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Rollover Crash on I-84 in West Hartford

Man in Critical Condition After New Haven Motorcycle Crash


A 29-year-old Milford man is on life support after he was thrown from his motorcycle in New Haven early Tuesday morning.

Police said Steven Mollica, 29, of Milford, was driving a motorcycle, hit a curb under the Interstate 95 overpass on Long Wharf Drive and was thrown from the bike.

An ambulance transported him to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he is in critical condition and on life support. 

Police said Mollica suffered several injuries to his head and body and a news release said officials did not find a helmet at the scene.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Great White Tagged Off Cape Cod


Great white sharks have returned to the coast of Massachusetts — and experts are thrilled to see them back.

"It's a wonderful experience to have the sharks return," said John King of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.

King, along with researchers from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, tagged the first great white of the 2015 season off the coast of Chatham on Monday.

The nearly 13-foot-long female, affectionately named Avery, is something of a local: She was also the first great white spotted in the area in 2014. Sharks frequent Chatham because of its huge seal population.

The skipper said they found her about a quarter-mile off the Chatham shore in just seven and a half feet of water, and he couldn’t be happier.

King isn’t skittish about great whites, but he is concerned about other shark species, like the kinds he says could be biting people near North Carolina.

"The sharks that are biting people in North Carolina are not white sharks — they are bull sharks or black tip sharks, and those sharks don't occur in Cape Cod waters," he said.

Still, King stresses caution and common sense for swimmers.

“Pay attention when you have your kids at the beach," he said. "Pay attention to whether you're swimming with seals. I would avoid swimming at dawn and dusk because that's the time when sharks hunt."

In 2014, Greg Skomal of the Massachucets Division of Marine Fisheries said he tagged 18 great whites. Experts expect to tag more this year, which could be good fun on social media.

A great white shark named Mary Lee who was tagged in September 2012 has been sending tweets to a mock account each time her tag sends out a signal or ping. The Twitter account @maryleeshark has more than 85,000 followers.

Photo Credit: Atlantic White Shark Conservancy
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Hallmark to Close Enfield Distribution Center


Hallmark has announced plans to close its Enfield distribution center as part of a larger consolidation effort.

The Enfield location, which employs 570 people, will close by the end of June 2016, according to a news release posted on the company website Tuesday. Hallmark has been operating in Enfield since 1952.

Hallmark also plans to add about 400 full-time positions at the distribution center in Liberty, Missouri, bringing the total number of full-time workers there to 1,100 or 1,200.

Company officials said employees working in Enfield can apply for open positions at Hallmark locations in Kansas City and Liberty. Those who take new jobs in Missouri will receive relocation help. Others will receive severance benefits.

Hallmark North America President Dave Hall said recent "improvements in distribution and inventory management practices" have made it possible to streamline order fulfillment and shipping. The company plans to do it all in Liberty.

"Liberty was selected because it is the larger of the two facilities and its central location provides shipment advantages for a vast majority of Hallmark's retailers and customers," Hall said in a statement Tuesday. "The operating efficiencies and innovations recently implemented at the Liberty Distribution Center will allow us to streamline our operations and enable substantial, ongoing savings."

He added that the decision to shutter the Enfield facility "in no way reflects on the hardworking Hallmarkers at Enfield or the Enfield community where Hallmark has operated for the past 62 years."

State Sen. John Kissel, a Republican who represents Enfield, called the move "heartbreaking."

"This closure will send a tremor throughout our community that will be felt by many. My heart goes out to the families who will be impacted and the hundreds who will be unemployed as a result," Kissel said in a statement Tuesday. "Hallmark has been an integral part of our community for over 60 years. This is a huge loss for Enfield."

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, a Republican from North Haven, also expressed concern over the impending closure. He called it "sad, but not surprising" and added that "there are no excuses for the governor's failed policies."

"Unfortunately, this may be the beginning of a mass exodus of Connecticut jobs. Connecticut’s business environment cannot compete with other states," Fasano said in a statement. "So when a company is deciding between two locations, it’s sadly not surprising that CT would lose that battle. When will this governor and the Democrat majority wake up and see reality?"

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Car Rolls Over on Ramp From I-84 to Route 9


Emergency crews responded to the exit ramp from Interstate 84 westbound to Route 9 south in Farmington after a vehicle rolled over late Tuesday afternoon.

Footage from the scene shows an ambulance and fire truck. There has been no word on injuries.

No additional information was immediately available.

Blind Spots Blamed in Woman's Death


A Ride the Ducks amphibious vehicle's large blind spot and a lack of pedestrian crossing signals at a Philadelphia intersection led to the tragic death of a Texas woman run over by the tourist attraction this spring, a wrongful-death lawsuit claims.

Elizabeth Karnicki was pulled under the wheel of Duck Boat #46 — packed with passengers on a tour — at 11th and Arch Streets on May 8. The 68-year-old psychologist from Beaumont, Texas screamed seconds before her head and body were crushed by the front tires just a few feet from her husband, Dan.

The pair were crossing southbound on 11th Street when the light changed and the duck boat started to move west. According to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Philadelphia's Court of Common Pleas, the duck boat driver could not see Karnicki or her husband because the driver's seat is 10 feet away from the large bow.

"These duck boats are deadly," said attorney Robert Mongeluzzi. "These are being driven through the most crowded streets in Philadelphia. It is very inappropriate for them to be operating."

A popular tourist attraction that opened in Philadelphia in 2003, Ride the Ducks takes passengers on an 80 minute tour around the city pointing out cultural sights before taking a 20 minute drive in the Delaware River.

Mongeluzzi showed 3D laser scans of the World War II-era duck boat to illustrate what he called a "massive blind spot" on the 11-foot tall, 35-foot long steel land and sea vehicle. Karnicki, being 5-feet tall, would never have been seen by the driver once he put his foot on the accelerator, the attorney claims.

The victim also had a blind spot, Mongeluzzi explained, because the duck boat blocked her view of the traffic light and prevented her from knowing how much time she had to cross. He said the city is at fault for failing to install a pedestrian countdown clock at the busy intersection that sits at the foot of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

A spokesman for Ride the Ducks said safety is paramount and rebuked several claims including that the driver was at fault. 

"Witnesses interviewed by the police also stated that the decedent walked out against a red light, was distracted and the driver was not at fault," the statement read in part.

The city declined to comment citing the pending litigation.

A Deadly Anniversary

The lawsuit was announced on the fifth anniversary of Philadelphia's other deadly Ride the Ducks incident. On July 7, 2010, a duck boat, disabled in the Delaware River, was run down by a barge. Dozens of tourists were thrown into the water as the boat sank some 40 feet to the riverbed. Two Hungarian tourists could not escape and drowned.

The pilot of a tug boat pulling the barge was on his cellphone when the collision happened and later sentenced to two years in prison. Ride the Ducks and the tug operator settled with the victims for $17 million and the duck boats were dry docked for eight months.

The duck boat manufacturer, an arm of Ride the Ducks, is also cited in the lawsuit. Mongeluzzi said the company regularly built the vehicles on a 1940s-era chassis — from a time it was used during the D-Day invasion in France — to get around complying with modern safety standards.

Duck Boat 46 was refurbished in 2003, the suit said.

"Three deaths in less than five years have proven that the duck boats are dangerous on the water and dangerous on the land," the attorney said.

Disputing a Distraction

Witnesses of Karnicki's death told police and NBC10 the woman seemed distracted in the moments before she was run over.

A woman who declined to share her name on the day of the accident said Karnicki was looking down at her iPad while crossing the street. Another witness, Joseph Kist, said Karnicki had her back turned to the duck boat. "She didn't know what was coming by," he told NBC10 in May.

A Philadelphia Police spokeswoman also cited witnesses claiming the woman may have been distracted.

Mongeluzzi said three witness statements included police reports made no mention of Karnicki being distracted. He conceded, though, the issue will be a challenge in court.

The suit is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, and Mongeluzzi said Don Karnici, the victim's husband, wants Ride the Ducks shut down.

Answering a question about how closing the attraction could have a negative impact on tourism, the attorney balked.

"You don't promote Philadelphia tourism by drowning and crushing tourists to death," he said.

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NYC to Hold Parade for Women's World Cup Champs


The city has decided to hold a ticker-tape parade to celebrate the U.S. women's soccer team's World Cup victory, marking the first time in more than half a century that the honor will be bestowed upon female athletes.

Mayor de Blasio's office has announced plans for the parade, which will be held Friday beginning at 11 a.m. along Broadway from the Battery to City Hall, known as the Canyon of Heroes.

All are invited to celebrate along the parade route. Those who want a chance to attend the special program at City Hall can go to nyc.gov/parade or call 311 on Wednesday between 2 to 4 p.m. to sign up.

NBC 4 New York will be live streaming the parade on air and online.

Forward Abby Wambach tweeted: "Looks like we now are headed to NYC!! Very humbled by this... #the celebration continues." 

"NYC we will see you Friday! #WorldChamps," added team member Alex Morgan

The U.S. defeated Japan 5-2 on Sunday in Canada to win the World Cup, propelled by the heroic three-goal hat trick of South Jersey native Carli Lloyd.

On Monday, de Blasio's press secretary said the administration congratulated the team "on its tremendous achievement and is currently exploring logistics and talking with the team and other partners about a possible ticker-tape parade."

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer had written to de Blasio suggesting the women be honored with a parade in lower Manhattan. In her letter, she said the team "set an amazing example for athletes across our great nation" and pointed out that there has never been a parade honoring a women's team.

"Our newest soccer champions represent an opportunity for New York to recognize that heroes and role models come in all genders," she said.

The route along Broadway is known as the Canyon of Heroes. Among those honored with parades have been the New York Yankees when they've won the World Series and the New York Giants when they've won the Super Bowl, most recently in 2012.

The last female athlete to earn the honor of the confetti shower was Olympic figure skating gold medalist Carol Heiss Jenkins in 1960, according to the Alliance for Downtown New York. Jenkins told The Wall Street Journal Tuesday that she wanted to see the women's soccer team celebrate in a similar manner. The U.S. women's team would be the first female sports team to earn the honor. 

The events have been known as ticker-tape parades, from the ticker tape that was showered down upon those being celebrated from people in the nearby buildings. The ticker tape has been replaced by paper confetti.

The U.S. women's soccer team is being honored with a rally in Los Angeles on Tuesday. The group is also expected to make a visit to the White House.

Hartford Police to Charge Basketball Shooting Suspect With Murder


Police plan to charge a 23-year-old man with murder in connection with a fatal shooting at a Hartford community basketball tournament late last month.

Windsor resident Roosevelt Holmes is in the custody of the Department of Corrections. He has already been charged with criminal possession of a firearm, reckless endangerment, unlawful discharge and attempted first-degree assault. Holmes will also be charged with murder.

Holmes is accused of shooting and killing a tournament spectator, James Headen, 41, of Hartford, on Saturday, June 27. Holmes was also wounded in the gunfire at the "All Xity Shootout," or "Heat on the Street" tournament, at Hartford's Rawson Elementary School.

Police said Holmes' bond has been increased to $2.5 million. 

During a court appearance on the prior charges, Holmes' attorney, Gerald Klein, said his client claims self-defense.

Holmes, who was watching the tournament, told police someone had just stolen his Cartier sunglasses and shot him while he was running away. He then returned fire, according to documents released in court.

Three other men were shot and treated at the hospital. Headen later died there. Police described Headen as an innocent bystander and said he was shot in the head.

Police will serve the murder warrant at Holmes' next court appearance July 13.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Hartford Residents Fed Up With Run-Down Buildings


Across some of the Hartford's neighborhoods, homes have sat vacant for years, and residents say officials needs to take action or the city may never recover.

The empty house at 1912-14 Broad Street in the Maple Avenue neighborhood is flanked by tall shrubbery and unkempt grass. The windows and doors are boarded up with plywood, and garbage is strewn around the backyard.

Hyacinth Yennie chairs the Maple Avenue Revitalization Group and says something has to be done to improve the Broad Street house and similar structures around the city.

"We have lots of these properties that belong to the banks and I’m expecting somebody, somebody in the city to hold these banks accountable to clear their property, but there’s no one," she said.

Yennie says it's the city's responsibility to work to improve neighborhoods.

"This city needs to get focused on blighted property in our city. The fact is that we’re losing homeownership in the city, and if you want people to move into the city, you have to hold people accountable to keep their property clean," Yennie said.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra said a good opportunity for improvement is to propose capital projects that could be funded by the city's Participatory Budgeting Program. The program allows residents to provide input and proposals as the city decides how to spend spend $1.2 million.

"The process is to have the residents make decisions about where the money should be spent, so whatever the community decides, where their priorities are, a portion of the money should be decided and put toward those projects," he said.

Sex Offender's Wife Arrested for Leaving Him With Child: Cops


The wife of a convicted sex offender is facing charges after leaving her husband alone with a child, whom the man molested, according to state police.

Leigh Newton, 60, of Stafford, was arrested Tuesday and charged with risk of injury to a minor.

State police said Newton allowed her husband, convicted sex offender John Newton, to be alone with a child last November. John Newton molested the child and was charged with multiple counts of fourth-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor.

Leigh Newton was released on $10,000 bond is due in court July 15.

It wasn't immediately clear if she had an attorney.

Judge Denied Restraining Order Before Baby Disappeared


The mother of a missing 7-month-old Connecticut boy unsuccessfully sought a restraining order against the child's suicidal father, who police believe jumped with the baby into the Connecticut River late Sunday night.

A judge denied the restraining order days before Tony Moreno, 22, of Middletown, plunged into the water off Middletown's Arrigoni Bridge, possibly taking the baby with him.

First responders rescued Moreno and brought him to the hospital, but his young son, Aaden, is still missing.

According to documents filed in court, Aaden's mother applied for a restraining order after Moreno took the baby without her knowledge and threatened to make him "disappear."

"He has told me he could make my son disapear (sic) anytime of the day. He told me how he could make me disapear (sic) told me how he could kill me. I sometimes am scared to sleep," the mother said in a statement filed in court. "He told me he would put me in the ground and put something on me to make me disinigrate (sic) faster."

Aaden's mother lived with Moreno for two years and said the couple were happy until she got pregnant. According to court documents, Moreno became verbally abusive, calling her "ugly," "stupid" and shouting profanities, she alleged. The abuse turned physical when he pushed her and poked her chest and forehead.

Moreno also wanted to give up custody of the child and told Aaden's mother he would sign the paperwork if she paid for the documents and legal fees, she said in the statement.

The same day she applied for the restraining order, Aaden's mother contacted the state Department of Children and Families. An agency spokesman said DCF "conducted a complete safety assessment" and found she was "taking all appropriate and necessary steps to protect the baby."

A judge dismissed the restraining order on June 29.

Moreno jumped six days later.

Police began searching the river for Aaden on Sunday night. As they lost hope of finding him alive, the rescue effort became a mission to recover Aaden's body.

"The Department is respectful of victims of domestic violence and strives to avoid subjecting the victims to consequences flowing from the actions of perpetrators," DCF said in a statement Tuesday. "Accordingly, following a careful assessment that examines fully the safety of the child, the Department will not automatically seek to remove a child from a home where domestic violence is a concern if the custodial parent takes all required steps to protect the child from the non-custodial parent."

Authorities said they expect to file charges in connection with the case. It's not clear if Moreno has an attorney.

Middletown police ask anyone with information to call 860-638-4000.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut and Silver Alert

Significant Outages Reported in Hartford, Danbury

Fire Rips Through Ca. Mormon Church


A small brush fire that started off a Southern California freeway ripped through a Mormon church's gabled roof on Tuesday in Glassell Park and injured one firefighter.

Teams of firefighters worked to douse the flames that could be seen through the triangular roof of a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The fire was reported at 2:38 p.m. off the southbound Glendale (2) Freeway at North Verdugo Road, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The fire had burned about 1/4 of an acre as of 3 p.m. Its cause was not determined.

The church has over 400 members and the building is 25 years old.

Church staff report no one was inside at time of fire.

Hartford Giving Residents Say in How to Spend $1.2 Million


Hartford's mayor and city council set aside $1.2 million for "participatory budgeting," which allows residents to vote on projects they want the city to fund.

The concept isn't new. It's been utilized in some of the the country's biggest cities like New York, Boston, and Chicago. Hartford is the first city in Connecticut to give it a try.

“In New York City, for example, they did some parks, senior centers, community projects, that for many years had not been done, through that process. Now they get to decide how that money’s been spent," said Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra.

In Hartford, the projects could include street improvements, park upgrades, and even for the destruction of blighted buildings.

Segarra, a Democrat from Hartford, said it was an easy decision to give the new spending proposal the green light "because the tax dollars come from our community and the people have an absolute right to decide how it’s going to be spent."

Some of the organizational support for the new program came from Hartford 2000, the umbrella group of the different neighborhood revitalization groups in the city.

"I think it’s a great way because it all comes from the citizens of Hartford and the city of Hartford doesn’t have anything to do with it," said Jackie McKinney, one of the co-chairs of the group. "The projects are developed by the citizens of Hartford and are voted on by the citizens."

Hartford voters will have the final say in a February 2016 vote. The projects would begin during the 2017 budget year.

Mother Bear, Cub Spotted in South Windsor


South Windsor residents are paying close attention after an adult bear and a cub were spotted wandering the streets.

Animal control officer Robin Bond estimates the black bear cub is about 3 feet long and weighs 150 pounds. The cub has been roaming neighborhoods but is not aggressive.

"We have Mama running around someplace," said Bond. "We believe she is in the meadows."

It's the first bear South Windsor has seen in years. Residents have been taking videos and photos of the bears as they make their way through town.

One video shows the cub visiting the backyard of a neighborhood on Fitch Meadow Lane. The mother bear was nearby, although you can't see her on camera.

"It made its way to the residential area, crossed Sullivan Avenue, made its way to the high school, eventually to Nevers Park, and right now it found its way to the power lines," Bond explained.

Another video shows the cub traveling along Dzen Way, just in front of Sullivan Avenue.

Police are trying to push the bears back into the woods, away from traffic and people.

Bond said there are precautions residents can take.

"[Do] not provide any food source, bring bird feeders in, make sure that you clean anything in your garden, [and] secure your trash," said Bond.

She recommends residents keep their distance and appreciate the bears from afar.

The bear was last seen along Route 74.

Storms Possible Wednesday


We could see some storms and a renewed threat of flooding Wednesday.

Humidity levels are oppressive and will remain locked at high levels through Wednesday, with lots of clouds. Showers will be most numerous in the afternoon, hours before a cold front passes through.

The threat of quick, minor flooding in continues into the evening in areas of poor drainage. Any flash flooding shouldn’t be major, but still would cause trouble in localized spots.

Currently, it would only take 2-3 inches of rain in a three-hour window to cause flash flooding across the state. Southern New Haven and Fairfield counties are most vulnerable to flooding simply because it would only take 2 inches of rain in a three-hour period there.

Uncertainty exists on Thursday, when the cold front will be stalled to the south and east of Connecticut. A little wave of low pressure develops along the front. As such, Thursday probably features more clouds and sun with the chance for showers.

Temperatures will be on the cool side, stuck in the 70s, and the pattern will be closely monitored for any changes.

High pressure finally builds in for Friday and Saturday, providing tons of sunshine. Humidity levels look exceptionally low, once again, for the time of year. The end of week weather is something to get excited about!

Stay with the NBC Connecticut First Alert weather team for the very latest forecast on-air, online and on the app.

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Man Dies in Ansonia House Fire


Authorities are investigating after a man was found dead in a burning home on Colony Street in Ansonia, according to police.

Police and firefighters rushed to the home at 96 Colony Street after receiving a 911 call just prior to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. A woman who lives there told police her male companion didn't make it out.

"It was just a mad dash for everyone to get here," said witness Tia Rich. "I started seeing people walking over and looked and noticed that the house was on fire."

Emergency responders arrived to find flames engulfing the back of the home. Police said the flames and heat made it impossible to search for the missing man.

They found his body in the home after extinguishing the blaze.

"It's tragic. It’s very difficult. We don’t know all the circumstances at this point. That’s what we’re going to figure out," Ansonia police spokesman Lt. Andrew Kota said Tuesday night. "It’s still a sad state of affairs and we’ll provide them any support that we can."

Police said the victim, about 51 years old, lived in the house with a woman who was uninjured. Investigators are interviewing the woman in an effort to figure out what sparked the blaze.

"It seemed to be over just as quick as it started," Rich said.

It's not yet clear where the fire started or why. The cause remains under investigation.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Tia Rich

Man Shot in Chest at Hartford Basement Party Dies at Hospital


One of two men shot at an illegal basement party in Hartford over the weekend has died at Saint Francis Hospital, according to police.

Police said Garnett Henry, 43, and Knorskov Senior, 40, both of Hartford, were shot at a basement party at 156 Edgewood Street early Sunday morning.

Henry, who took a bullet to the chest, died Tuesday evening, according to police.

Both Henry and Senior were originally listed in critical condition and underwent surgery at the hospital. Police said Senior was shot in the shoulder and abdomen.

The Hartford Police Department Major Crimes Division is investigating. Police said investigators are "following very strong leads" in the case.

Man Found Dead in Middlefield Lake After Boating Accident


Divers pulled the body of a 52-year-old man from the waters of Beseck Lake in Middlefield while responding to a boating accident Tuesday evening, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Emergency responders were called to the lake around 5:30 p.m. after receiving the report of a motorboat accident, DEEP officials said. Witnesses told them a man jumped out of a boat and never surfaced.

"The people he was with saw him go under and not resurface," explained Col. Kyle Overturf, of the DEEP Environmental Conservation Police.

Two other people on board the 20-foot Bayliner were unharmed.

A state police dive team pulled the man's body from the water. Authorities have not publicly identified him except to say he is 52 years old and lived in Middletown. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

It's not clear why the man jumped or if he was wearing a life jacket.

Authorities are investigating the incident.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Missing Baby's Body Found in River in East Haddam


After searching nearly 48 hours for the baby boy believed to have plunged into the Connecticut River in Middletown with his suicidal father, authorities have pulled his body from the waters of nearby East Haddam, according to Middletown police.

Police said they retrieved the body of 7-month-old Aaden Moreno from the Connecticut River near the East Haddam Swing Bridge around 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Authorities have blocked off the intersection of Route 149 and Route 82, which crosses the Connecticut River by way of the bridge.

It comes after police wrapped up their second day of searching for Aaden, who disappeared into the water late Sunday night when his father, Tony Moreno, jumped off the Arrigoni Bridge in Middletown, according to police.

First responders rescued Moreno but failed to find the child. He was presumed dead, and police said Monday the chances of finding Aaden alive had dwindled.

A LifeStar helicopter airlifted Moreno to the hospital, where he was initially listed in critical condition. Police said he was alert and conscious Tuesday morning.

"Our thoughts are with Aaden and his family at this time of sorrow," Middletown police said in a statement Tuesday night.

Moreno has not been arrested but police said they plan to file charges. It's not clear if Moreno has an attorney.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/Family Photo
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