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    A multicar car has closed one lane of the Berlin Turnpike in Newington.

    The crash is on the southbound side of the road in front of the Department of Transportation.

    No additional information is available.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    A crash has closed one lane of the Berlin Turnpike in Newington.A crash has closed one lane of the Berlin Turnpike in Newington.

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    An Ansonia man who went to the FBI, claiming that Derby police beat him, pleaded guilty to making it all up, according to federal officials, and has been sentenced to eight months in prison.

    Edward Minerly, 52, of Ansonia, pleaded guilty in November to one count of making a false report of police brutality to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and waived his right to indictment.

    On Thursday, he was sentenced to eight months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

    According to federal officials, Derby police arrested Minerly on May 18, 2013 on an outstanding probation violation warrant.

    Weeks later, he spoke with agents from the FBI in New Haven, and claimed Derby police placed him in a holding cell and taunted him; tipped him backward and out of his wheelchair, threw him into a wall, flashed the lights on and off; and kicked him in the head and other parts of his body.


    An Ansonia man who went to the FBI, claiming that Derby police beat him, pleaded guilty to making it all up, according to federal officials.An Ansonia man who went to the FBI, claiming that Derby police beat him, pleaded guilty to making it all up, according to federal officials.

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    Two people suffered minor injuries after two cars collided on Interstate 84 eastbound in Tolland late Thursday afternoon, according to town officials.

    The crash happened shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday just prior to exit 68. A spokesperson for the public safety department said one of the cars sustained heavy damage.

    Two ambulances were called to the scene to bring two people to Rockville General Hospital for treatment of minor injuries, town officials said.

    Two lanes of travel were closed while authorities responded to the scene, causing traffic congestion that contributed to secondary crashes, according to officials.

    The scene is now clear.



    Photo Credit: @TollandAlert

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    The FBI sent a bulletin to the Garland Police Department about suspected shooter Elton Simpson three hours before the start of Sunday's Draw Muhammad art contest at the Curtis Culwell Center, NBC News' Pete Williams has learned.

    The FBI, according to NBC News, said Simpson was "interested in the event" but that FBI Director James Comey said they had no reason to believe he intended to attack the event and didn't know he was on his way to Garland.

    Comey also said he did not believe the officer who shot Simpson and Soofi Nadir, originally known and published as Nadir Soofi, was aware of the FBI bulletin.

    Comey said the FBI investigation into Simpson and Nadir is ongoing.

    According to Comey, the Texas plot is a dramatic example of the changing nature of terror threats and the FBI now has hundreds of investigations of potential home grown extremists under way, with cases open in every state.

    "I know there are other Elton Simpsons out there," Comey said. "Only a few years ago ... if someone wanted jihadist propaganda, they would have to go find it on the Internet. So we focused on the places they'd go."

    Messages from terrorist groups such as ISIS are now pushed into the pockets of people who are interested in it through social media.

    "Its recruiting and tasking at the same time. The old distinction between inspiration and direction is no longer relevant," Comey said, adding that hundreds of people in the US - maybe thousands - "are consuming this poison."

    While Comey said investigators can follow messages that are posted on public twitter accounts, ISIS recruiters are steering people off Twitter into encrypted forums, which the government cannot see.

    Comey said finding other Elton Simpsons in the US is a "very hard task."

    "We have hundreds working on it around the clock. But in almost every case of violence," he said, "Someone saw something. A friend, a family member. Its more important than ever for people to speak up."


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    A man in a Greyhound bus luggage compartment was critically injured in a fire Thursday afternoon on Interstate 95 in Stafford County, Virginia.

    A 35-year-old man from Plainfield, New Jersey, apparently stowed away in the luggage compartment in New York, state police said. A lit cigarette is believed to be the cause of the fire.

    The bus driver smelled and saw smoke coming into the cabin and pulled over near exit 143. All 28 passengers and the driver got off the bus without injury, state police said.

    The suspected stowaway was flown to MedStar Washington Hospital Center in D.C. with life-threatening injuries, authorities said.

    Traffic was backed up for 8 to 10 miles as the southbound lanes of I-95 were intermittently closed during the investigation Thursday afternoon. All lanes reopened after 5 p.m.

    The Greyhound bus was traveling from New York to Atlanta with a stop scheduled for Richmond to change drivers.

    The passengers were taken via school bus to the nearest Greyhound station, in Fredericksburg, to get another Greyhound bus.

    Greyhound said it is cooperating with state police and planning to do its own investigation.

    Stay with News4 and NBC Washington for more on this developing story.


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  • 05/07/15--15:45: Route 1 Reopens in Madison

  • Route 1 has reopened in Madison following a serious crash, according to police.

    The road was closed at Hammonasset State Park while authorities responded to the scene. Police asked drivers to avoid the area while they investigated.

    No additional information was immediately available.

    Check back for updates.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Madison PoliceMadison Police

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    Terrence Samuel, a sophomore guard for the University of Connecticut Men's Basketball Team, will transfer at the end of the spring semester, according to a news release from the athletic department.

    Samuel, who lives in Brooklyn, started eight of the 65 games he played during his two years at the university, averaging 3.0 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game, athletic department officials said.

    He averaged 4.5 points per game during six of the 2014 NCAA tournament games, helping the Huskies secure the national title. Samuel played all 35 games of the 2015 season and averaged 3.6 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game.

    "Terrence has been a player who has always given his best on the court and in the classroom," UConn Coach Kevin Ollie said in a statment Thursday. "We thank him for his contributions to the program and wish him good luck and much success in all his future endeavors."

    It's not clear where he's going.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 07:  Terrence Samuel #3 of the Connecticut Huskies goes up for a shot as Dakari Johnson #44 of the Kentucky Wildcats defends during the NCAA Men's Final Four Championship at AT&T Stadium on April 7, 2014 in Arlington, Texas.   (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 07: Terrence Samuel #3 of the Connecticut Huskies goes up for a shot as Dakari Johnson #44 of the Kentucky Wildcats defends during the NCAA Men's Final Four Championship at AT&T Stadium on April 7, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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    Firefighters from Cheshire and Southington are working to put out a brush fire off Route 322 in Southington, which is affecting multiple areas, including the town's Recreation Park.

    Southington fire officials said they were called to the scene around 6 p.m. and are still working the fire. Crews from Wolcott are covering the town's south end station, while Plainville firefighters are covering Southington headquarters.

    No injuries have been reported, and although the fire began creeping toward a residential area, neighbors have not been evacuated, according to the fire department.

    No additional information was immediately available.

    Check back for updates on this developing story.



    Photo Credit: Monica Garske

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    It’s been five weeks since CTfastrak got up and running, and students at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain are using it as a creative way to avoid drinking and driving.

    "II have a few friends here who take the Fastrak and it’s affordable," said junior Albi Schifino.

    Students say it gives them a way to hit the bars and come back home safely.

    "It’s a $1.50 – get a ride, it’s safe. If you’re going to go out with your friends it’s a good way to stay safe and not get behind the wheel," Schifino explained.

    Transit administrator Michael Sanders is calling the situation a win-win for CTfastrak.

    "It wasn’t necessarily the vision on the mission for making this route that we’d be saving lives," said Sanders.

    Sanders said that in the last 5 weeks, CTfastrak has given 150,000 rides, and every $1.50 represents one less person driving – sober or not.

    "Certainly, one of the core values and mission of the department of transportation is safety, whether it's safety and accident avoidance on the highways, or safety because we take trips off the highways and put it on transits," said Sanders.

    The last ride ends at 12:45 a.m. but students said if it went later, they would still take the bus as long as it provided a safe ride home.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    In an auditorium filled mainly with business owners and members of the MetroHartford Alliance, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra gave his budget pitch on why his more-than-half-a-billion-dollar proposal is right for the city of Hartford.

    "It sends a positive message to our residents that the city of Hartford is continuing to invest in all of the neighborhoods," Segarra said.

    The budget includes $68 million for the renovation of the dilapidated Martin Luther King Jr. school, as well as funds to repair and repave roads. Segarra said those are things that people see that restore confidence that should trickle down to business owners.

    "We have parks throughout the city and we have roads throughout the city," Segarra said. "These investments are strategically implemented to impact all parts of the city."

    The mayor did propose some spending cuts but said "public safety is protected." He said safety is a priority and expressed his desire to hire more police and cadets in the coming year as the city deals with a wave of retirements.

    Segarra said fully funding retirement is something he and the city council are retired to do. That led to his proposal of $36 million, which will maintain the system's 80 percent funded level. Segarra explained that city codes dictate that the fund must be at 100 percent, but market conditions in recent years led to the funding carrying an unfunded liability.

    He contended that Hartford's pension fund is in much better shape than those of cities of similar size.

    "When you consider how many revenue sources we have compared to other cities, we are in a good position. Others have funds at between 40 and 50 percent," Segarra said.

    Oz Griebel, the CEO of the MetroHartford Alliance, said Thursday that the health of the economy and the region depend on the state of the city.

    "A strong fiscal foundation is absolutely critical to the retention of jobs that are in the city. It’s absolutely critical to the expansion of jobs in the city and it’s absolutely critical to further capital investment in the city," Griebel said.


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    Hundreds of supporters of charter schools in Connecticut rallied on the steps of the State Capitol Thursday, urging lawmakers to restore funding for the schools in the current version of the state budget.

    Loquita Bowles has a daughter in an Achievement First Charter School in Bridgeport and said she views charters as the future of her children.

    "Charter schools are the answer because right now the schools have curriculum. They have structure and we need to implement this back into the public schools," she said.

    The major sticking point between budget writers and charter school advocates is millions of dollars Gov. Dannel Malloy put in the budget that would lead to the opening of two new charter schools in Bridgeport and Stamford.

    House and Senate Democrats who crafted the budget removed those funds and all other expenditures that would have gone toward the creation of new magnet schools.

    "I understand why they want the funding for charter schools but we’re really trying to balance this budget, especially for some of the services they offer as a state and our public educational systems. So weighing those out, it just didn’t make sense to fund the charter schools at the levels that we’ve previously been able to," said House Majority Leader Rep. Joe Aresimowicz, a Democrat from Berlin.

    He said budget talks will continue with the executive branch over the next few weeks.

    "I think it will literally be on the negotiating table. It’ll be one of those subjects that repeatedly talk about but I don’t it’s one of those subjects that can actually change," Aresimowicz said of funding for charter schools. "We have a finite amount of resources and we have a fund that we’ve already earmarked that we think is important."

    Bowles used the phrase "treason" to describe how she felt about the General Assembly's decision not to support the starting of new charters. She says she's lost faith in traditional public schools.

    "The public schools have lost it. It is reality. We need face it. We need to wake up and stick together," Bowles said.


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    Flames from a car fire spread to nearby trees and brush on Springside Avenue in New Haven on Thursday night, according to the fire department.

    Witnesses said a power line is also burning.

    New Haven firefighters said they were called to the scene around 8:30 p.m.

    It's one of three major fires to break out in the New Haven on Thursday.

    The first, a massive brush fire on the West Haven line, caused two transformer explosions and halted train service. Crews have also been called to Fairmont Avenue, where a garage fire spread to a home, according to the fire department.

    No additional information was immediately available.

    Check back for updates on this developing story.



    Photo Credit: Taylor Nicole Richards

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    The co-owner of a popular barbership and his two kids, who went missing after a camping trip to Sierra County has been found safe, family members said late Thursday.

    That brought great relief to the family and friends of Nick Vlahos, the co-owner Temescal Alley Barbershop in Oakland, who had last been heard from Tuesday morning on a camping trip with his 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter. The barbershop was was featured in a 2014 New York Times article," Oakland: Brooklyn by the Bay" to show how hip Oakland has become.

    People describe the old-fashioned "ultra-masculine" shop, which only takes walk-ins, as the "Cheers" of barbershops.

    "The kids are safe," said business parter Rob Wharton. "It's kind of funny, they thought it was one big adventure."

    The Sierra County sheriff's department said an Air National Guard helicopter spotted the family's truck in rough terrain at about 8 p.m. Thursday. The family was found near the small town of Downieville in Sierra County -- about 100 miles northeast of Sacramento.

    Vlahos'  Toyota Tacoma had gotten stuck on the backroads, Wharton said, who added that Vlahos didin't panic - he kept strobe lights on to help crews find him.

    Leah Bershad, who is the wife of Vlahos' other business partner, Bradley Roberts, said that Vlahos was an experienced camper, and had just returned from a trip with her husband to the Mojave desert. She and others had their fingers crossed that he was OK despite two days of worry.

    Before Vlahos was found, Roberts said he assumed that he his friend had lost cell phone coverage and was just "waiting it out." He said that Vlahos always took his kids camping in the truck. "It's just one of the things they do," he said.

    NBC Bay Area's Kristofer Noceda contributed to this report.



    Photo Credit: Images courtesy Vlahos's co-workers via Instagram
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.

    Images from Nicholas Vlahos's Instagram feed show Vlahos (left) and his two children (right).Images from Nicholas Vlahos's Instagram feed show Vlahos (left) and his two children (right).

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  • 05/08/15--03:53: Unbuckled Driver Crashes Bus

  • An unbuckled seat belt set off a series of events that led to a SEPTA bus careening out of control, jumping a concrete barrier and landing on train tracks in South Philadelphia, the transit authority said. The crash injured the bus driver and two passengers.

    The Route 29 bus driver was making a U-turn along Columbus Boulevard at Dickinson Street around 6 p.m. Tuesday when she slipped out of her seat and lost control of the bus.

    SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams said the driver was trying to detour around a CSX freight train that blocked the bus' usual path at Tasker Street. Bus drivers are required to wear seat belts at all times, Williams said.

    "We believe that this accident would not have occurred if she had her seat belt on," Williams said.

    Surveillance video from onboard the bus showed the driver, a 10-year veteran, falling from her seat and the violent crash. Two women passengers were thrown forward from the impact. All three were hospitalized and suffered non-life-threatening injuries. A third passenger was not hurt.

    CSX workers on the train, stopped just feet from the crash, immediately rushed to render aid and call 911.

    Witness Lauren Ferrett told NBC10 on Tuesday it appeared the bus took the U-turn at a high rate of speed.

    SEPTA continues to investigate the incident. The driver will face disciplinary action and could lose her job, Williams said.

     



    Photo Credit: SEPTA
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.

    Surveillance video shows a SEPTA bus driver laying on the floor of the vehicle after falling out of the driver's seat while making a U-turn on Tuesday. The fall resulted in a crash that injured three people, including the driver.Surveillance video shows a SEPTA bus driver laying on the floor of the vehicle after falling out of the driver's seat while making a U-turn on Tuesday. The fall resulted in a crash that injured three people, including the driver.

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    Emergency crews were called to the scene of a brush fire on Route 188/Strongtown Road in Southbury after a brush fire broke out in the woods across a small body of water Thursday night.

    Fire and police officials responded to the area, according to dispatchers. No injuries have been reported, and authorities said the fire is not threatening any buildings.

    No additional information was immediately available.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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  • 05/07/15--17:12: Photo Helped Mom Find Cancer

  • A Rockford, Illinois, mother's cellphone turned out to be a life-saving device when it helped her confirm what she'd feared: her son had cancer. 

    Julie Fitzgerald began noticing an usual twinkle in the back of her 2-year-old son's eye a couple of months ago. A search online turned up a story about a woman who found cancer in relatives after she saw a white eye instead of the normal red eye in family photos.

    "I took a picture, and I did not want to take the picture because I had this dreaded feeling in the pit of my stomach. I took the picture, and "boom," his whole pupil was just white, and that's when I knew," Julie told NBC station WREX.

    A doctor's visit after that photo confirmed that little Avery Fitzgerald had retinoblastoma, which the Mayo Clinic indicates is the most common form of cancer affecting the eye in children. In Avery's case, 75 percent of his left eye had tumors and had to be removed.

    Doctors said the cancer could have spread to the boy's brain and blood had the family delayed.

    The boy will eventually get a prosthetic eye, and the family is awaiting the results of testing to see if he has a genetic marker that could indicate the risk for more cancer.


    Avery FitzgeraldAvery Fitzgerald

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    Two garages in New Haven sustained heavy damage and are likely destroyed after flames ripped through them Thursday night, according to the fire department.

    Fire officials said heat from the fire at 141 Fairmont Avenue also caused siding to melt on two nearby homes, damaging the exteriors.

    The fire is out but Fairmont Avenue remains closed as crews pack up their equipment.

    The cause of the fire is under investigation.

    Check back for updates on this developing story.



    Photo Credit: Brad Young

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    Police are investigating after a 35-year-old man was shot in the hip in Hartford on Thursday night, according to department spokesperson Deputy Chief Brian Foley.

    Foley said the man, a Hartford resident, suffered non-life threatening injuries and walked into a hospital for treatment. He was shot in the hip but it's not yet clear where in the city it happened, according to police.

    The Hartford Police Department Major Crimes Division is investigating.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    A tree service worker has died after falling from a tree on Wright Road in Canton on Thursday afternoon, according to the police department.

    Police said the man was working for Wayne's Tree Removal out of Windsor Locks. He fell around 2:30 p.m. while working at 111 Wright Road and suffered serious injuries that proved fatal.

    A LifeStar medical helicopter was called out and landed at Canton Middle School, but police said the worker was pronounced dead at the scene and was not transported.

    Police are withholding the worker's name while they contact his family members. The chief medical examiner's office will determine the man's cause and manner of death.

    The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident, according to police.

    The volunteer fire department and ambulance service also responded.

    Wayne's Tree Removal declined to comment Thursday afternoon.


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    The first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season formed off the South Carolina coast on Thursday — nearly a month before the season officially begins.

    Subtropical storm Ana was located 170 miles south-southeast of Myrtle Beach, with maximum sustained winds near 45 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The storm was moving north-northwest at about 2 mph.

    A tropical storm watch was in effect late Thursday for Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to Cape Lookout, North Carolina. A watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible on this stretch of coast within 48 hours. The system is expected to deliver 2 to 4 inches of rain over eastern areas of both Carolinas over the weekend, and was already creating heavy surf and swells.

    The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30. In the eastern Pacific, it begins May 15 and ends Nov. 30.


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