it."

    Guay was 23 years old when he first had sex with the 13 year old victim. The pair began having sex regularly and Guay would sneak into her home.

    When the victim turned 14 years old in 2008, she told police that Guay, "started losing interest," because she developed fully with, "hips and a butt." The victim reported on-going body issues as a result. 

    According to the arrest warrant, an interview with the victim and Guay indicated that the suspect was aware of the teen's age throughout their relationship. 

    During an interview with police, Guay said he "connected" with the victim and they started out as friends. The suspect told police he only "ever loved" the victim and he was, "sad about what happened between us," the warrant said. 

    Manchester Police note, "while Timothy Guay was vague and withdrawn in the conversation, he never denied having a sexual realtionship with 13-year-old victim."

    "I'm not calling her a liar," Guay said, according to the warrant. 

    Guay's bond was set at $500,000. 



    Photo Credit: Manchester Police

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    A wanted murder suspect from Baltimore was arrested in Vernon on Friday.

    There was heavy police presence near Terrace Drive at on Park West Drive during the afternoon. Vernon police were contacted by the Baltimore City Police Department about a suspect possibly being inside one of the apartments on Park West Drive. 

    Police said they were able to arrest Andrew Nurse, 27, was charged with first degree murder in Baltimore. Nurse was charged with the murder of William Lee Lesane on March 11. 

    Investigators from Baltimore came up to help Vernon and state police to identify and apprehend Nurse. 

    "We came with the purpose of apprehending this subject," Vernon Police Chief William Meier said. "We had some information the subject was here in the apartment he was then located came out surrendered peacefully and is now in custody."

    Baltimore City Police said Nurse will be transported back to Maryland after the extradition proceedings are complete. 

    Nurse has an outstanding warrant from Connecticut charging him with violation of probation. The suspect was also allegedly violating a protective order by having contact with a woman in Vernon.

    In addition to murder charges in Maryland, the 27-year-old is being charged in Connecticut with violation of probation, violation of protective order and fugitive from justice.

    He is being held in Vernon on bonds totaling $4,025,000



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut/Baltimore Police

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    Police dashcam video showing the arrest of a former Miami-Dade teacher suspected of driving drunk with her child in the backseat last month was exclusively obtained by NBC 6 Friday.

    In the nearly two and a half hour video shows Saryna Parker, a former 8th-grade science teacher at South Dade Middle School, stumbling during a field sobriety test and slurring her words as she speaks, telling a Florida Highway Patrol trooper she wanted to kiss him.

    "I want to kiss you. If you don't stop looking at me like that, I'm going to kiss you," Parker tells the trooper.

    During the test, she was unsteady, swayed, failed to follow directions, stumbled and at one point touched the trooper on the back and said "I feel like I want to kiss you," the arrest report said.

    Parker was placed under arrest, and as she sat in back of the patrol car, she "violently kicked me in the groin with her right leg then continued to kick my right rear passenger side door," the officer wrote in the report.

    In the dashcam video, Parker can be heard admitting she kicked the trooper but says she was kicking the door. She can also be heard complaining about the students she taught.

    "I’m so f---ing tired of dealing with these p---- a-- teenagers...let me go home for a while," Parker says in the video.

    FHP officers responded to a report about a suspect crashing into a car on South Dixie Highway near Southwest 182nd Avenue in Homestead on March 19.

    School board officials said Parker was a probationary teacher and has been fired. She will never be allowed to apply to Miami-Dade Schools again, officials said.

    Parker was driving her Cadillac when she slammed into the back of a van, according to the arrest report. During the traffic investigation, the responding officer observed Parker slurring her speech and noticed the smell of alcohol on her breath, and saw a 10-year-old child in her backseat, the report said.

    The former teacher said she "wasn't driving" and said she needed to use the restroom, the report continued. The officer tried to grab her arm and she "violently pulled away" and started walking toward Burger King to use the bathroom, the report said.

    The 43-year-old was booked into jail and later released on bond. 

    She faces charges of DUI, DUI with property damage, careless driving and battery on a police officer. Police initially charged her with child abuse for having her child in the car but prosecutors did not pursue that charge.



    Photo Credit: Florida Highway Patrol

    Dashcam video of the March 2017 arrest of Saryna Parker was released Friday, April 21, 2017.Dashcam video of the March 2017 arrest of Saryna Parker was released Friday, April 21, 2017.

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    An off-duty Hartford firefighter was shot several times in an industrial park in Rocky Hill on Thursday night and is in serious condition.

    Hartford Fire Department sources have identified the injured firefighter as Jimmy Ngo.

    Rocky Hill Police said they were called around 10 p.m. to respond to Belamose Avenue and called in police from Newington and Wethersfield to help search the large 60-acre industrial park, consisting of several businesses, for the victim and shooter.

    A short time later, officers found Ngo inside one of the buildings. He was seriously injured, officials said.

    Hartford Fire Captain Raul Ortiz said the victim was off-duty at the time of the shooting.  

    Ngo's current condition is unknown, but he was conscious when he was taken to the hospital for emergency medical care. A law enforcement source told NBC Connecticut that the firefighter is expected to survive.

    Investigators do not know why Ngo was in the area.

    Authorities said they have a person of interest, but they have not released the person's name.

    State Police said this was an isolated incident and there is no threat to the public.

    Major Crimes detectives are also assisting in the investigation.

    Investigators said everyone who works in the industrial park should call their employer about work today because the property will be off limits until the investigation at the scene is complete.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut/Submitted Photo

    Jimmy Ngo, an off-duty Hartford firefighter, was shot in Rocky Hill on Thursday night.Jimmy Ngo, an off-duty Hartford firefighter, was shot in Rocky Hill on Thursday night.

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    A man who has sat on Connecticut’s death row for more than two decades for murdering a Waterbury Police has been resentenced.

    In 1995, Richard Reynolds was sentenced to death with life in prison. Now, with the death penalty in Connecticut abolished, Reynolds was re-sentenced to life in prison without parole.

    Reynolds was convicted of murdering Waterbury Police officer Walter Williams in December 1992 when he was 34 years old.

    In the early morning of Dec. 18, 1992 Williams was working alone as a patrolman when then 24-year-old Reynolds intentionally bumped into Williams to see if he was wearing body armor.

    “When he learned that he was, he pulled out a gun from his pocket, spun around and shot Walter Williams behind the left ear from approximately one to two feet away. Walter Williams fell to the ground mortally wounded,” said state attorney, Cynthia Serafini.

    Now, almost 25 years later, a Waterbury courtroom was filled with Williams’ family – and his brothers in blue.

    “Walter was gone. I was a widow with three small boys how was I going to do this alone,” said Jeanine Cullen, William’s wife, before the courtroom as victim statements were read.

    In 2012, the state of Connecticut repealed the death penalty but existing sentences remained in place. In 2016 the state supreme court abolished the death penalty all together – meaning anyone on death row would have to be resentenced – including Reynolds, who is now 47 years old.

    “I’m telling the killer of my son Walter T. Williams – I will never, never forgive him. I miss and love you always my son,” said Helen Williams, Walter’s mother.

    Wolcott Police Chief Ed Stephens, who worked with Williams when they were both with the Waterbury Police Department, said he is disappointed.

    “He deserved the death penalty but what happened instead because of what happened in Hartford with the Governor and all… he now has life – it’s wrong,” said Chief Stephens.

    Williams is survived by three children, all who are grown men now.



    Photo Credit: Photo from 2012

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    Competition in the airline business is cutthroat, but in a region that includes three airports in New York, one in Boston and another in Providence, the airport business is competitive, too.

    That’s part of the motivation behind an open letter that Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) Executive Director Kevin Dillon wrote to customers.

    Dillon wrote on the CAA website, “An airport needs passenger volume to convince airlines to start new routes, and passengers need the airport to offer the routes they want before they use that particular airport. Furthermore, if an existing route is not being adequately utilized, an airline can quickly decide to pull the service.”

    In particular, Bradley now features routes with non-stop service to Dublin, Edinburgh, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

    In the cases of the two international routes, the state has promised millions in guarantees to both Aer Lingus and Norwegian Air if their flights to Europe do not hit revenue targets.

    Dillon said he’s confident those seats will be filled during peak tourism season over the summer. It’s the less frequent travel periods he’s concerned about.

    "We need to make sure that in the lean winter months, it's the business community supports that flight,” Dillon said.

    Bradley’s primary competition is Boston’s Logan Airport and New York's LaGuardia and JFK airports.

    On the question of convenience, Dillon said in his letter Bradley can’t be matched for customers in the region.

    He wrote, “Time and peace of mind may not have a quantifiable value, but they are surely valuable. The time that it took you to drive to JFK was costly. The anxiety you felt trying to find parking and navigating security at Logan was equally burdensome. The ease of using Bradley can be occasionally overlooked, but it should never be taken for granted.”

    Governor Dannel Malloy, who has strongly favored and encouraged more long-haul and international flights said Dillon’s efforts aren’t a warning that the flights won’t be successful. He said they’re just good marketing.

    “Look, parking is easier and cheaper at Bradley and it’s much easier to get in and out of Bradley compared to LaGuardia, Logan or JFK. I think that’s really what he’s saying,” Malloy said. 

    Dillon said he hopes the demand keeps up, as that’s the difference between a busy airport, or a quiet one.

    "We want every seat here filled because if we can fill every seat that means we're going to get more seats and that's good for the economy."



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Saturday's March for Science is open to anyone – and you don't even have to show up in person. 

    Besides the main march in Washington, D.C, and the 605 satellite marches planned on April 22, there will be a virtual march too. People can join in from their home computers, according to the march’s official website.

    The virtual march will be live-streamed during the event, and people who are unable to attend are invited to submit photos and stories online to be shared on the March for Science website.

    But it's about more than just people who can't attend. The March's website specifically points to virtual marching as a way for people with disabilities to be involved if they are physically unable to march. 

    Making the march accessible for people with disabilities is a key goal for the organizers, according to the site. Prioritized accessibility will be offered at the D.C. march, and organizers have been encouraging satellite march organizers to make their marches "as accessible as possible," the site says.

    "In addition, there will be a virtual march live-streamed during the event," the website says. "People who are unable to attend a local march will be able to register their attendance at the virtual march and we encourage everyone to submit photos and stories to be shared on our site on April 22."

    Organizers of the march did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

    The march is being held to express the need for "robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity," the group's website says.

    Virtual accessibility was a key part of the Women's March in January, too. The Disability March, the virtual contingent of the Women's March, counted 3,014 marchers for the event.

    "The disabled community is endangered because much able activism is difficult to access, and that needs to change," the Disability March's site says. "We need to be visible, to be leading and forming alliances, to be counted as activists and as members of our communities."



    Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

    Supporters of science and research gather for the March for Science protest in Sydney on April 22, 2017.Supporters of science and research gather for the March for Science protest in Sydney on April 22, 2017.

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    Funeral plans for Aaron Hernandez were announced on Saturday, the same day his body was moved from a funeral home in Watertown, Massachusetts, to his hometown in Bristol, Connecticut.

    According to a press release by the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association, the private wake for Hernandez will be held on Monday at the O'Brien Funeral Home in Bristol from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

    Attendance will be by invitation only and burial will be private at the convenience of the family.

    Hernandez's family released a statement for the public's "thoughtful expressions of condolences."

    "We wish to say goodbye to Aaron in a private ceremony and thank everyone in advance for affording us a measure of privacy during this difficult time," the statement read.

    The body of the former New England Patriots tight end was prepared at the Faggas Funeral Home in Watertown after an independent autopsy was performed and a judge granted his family's request to preserve all evidence related to his suicide. His brain is currently being studied at the Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Center at Boston University and his body was then transferred to Connecticut on Saturday.

    The state medical examiner said the cause of death was asphyxia by hanging, according to Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr.

    Hernandez, 27, was serving a life sentence for murder and just last week was acquitted in two other killings before he hanged himself Wednesday with a bed sheet attached to his cell window at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts.

    About an hour after he was found, Hernandez was pronounced dead at UMass-Memorial Health Alliance Hospital in Leominster, according to a statement from the Massachusetts Department of Correction. He was in a single cell in a general population unit in the maximum-security state prison.



    Photo Credit: Boston Globe via Getty Images

    File Photo—Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez at Attleboro District Court indicted on a charge of first-degree murder in the slaying of a Odin Lloyd.File Photo—Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez at Attleboro District Court indicted on a charge of first-degree murder in the slaying of a Odin Lloyd.

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    It took days to clean up the damage after a small plane crashed in the middle of Main Street in East Hartford in October, and six months later questions remain about who is footing the bill.

    East Hartford police were on sight for days until the crash was cleaned up and that part of busy Main Street finally re-opened.

    Now city officials are looking for tens of thousands of dollars in reimbursement.

    Trent Sullivan, the Town of East Hartford Risk Manager, said the cleanup cost about $40,000.

    The deadly plane crash October 11, 2016 involving American Flight Academy Owner Arian Prevalla and student pilot Feras Freitekh. Freitekh was killed.

    "Primarily it's overtime costs, so it's personnel costs responding to the event and then manning the event and keeping the area safe,” Sullivan added.

    The biggest bill, at nearly $30,000.00, is for police presence, which lasted several days. The crash happened right around shift change, late in the afternoon. Next, just north of $7,000, was DPW’s clean up and repair efforts. Followed by the East Hartford Fire Department's over-time costs at $3,800.

    Sullivan said he's already been in contact with AFA Insurance Carrier Old Republic Aerospace Inc. In Maryland.

    “I sent an email with all the itemized costs with the expectations that the investigation would take quite a bit of time with the hope that maybe we would get some of the costs returned,” Sullivan said.

    If the insurance carrier doesn’t reimburse the town, taxpayers could be on the hook for the costs.

    Earlier this week, the Troubleshooters discovered a $130,000.00 bill from Eversource to AFA to repair poles and wires that broke in the crash. And on Thursday, federal agents served a search warrant at the flight school. Hauling away boxes of records, focusing on AFA’s maintenance hangar.

    Early on federal investigators called this crash intentional. The school's owner told authorities about a fight in the cockpit before the crash.

    The final FAA report has been released.

    Neither Arian Prevalla's attorney or the insurance carrier has returned NBC Connecticut’s calls for comment.



    Photo Credit: Rob N Jaye Amirault

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