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Lost Hiker Suffers Medical Emergency in North Stonington


First responders rescued two hikers, one of whom was suffering a medical emergency, who got lost in the woods of North Stonington on Wednesday night, according to the fire department.

Officials with the North Stonington Volunteer Fire Company said crews responded to Lantern Hill Trail around 7:40 p.m. Wednesday.

Crews searched the woods, found the hikers and used a rope system to pull them to safety, according to the fire department.

Firefighters said one hiker was experiencing medical problems but did not elaborate.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Hot Turf Burns and Blisters Stratford Football Players' Hands


The Stratford High School football coach is under scrutiny after some of his players were blistered and burned by the team’s scorching artificial turf field earlier this week.

Parents told NBC Connecticut head coach T.J. Cavaliere instructed the team to crawl across the AstroTurf at Stratford High School on their bare hands Monday, when temperatures climbed past 90 degrees. Sunny turf can get even hotter.

“It wasn’t just a hot field. These kids, their skin melted off their hands,” said Stratford Town Council candidate Sean Haubert.

Cavaliere wrote a letter to parents explaining that the exercise was in response to players’ behavioral issues at Friday’s scrimmage.

“Hindsight is 20/20 and I was not aware that the turf could cause blisters on the boys’ hands,” the coach wrote. “I apologize for what happened and have learned a valuable lesson.

Some, like Haubert, believe the incident warrants extra training and even suspension.

“These kids were getting hurt and they’re trained not to say something back to the coach, so I’ll say it,” he said.

The parents of many players, however, believe the coach’s apology is enough.

“He’s a compassionate man. He’s supportive. He makes this team a team,” said Theresa Jacksis-Bonazzo, who has two sons on the football team.

Cavaliere, who did not attend practice Wednesday afternoon, apologized on Twitter too. His account has since been made private.

Neither Cavaliere nor the Stratford superintendent have returned requests for comment.

2 Men Try to Lure Newington Middle School Student Into Van


Police are investigating after two men flagged down a middle school student and tried to lure her into their van after she got off the bus in Newington last Friday.

Newington police said the school bus dropped off the student in the area of Eighth Street on Friday afternoon. The girl was walking home when two men in a minivan waved to her and made her unconfortable.

The student ran home and told family members, who in turn contacted police.

Police are working to find the van and identify the men involved.

Anyone with information was asked to call Newington police at 860-666-8445.

Photo Credit: Newington Police Department

Pedestrian Struck, Seriously Hurt on I-84 in West Hartford


First responders flocked to Interstate 84 in West Hartford after a pedestrian was struck and seriously hurt on the highway Wednesday night, according to state police.

Police said the crash happened on the eastbound side near exit 40. The pedestrian, who has not been publicly identified, suffered serious injuries.

Footage from the scene shows a massive emergency response, and witnesses said a car stopped on the side of the highway appeared to have a broken windshield.

Two lanes were closed and traffic was delayed while authorities responded.

Police have not released any information on the circumstances leading up to the crash.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Orange Juice Truck Crashes Down Embankment


A tractor-trailer carrying orange juice crashed down an embankment on Interstate 91 south in Middletown early Thursday morning.

State police were on scene as of 2:48 a.m. waiting for the tractor-trailer to be towed away.

The accident happened on I-91 south between exits 20 and 19.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Hundreds of Shoreline Outages After Overnight Storms


There were hundreds of power outages Thursday morning after overnight thunder and lightning storms concentrated along the shoreline.

Just before 6 a.m., Old Lyme had 189 power outages. As of 6:01 a.m., Fairfield had 953 power outages and Bridgeport had 67, United Illuminating reported.

By 7:23 a.m., power for all but 29 UI customers had been restored and 213 in Old Lyme, 122 in Waterford and 97 in East Lyme didn't have power.

Scattered thunderstorms are possible in Connecticut on Thursday, but the state will mostly experience showers with a few periods of heavy rain, particularly in the afternoon and evening, according to meteorologist Bob Maxon.

Photo Credit: necn

Scattered Thunderstorm, Periods of Heavy Rain Possible


After overnight thunder and lightning storms led to hundreds of power outages on the shoreline, the state will get much-needed rain Thursday as possible thunderstorms roll in.

Scattered thunderstorms are possible in Connecticut on Thursday, but the state will mostly experience showers with a few periods of heavy rain, particularly in the afternoon and evening, according to meteorologist Bob Maxon.

Old Lyme had 213 power outages, Waterford had 122 and East Lyme had 97 as of 7:23 a.m. Thursday after lightning on the shoreline overnight.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Respond to Arch Street Tavern Incident


Hartford police were on scene at Arch Street Tavern in the capital city early Thursday morning.

A police cruiser was parked in front as of 5:53 a.m.

The nature of the investigation is unknown.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Burglar Shatters Radio Shack Door, Steals Phones: PD


A burglar smashed the glass on the front door of Radio Shack in Hartford early Thursday morning to break in and stole cell phones, police said.

Hartford police are looking for the person who stole six cell phones from a display case in the store at 63 Overlook Terrace in the capital city Thursday at 3:28 a.m.

No suspect has been identified at this time, but police are reviewing the surveillance video at the business.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Merritt Parkway Reopens in Greenwich

NYPD Chief: We Want to Apologize to James Blake


Police Commisioner Bill Bratton said Thursday he and the mayor want to extend their apologies to former tennis star James Blake, who claimed he was thrown to the ground and handcuffed by several officers while leaving his Manhattan hotel Wednesday in a case of mistaken identity.

Bratton said both he and the mayor have tried to reach James using a cellphone number provided to them, but thus far have been unable to make contact.

James, a Yonkers native who was ranked No. 4 in the world at the peak of his tennis career, says he was tackled to the ground and handcuffed by undercover investigators outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel on East 42nd Street Wednesday as he waited for a car to take him to Flushing Meadows. 

Police said a courier working with a team of undercover detectives investigating a fraudulent internet credit card ring wrongly identified Blake as one of the suspects with whom he had worked. Bratton said video shows officers approaching the former tennis star rapidly, grabbing him by the arm and taking him down to the ground, where he was immediately handcuffed. 

Bratton said Blake did not appear to resist the arrest and, that based on the video of the confrontation he reviewed, the use of force by the officer who handcuffed Blake appeared to be inappropriate. Internal affairs is investigating the case. In the meantime, the arresting officer's badge and gun have been stripped and he has been placed on modified duty, Bratton said.

"The use of force is such that I'm comfortable that it's in the best interest of the department to place the officer on modified assignment," Bratton said. 

He reiterated that Blake was 100 percent innocent of any involvement in the scheme, and said that once officers realized he was not involved he was immediately released from custody. 

Bratton said in addition to wanting to extend apologies to Blake, authorities want to reach him so internal affairs detectives can set aside time to interview him about the exchange. Bratton said five of the six officers involved in the financial fraud investigation have been interviewed, but authorities have yet to speak with the officer who pinned James to the ground. Bratton said the internal affairs investigation will focus not only on whether the use of force was appropriate, but whether certain administrative protocols were violated in the documentation of the wrongful arrest after the incident. 

On Thursday, Blake said on ABC's "Good Morning America" that he wasn't hurt but is still "a little shaken up" by the exchange. He said he wanted an apology.

"I'd like an apology," Blake said on the show. "We all need to be held accountable for our actions, police as well."

He added, "Most cops are doing a great job at keeping us safe, but when you police with reckless abandon, you need to be held accountable ... these that are doing police work the wrong way need to pay for their actions. They need to either be shown the door or be punished."

"I'm happy that my reaction was that I was smiling at the person because I see if I put up my arms up or anything it could be seen as resistance and instead of a bruise I could have some broken bones or serious injuries," he said.

He added, "I'm lucky enough to be able to tell this story."

Blake, who is biracial, told ABC Thursday he didn't think the case was an instance of racial profiling. A day earlier, though, he told reporters he thought race played a role in the arrest.

Bratton said investigators want to speak to Blake before they talk to the officer who arrested him. 

Undercover cops investigating a theft ring using fraudulent credit cards to make cellphone purchases were working with a delivery man to identify suspects, the NYPD says.

The Daily News reported that after one of the officer's brought Blake down, he allegedly yelled, "Don't say a word" and commanded him to roll over.

Several other cops swarmed and proceeded with the arrest until a retired NYPD officer who was working as a security guard told the cops, "That's James Blake, the tennis player." Blake, who was in town for the U.S. Open, told officers to look at his license and tournament credentials in their pocket.

They still ran his license, Blake said Thursday. He said he told them "the worst you're going to find is a speeding ticket."

That's when the officers realized their mistake and apologized, according to the News, but the paper said the first officer who tackled him never said a word.

In a statement to NBC 4 New York, NYPD spokesman Peter Donald said a cooperating witness had misidentified Blake and that internal affairs would investigate.

"Once Blake was properly identified and found to have no connection to the investigation, he was released from police custody immediately. In regards to the alleged improper use of force, the Police Commissioner directed the internal affairs bureau to investigate," the statement said.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said internal affairs detectives were sent to the hotel and have already identified "a number of witnesses." He says investigators are also looking to obtain surveillance video from the hotel that may have captured the arrest.

At the peak of his tennis career, Blake was ranked No. 4 in the world. Knee problems and other injuries affected his playing and he retired from tennis after a three-set loss at the 2013 US Open. The Harvard-educated player is originally from Yonkers and was known for his charity work throughout his career.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

How Pope Francis Is Different From His Predecessors


Pope Francis' Understated Style

Esquire magazine picked Pope Francis as its Best Dressed Man of 2013 but the title didn’t go to him because of bold fashion choices. In fact, it’s the pared-down sartorial decisions that earned him the distinction. Francis ditched the ornate vestments and fancy jewelry of his predecessors for plain clothes. His humble fashion sense was on display minutes after his election as the next pope. Francis rejected a red cape with ermine trim presented to him by a monsignor and came out to greet the faithful at St. Peter’s Square wearing a simple white cassock.

Francis Passed on Papal Apartment

Pope Francis chose to live in a Vatican guesthouse — officially known as The Domus Sanctae Marthae — instead of a papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace. That made him the first pope in 110 years to live outside the papal apartments. He takes meals in the common dining room and celebrates a 7 a.m. Mass with Vatican employees in the main chapel of the residence.

Francis Prefers Open Popemobile

The pope eschews a bulletproof popemobile and has been using an opened vehicle with a shield in the front and above him to move through crowds. The first bulletproof popemobile was introduced following the attempted assassination of John Paul II in 1981 and was later used by Benedict XVI. But traveling in a bulletproof popemobile is like being confined to a “sardine can,” one that cuts him off from other people, Francis said in a 2014 interview with Vatican Radio. “It’s true that anything could happen,” he said, “but let’s face it, at my age, I don’t have much to lose.” One version of a popemobile he used in Naples was open on the sides, which allowed a local pizza maker to make a special delivery to Francis. Francis has used a number of different car brands as popemobiles during his trips: Mercedes, Toyota, Isuzu, Kia, Hyundai, Land Rover and Jeep, according to the Vatican. While in the U.S., he will use a Jeep Wrangler.

Francis Is Known for Saying and Doing Things No Other Pope Had Done Before

From divorced Catholics and abortion to climate change and gay marriage, Pope Francis has not shied away from tackling sensitive topics in the church and the society.

"His whole papacy should really be seen as refocusing the church,” according to Austen Ivereigh, a Pope Francis biographer. "He is willing to confront the things that get attached to religion: power, wealth, ego, status. Those things, which get in the way of the proclamation of the gospel, he is fearless in confronting.”

The People’s Pope

Francis was dubbed “The People’s Pope” by Time magazine for his preaching of humility and his defense of the poor. By choosing cardinals from some of the poorest nations and preaching against “selfishness and individualism” while visiting a slum in Brazil, he has stressed helping the poor as a core part of the church’s mission.

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String of Shootings on I-10 Leaves Arizona Drivers on Edge


Phoenix is on edge after a string of shootings that has turned drivers into moving targets — and police say there may be more than one gunman.

The 10th attack was reported Wednesday — a pickup truck that had a rear window blown out as it rolled along Interstate 10. Nine other vehicles have been hit with bullets or other projectiles on or near the interstate, day and night, since Aug. 29.

Police say drivers have been lucky so far: The only injury was a 13-year-old girl who was cut by flying glass when the window of her car was shattered by a bullet.

Photo Credit: AP

Car Fire Closes Route 15 North Connector to I-91 on Meriden/Wallingford Line


The Route 15 north connector to Interstate 91 is closed on the northbound side on the Wallingford/Meriden line due to a car fire.

A car caught fire near exit 67.

No further information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Laura Macca Ault

Coroner Not Ruling Anything Out in Fatal Illinois Officer Shooting


It has now been eight days since Lt. Joseph Gliniewicz was found mortally wounded in a remote field in far northwest suburban Fox Lake. But it appears police are no closer to a break in the case than they were one week ago.

Indeed, there was a telling moment in a task force press conference Tuesday, where the chief of the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force, George Filenko, even corrected himself when he referred to the case as a murder investigation.

“Officers responded to back him up, and they found him murdered—I’m sorry, killed,” Filenko said.

Sources close to the investigation say police are still largely working with only one solid lead: Gliniewicz’s own declaration that he was pursuing three individuals, shortly before he was found. And Wednesday, Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd said he needs more information from police, before he agrees to sign off on how the officer died.

“We obviously know that a bullet killed him,” Rudd told NBC5. “I can’t rule out a suicide. I can’t rule out an accident. And I can’t rule in a homicide.”

In other words, while Rudd knows what his own autopsy revealed, he still wants some evidence that another person, or persons, were involved.

“I can’t issue a manner of death until law enforcement gives me everything they have,” he said.

Rudd’s comments come a day after Filenko pointedly noted that he didn’t have a final autopsy report.

“Well, the coroner himself has not shared anything with us,” he said.

That’s true, Rudd notes, because the report has not been written. But he quickly added that police are armed with everything he knows at this point.

“Three of George Filenko’s task force members were at the autopsy,” he said. “He knows what we found.”

And now, he suggested, the key to issuing that report is in investigators’ hands, not his.

“We have no eyewitnesses, in regard to this officer being hit by this bullet," he said. 

On Wednesday, Filenko acknowledged that he had task force members present, and said he did not disagree with Rudd’s assessment.

“In the past, typically, we receive a preliminary report,” he said. “Sometimes it’s better to have written factual information.”

There is much about the crime scene that has never been officially released. Rudd said he would not reveal officially how many times the officer had been shot, only that he died from a “single devastating gunshot wound,” and that he has not determined officially whether the officer was even shot at close range or from a distance.

For now, he said, he has to keep an open mind, but the case is still a murder investigation.

“Based on what is coming from law enforcement agencies, we are pursuing it as if it is a homicide,” he said. “If we are told later that they don’t have evidence of a homicide, then we have to consider the other manners of death, which could be suicide or accident.”

In the meantime, Filenko confirmed Wednesday that officers have yet to interview Gliniewicz’s family, a meeting they hope to set up within the next few days.

“We’re giving the family time to grieve,” he said. “Obviously we’ve got to respect the widow’s privacy.”

Bomb Threat at Brookfield High School


Brookfield High School is dismissing students early Thursday due to a bomb threat.

The school went into lockdown at 9:30 a.m. after a written bomb threat was discovered on a wall in one of the girls bathrooms.

School officials decided to dismiss the students for the day at 10:30 a.m., with the input of police and the fire department, so authorities can conduct a thorough investigation.

The superintendent will make a decision later on Thursday about whether the high school will be in session on Friday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Car Crashes Into Pole in Simsbury, Prompting Road Closure


Stratton Brook Road is closed in Simsbury due to a car versus pole crash that happened late Wednesday night.

The accident happened on Banks Road, a small cul de sac off Stratton Brook. Stratton Brook Road is closed from Bushy Hill Road to Town Forest Road.

Drivers can take Route 309 as a detour.

Stratton Brook Road is expected to stay closed until noon.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police, Paramedic Deliver Baby on I-95 Exit


An exit ramp on Interstate 95 south in Norwalk has just reopened Thursday morning after a state trooper, police officer and paramedic helped deliver a baby named Ryan.

A family was trying to make it to the hospital as a woman was in labor with contractions that were three minutes apart. But the baby was ready to enter the world sooner, just an exit away from Norwalk Hospital, so they couldn't make it in time.

No 911 call was made. The father pulled over at an accident scene and the couple asked state police for help. Norwalk police also responded.

The baby was crowning just after 8 a.m. Exit 16 was shut down briefly as a responding trooper and Norwalk police officer tended to the woman until EMS crews to arrived. A paramedic from the ambulance delivered the baby. The couple named the baby boy, Ryan.

State police said that the baby is healthy and breathing. The scene has cleared and the family headed to the hospital.

There are still some residual traffic delays.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Man Had Sexual Contact With Underage Girl He Met Online: Cops


Police have arrested a 27-year-old man who they say met an underage girl over the Internet and had ongoing sexual contact with her.

Adam J. Friedman, 27, of Ellington, was arrested Wednesday and charged with three counts of second-degree sexual assault.

Police said Friedman contacted the juvenile victim on the Internet and social media and "engaged in sexual relations" with her multiple times.

He was released on $300,000 bond.

It's not clear if Friedman has an attorney.

Photo Credit: Waterford Police Department

Driver Points Gun in Road Rage Incident on I-84


State police are seeking the public's help in finding a person involved in an armed road rage incident on Thursday morning.

A driver complained to state police that another driver got angry and pointed a handgun at him near exit 23 on Interstate 84 in Waterbury.

State police responded to the area at 6:30 a.m. in Southbury. They said that the suspect they are looking for has a thin build is 25 to 30 years old and has short black hair and facial hair.

The driver reported to police that the handgun pointed at him had a silver slide and black frame and that the offending motorist was driving a late 90s to early 2000 tan Chevrolet SUV that was either a Tahoe or Blazer, state police said. The license plate has 281 as the first three numbers.

The complaintant was driving an orange and black Ford F-350. It's unclear what triggered the road rage incident.

State police ask anyone with information to call Trooper Wildman of Troop A in Southbury at 203-267-2200 at extension 4372. Calls will remain confidential.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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