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DMV Wait Times Increase With New Computer Software


Months after the state Department of Motor Vehicles implemented a new computer system, average wait times at most branches have more than doubled across the state.

In Hamden, the average wait time has jumped five times what it was in the fall of 2014, according to data just released by the DMV.

Through a Freedom of Information request, the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters received a comparison of average waits at branches between the early fall of 2014 and the early fall of 2015. We learned waits have gone up a lot since the new system was put online in mid August. Here’s some of the wait time data:

                                Oct. 2014                                                 Oct. 2015

Bridgeport             38:36                                                         2:08:13
Danbury                 25:33                                                        1:12:08
Enfield                    41:44                                                        1:07:36
Hamden                 22:04                                                        1:54:54
New Britain           29:32                                                         1:48:48
Norwalk                 31:49                                                         1:34:47
Norwich                 32:02                                                         1:42:49
Old Saybrook        46:40                                                         2:01:58
Waterbury              26:38                                                         1:17:28
Wethersfield          40:43                                                         1:17:35
Willimantic             19:43                                                         1:06:37
Winsted                  27:20                                                         2:04:51

These numbers may not tell the full story. They include the time from when you get your ticket to wait in line to the time you first reach the counter.

Another interesting point, DMV workers tell NBC Connecticut the fall is their “quieter” season. During the spring and summer they say they have a higher volume of customers because people register convertibles, motorcycles, and other seasonal vehicles.

“We are reviewing this data closely. It is critical that we be faster and more responsive to customers because they deserve no less," DMV Commissioner Andres Ayala said in a statement on Thursday. "While we are just 11 weeks into the launch, we know that wait times must be brought down. We are working to resolve it," he said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Admin. Speaks on Death Threat Claim


Fox Lake Village Administrator Anne Marrin on Thursday said she felt "unsettled" after police revealed the now-disgraced police officer whose death was ruled a suicide Wednesday tried to hire a hit-man to kill her. 

"It's a very scary thought that an officer who was sworn to uphold the law would even think to do that to an administrator," she said. 

Det. Chris Covelli with the Lake County Sheriff's office claimed earlier in the day that Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz sent a text message asking someone to contact a "high-ranking gang member to put a hit on the village manager." Gliniewicz also suggested the hit man could "plant something" on the manager, Covelli said.

"The tone of those text messages was to contact a high-level motorocycle gang member," Covelli said.

The person Gliniewicz texted told investigators the late officer indeed asked for a hit man to kill the village administrator, but the alleged motorcycle gang member denied any knowledge of the request. 

Small packages of cocaine were also found in Gliniewicz's desk, Covelli said. The cocaine was in an unmarked evidence bag that was not associated with any case, but Covelli added it wasn't clear if the cocaine was related to the alleged plot to have the village administrator killed. 

"That was a theory we looked at, nothing we can prove," he said.  

"It's very unsettling," Marrin said. "It's quite unbelievable and almost surreal."

Marrin was looking into Fox Lake's finances, including the Police Explorers program, which authorities allege Gliniewicz embezzled from for the past seven years.

Marrin said "there were a lot of red flags" that came up while she pressed Gliniewicz for details on the Explorer program, a process that began in March and continued until the morning before his September death.

"When I heard that he was concerned that I was asking tough questions about the police explorer program, it only confirmed to me that asking the tough questions was the absolute right thing to do," she said. "In fact, getting at the truth about the administration of the explorer's program was the only thing that had to be done."

The news, first reported by the Associated Press, comes one day after officials announced that a months-long investigation into Gliniewicz's fatal shooting had determined the officer's death, which rocked the small community about 60 miles north of Chicago and prompted a massive manhunt, was a "carefully staged suicide" and "the end result of extensive criminal acts."

Lake County Major Crimes Task Force Commander George Filenko revealed that Gliniewicz had been stealing and laundering money from the Fox Lake Police Explorer Post for seven years, using thousands of dollars for personal purchases, mortgages, travel expenses, gym memberships, adult websites and to facilitate person loans. He also said Gliniewicz forged signatures in official documents.

In total, officials said 6,500 pages of text messages from Gliniewicz's personal and work phones were reviewed during the investigation.

The text messages reveal that Marrin loomed large in Gliniewicz’s fears.

"She hates me," he texted someone identified only as "Individual 2," who suggested, "Hopefully she decides to get a couple of drinks in her and she gets a DUI."

"Trust me," Gliniewicz replied. "I’ve thought it through. Many scenarios, from planting things, to the Volo bog."

Marrin noted that her limited interactions with Gliniewicz, while brief, were always "pleasant."

"We never fought, there were never harsh words," she said. 

She said she last received an email from Gliniewicz the morning before his suicide. 

"The news that Gliniewicz engaged in the same criminal activity that he swore to combat, while shocking, is not at all surprising," Marrin said. "But his conduct should not reflect on the men and women who wear the same uniform and serve their communities daily, faithfully and with integrity." 

Marrin said two Fox Lake officers have volunteered to take over the Police Explorer's program and the program will continue, along with her audit.

"It’s been very scary, it’s been surreal, but I have been tasked to do a job and I have to see this through and that is my plan," she said.

Gliniewicz's wife and son are also under investigation in the case, a source close to the investigation told NBC5 News. No charges had been filed as of Thursday morning.

Photo Credit: NBC Chicago
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Dad, Twins Propose to Mom in NICU


A father of newborn twins born two months premature got help from his two tiny helpers Thursday when he proposed to their mother in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns in San Diego.

Chula Vista resident Andres Alonso, 24, popped the question to the mother of his children, Fernanda Busani, 20, by dressing their twin babies in custom onesies that read, “Will You Marry My Daddy?”

Alonso sat in a sofa chair inside their hospital room, with one newborn tucked into each of his arms, an engagement ring box open on a pillow beside him, waiting for Busani.

When the mother realized what was happening, she was shocked and overwhelmed with happiness.

She said yes, much to the delight of teary-eyed nurses watching the sweet proposal.

Jessica Crawford, a spokesperson for Sharp Memorial Hospital, said the NICU nurses knew about the sweet proposal ahead of time, and were very excited to watch the plan unfold, counting the seconds until Alonso popped the question.

“In fact, a nurse peeked through the curtains a second before Fernanda turned the corner. She realized what was happening and bolted out of there just in time,” Crawford recounted.

Crawford told NBC 7 the couple’s twin boys – Maximiliano and Santiago – were born at Sharp Mary Birch on Oct. 8, at 31 weeks gestation. Their original due date was Dec. 8. At birth, the twins weighed just over three pounds.

Crawford said the twins have been patients at the NICU for the past month, where they will continue to stay until they are discharged, likely around their original due date next month.

Despite the dozens of families treated at the Sharp Mary Birch NICU over the past 13 years, Crawford said proposals like this are an uncommon event at the NICU, making this family’s story very memorable for staffers.

For the happy new parents and soon-to-be newlyweds, it too was a day that will go down in their family’s history.

Alonso and Busani released this joint statement to NBC 7 Thursday afternoon, following the proposal:

“We would like to thank Sharp Mary Birch for this wonderful experience. The babies couldn’t have been somewhere better. We also would like to thank the nurses for always helping out and being so friendly. We are so happy and thankful that our twins are advancing quickly and will soon be home. We will now officially be a happy family.”

Photo Credit: Sharp Mary Birch

Meriden Elects Young New Mayor


Kevin Scarpati injected himself into politics at a very young age.

At age 19 he won a seat on the Meriden Board of Education. By age 22 he had won a seat on the Meriden City Council as a Republican. Now, at age 26, he has the city's top job.

"I'm really excited about what's ahead" Scarpati said, two days after he narrowly defeated first term Republican Manny Santos.

The mayor serves only two year terms in Meriden.

Scarpati said he initially supported Santos two years ago but said his approach to government didn't jive with his.

"He said 'no' to a lot of ideas" Scarpati said.

Those disagreements are things he says he wants to avoid when he takes over next month.

“I think one of the issues we’ve had over the last few years is a lack of communication. Anytime you’re in city government, in a leadership role, communication is key" Scarpati said. "So it’s important to stay positive, pick your battles, understand that you’re not going to win everything and compromise.”

Santos contends he never got a fair shot to enact his priorities for the city simply because he had an "R" next to his name.

“Two years is a short time to get anything done, especially with a majority on the city council that oppose you at every turn" Santos said Thursday.

Santos says he wants Meriden to succeed, grow its grand list, and have strong employers that employ city residents. He says he hopes Scarpati gets more support than he ever did.

“I’m just hopeful that this city council, the new one that will get sworn in next month will treat this mayor with more respect than they did myself.”

Scarpati is a physical education teacher at the Meriden YMCA and he also runs after school programs at a pair of Meriden Middle Schools. He says he'll hold onto his job as a gym teacher, and said he wants to figure out a way to stay so involved with city youth.

"I'm from here and went to school here" Scarpati said. "I think it's important."

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Berlin Turnpike Closed Due to Crash


The Berlin Turnpike (Route 5/15) is shut down near Middletown Road in Berlin because of a crash, according to police.

Berlin police say the southbound side of the road is shut down for an active investigation into a crash. They are not releasing any details about the accident at this time and it is unclear how long the road will be shut down.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Officers, Drivers Injured in Stratford Crash


Two police officers and two people have been taken to the hospital after a three-car crash on Surf Avenue in Stratford, near Stagg Street.

The police officers injured were in the same cruiser and were taken to Bridgeport Hospital as a precaution. The two other people hurt  were driving the other cars involved. No information was immediately available on what hospitals they were taken to.

State police earlier said a pedestrian was struck on the Interstate 95 South Surf Avenue ramp, which was closed on Thursday morning, but has since reopened. 

The injuries are minor, but the road will be closed until further notice. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Astronauts Fix Leaking Ammonia During Spacewalk


Spacewalking astronauts encountered leaking ammonia and minor glove damage while performing plumbing work outside the International Space Station on Friday, then fell so far behind that they had to leave a radiator job undone.

NASA said neither the leak nor glove snag posed any danger to Kjell Lindgren or Scott Kelly, making their second spacewalk in 1 1/2 weeks.

Lindgren reported intermittent flakes of escaping toxic ammonia while making connections in a cooling line two hours into the spacewalk. He assured Mission Control it appeared to be just a small leak.

The astronauts later checked each other's suits for ammonia residue and found none. Such contamination could be hazardous if brought inside.

Minutes after the ammonia leak, Kelly reported that the forefinger of his right glove had a stitch poking out. He said it looked like a loop. Flight controllers in Houston scrambled to make certain the damage was, indeed, slight and superficial; they determined it was.

Although the astronauts got out the hatch an hour early to work on the space station's cooling system, the ammonia leak slowed them down, so much so that Mission Control had them undo their radiator work.

The spacewalkers' main job was to undo jury-rigged repairs made to a leaky cooling line three years ago. The ammonia leak subsequently was fixed another way — by replacing a failed pump — so NASA wanted the radiator system back in its original setup. That meant topping off the ammonia coolant supply and retracting a backup radiator no longer needed.

The ammonia refill went well. So did the radiator retraction. It took Lindgren 50 turns on a pistol-grip tool to fold up the 44-foot-long radiator, accordion style. There was no time to cinch it down, however, so he had to redeploy it a few hours later, his earlier effort wasted.

Leaving the backup radiator fully extended should pose little risk for damage, NASA said.

Their Oct. 28 spacewalk featured a robot-arm lube job and other mundane maintenance.

Kelly has been at the 250-mile-high outpost since March, and isn't due back until next March. Friday marked his 224th consecutive day in orbit, already a U.S. record. His companion for the long haul is Russian Mikhail Kornienko.

Four other astronauts are on board for the typical six months: Lindgren along with a Japanese and two other Russians.

"Going off grid for spacewalk," Kelly said via Twitter before heading out. "I'll be back w you again soon!"

His identical twin, Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut, wished him luck. "Be safe & don't break anything on the @Space_Station!" he said in a tweet.

This was the 190th spacewalk in the station's 17-year history. Astronauts have been on board, continuously, for 15 years.

Man Falls From Royal Caribbean Ship


The United States Coast Guard is searching for a 35-year-old man who fell from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship early Friday.

Coast Guard official said the man, a passenger from Brazil, was on the seventh deck of the Oasis of the Seas ship when he jumped onto a lifeboat one deck below around 1 a.m. ET Friday.

The cruise line said the man, who has not been identified, plunged into the ocean below, about 17 miles east of Turks and Caicos.

Crew members observed the man "intentionally going over the side of the ship," Royal Caribbean said in a statement. A video briefly posted to YouTube showed several people apparently trying to pull the man back on board the ship as he clings to the raft. One man is heard screaming, "Hold on to him, don't let him go." The video has been taken down. 

A pair of response boats were dispatched from the ship and conducted searches overnight, according to the Coast Guard.

In a tweet, the Coast Guard said they are searching for the man roughly 80 nautical miles north of port city of Managuan in the Bahamas.

The Coast Guard said it would deploy a C-130 transport aircraft out of Clearwater, Florida, and a MH-60 helicopter from the Bahamas to continue the search at first daylight.

The Oasis of the Seas is currently on a week-long cruise in the eastern Caribbean, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

"Our Care Team is providing support to the guest’s family and our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time," the statement said.

This is a developing story and will be updated as new information becomes available.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Checked Luggage Suspended Amid Cargo Bomb Theory


Several international airlines flying from Egypt suspended all checked luggage on Friday, only allowing carry-on bags, NBC News reported.

KLM said its flights from Cairo to Amsterdam would only allow carry-on luggage “out of precaution,” according to NBC News.

The British government, which suspended flights to and from the Sharm el-Sheikh resort two days ago, began bringing home stranded tourists Friday. But flights were subject to “addition security measures,” according to a statement from a government spokesman.

The move comes as consensus grew that a bomb was placed in the cargo hold of a Russian airliner that crashed in the Sinai Peninsula on Saturday.

Metrojet Flight 9268 crashed killing all 224 people on board shortly after it took off on Saturday.

Photo Credit: AP

Live Wires Removed from School Bus, Truck in East Hartford

Fox Lake Officer's Personnel File Details Multiple Offenses


Lt. Joe Gliniewicz’s personnel file going back to the beginning of his career in Fox Lake reveals the beloved officer — who officials say tried to hire a hit-man to kill a village administrator — had been accused of a litany of offenses.

Documents show that Gliniewicz was suspended “6 times” for a total of “30 days for an inappropriate sexual relationship with a subordinate.” 

Additionally, he was accused of “sexual harassment and making threats to a dispatcher” as well as “inappropriately touching women” at department parties.

Photo Credit: NBC Chicago

At Least 15 Dead, Dozens Missing After Mining Dam Bursts in Brazil


At least 15 people were dead and 45 others missing after a dam burst in south eastern Brazil Thursday, destroying dozens of homes and covering a neighborhood in thick sludge of mining waste, NBC News reported.

The dam at the Germano mine near the historic town of Mariana, the oldest city in the state of Minas Gerais, was holding tailings, a mining waste product of metal filings, water and occasionally chemicals.

There was no official confirmation on the number of dead and missing, and the mine's owner, Samarco, said the full extend of the disaster has not ben determined.

Samarco is a joint venture between top iron ore miners, Brazil's Vale and Australia's BHP.

Photo Credit: AP

1 Killed, 2 Injured in Bridgeport Shootings


One person was killed, one is in critical condition and other arrived at the hospital in a private car after a shooting in Bridgeport on Thursday night.

Police responded to Washington Avenue and Center Street at 6:45 p.m. after receiving reports that gunshots rang out and found two people with gunshot wounds.

Miguel Arguelles, 22, of Hanover Street, was shot in the neck and shoulder and died at St. Vincent’s Hospital after an ambulance transported him from the scene, police said.

One of the victims is a 22-year-old man, who was shot in the stomach. An ambulance brought him to St. Vincent’s Hospital, where he is in critical condition.

The third victim, a 21-year-old man, was shot in the leg and a private vehicle brought him to St. Vincent’s Hospital.

Police said there have been 16 homicides in Bridgeport this year. They are pursuing leads as they investigate the homicide
Police said this was a homicide and police are investigating leads.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Girlfriend of Florida Man Dead in Murder-Suicide: 'I Can't See Him Doing It'


A woman is grieving and in shock after the man she planned a future with not only killed his estranged wife, but his own child, before killing himself, according to Hialeah Police.

Juan Carlos Cantos Padron's estranged wife was found dead this week inside her Hialeah apartment. Records show she had filed for divorce 10 days ago.

Ivette Lopez remains in shock, "I can't see him doing it. I really, I can't. I can't picture it."

She said she started dating Padron three months ago after he became estranged from his wife, Raiza Dominguez Mateo. He started working at the apartment complex where Lopez lives.

"We were going to open up a company. A remodeling company," Lopez said.

But those dreams were dashed after police found the bodies of Padron and his 6-year-old son, Yoan Sebastian Cantos, dead inside his vehicle in southwest Miami-Dade after an Amber Alert was issued for the boy.

The other victim, Padron's estranged wife, was found dead in her apartment.

"I kept telling him, I said, 'Just walk away,'" Lopez said.

Court records show, back in 2013, Mateo had asked the court to protect her from domestic violence involving her husband. The order expired but Lopez exclusively told NBC 6 there was trouble recently over the boy.

"Every time he dropped the boy off, there was a struggle because the little boy didn't want to stay with her. He wanted to go with him," Lopez said.

The landlord where Padron was living told NBC 6 he appeared to have a good relationship with his son. Lopez doesn't know if the recent divorce filing triggered something in Padron.

"We talked a lot about the emotional stages that the child could go through and the promise that he made to him because his son kept telling him that he didn't want another dad, that he only wanted one mom and one dad," Lopez said.

Lopez said she last saw the boy and his father on Sunday at a gas station with no red flags arising.

Detectives said they are still investigating the case. 

Route 6 in Farmington Reopens

Panty Thief Returned Damaged Underwear: Police


A man broke into a house in Bethel, stole several pairs of woman’s underwear, damaged them and brought them back, according to police.

Nelson Montalvo, 50, of Monroe, took 30 to 40 pairs of underwear, cut holes in them, and then brought them back, according to police.

Montalvo knew the victim and confessed to doing it, according to police, but it’s not clear why he took the panties.

Police said they began investigating after a complaint was filed and charged Montalvo with five counts of third-degree burglary, fifth-degree larceny, third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree breach of peace.

He was released on a $2,500 surety bond and is due back in court on Nov. 9.

NBC Connecticut left a message with the attorney listed on the online court document, but no one was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Bethel Police

U.S. Slams 'Offensive' Comments by Netanyahu Aide


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's new spokesman on Thursday apologized for a series of insulting comments about President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, days before his boss heads to Washington on a fence-mending mission, The Associated Press reported.

The apology from Ran Baratz, issued through Netanyahu's office, cast a cloud over Monday's visit.

Netanyahu and Obama have had a chilly relationship over the years, and the meeting is meant in part to repair ties after repeated clashes over the U.S.-led nuclear deal with Iran.

Netanyahu announced Baratz's appointment as his chief spokesman late Wednesday, and soon after, old Facebook posts had emerged in which Baratz suggested that Obama is anti-Semitic and Kerry cannot be taken seriously. He also derided Israel's popular president as "marginal."

The State Department called Baratz's comments "troubling and offensive."

Photo Credit: AP

Brothers Inspired by Trump Face Hate Crime Charges


Two brothers charged with beating and urinating on a homeless immigrant in Boston, one of whom said they were inspired in part by Donald Trump's comments about immigrants, have been indicted on felony hate crime charges.

Scott Leader, 38, and Steve Leader, 30, both of South Boston, were indicted Thursday by a Suffolk County grand jury on civil rights violations while causing bodily injury, which carry a penalty of up to 10 years in state prison, according to Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley. The indictments also charge both men with assault and battery for purposes of intimidation causing bodily injury, two counts of assault and battery and two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Both men have been in custody since their Aug. 19 arrests. They were ordered held without bail at their arraignment under the state's dangerousness statute. The indictments move their cases to Suffolk Superior Court.

The men allegedly kicked, punched and urinated on the victim, a 58-year-old Mexican immigrant who was sleeping near the JFK/UMass MBTA station, around 12:30 a.m. on Aug. 19. One of them allegedly hit the victim repeatedly with a metal pole. They then walked away laughing, according to witnesses.

The victim was taken to Boston Medical Center, where he was treated for a broken nose, serious bruising across his torso and other injuries.

At the state police barracks in South Boston, Scott Leader allegedly made a series of incriminating statements, including that he and his brother "tuned up" an "illegal immigrant," and that his behavior was acceptable because the victim was homeless and Hispanic.

According to police, one brother also told officers that Republican presidential candidate Trump "was right" about deporting "all these illegals."

Trump sent out a tweet in the wake of the assault calling the incident "terrible" and saying he would never condone violence.

No date has been set for their Superior Court arraignments. Their next scheduled court date is in Dorchester on Dec. 9.

Photo Credit: necn

Police Search for Missing East Hartford Teen


East Hartford police are asking for help to find a teen who has been missing for almost two weeks.

Fifteen-year-old Alysia Kowalski, of East Hartford, has been missing since Saturday, Oct. 24, and East Hartford police issued a news release on Friday asking for help to find her. 

She is 4-feet-9, weighs 120 pounds and was wearing jeans and a sweatshirt with purple sleeves when she was last seen.

Anyone with information on where Alysia is should call East Hartford Police at 860-528-4401.

Photo Credit: East Hartford Police

Temperatures Tumble This Weekend


Temperatures will drop heading into the weekend and that means no more 70 degree weather for a while!

A new record high temperature was set in Windsor Locks on Friday at 76 degrees. Bridgeport also set a record at 71 degrees.


A cold front comes through this evening, and with it could come a few showers.

Tomorrow's dramatically cooler. Sunshine will be filtered by high clouds and temperatures will only be in the lower 60s!

Complete sunshine is expected on Sunday but it will be on the cool side. Temperatures will only peak in the upper 40s to middle 50s.

Monday's also sunny and dry, and temperatures will be in the middle and upper 50s.

A storm system will be fairly close to the state on Tuesday, and that means an abundance of clouds with the possibility of showers.

A blend of clouds and sun returns on Wednesday, before more unsettled weather on Thursday.

High temperatures will be in the upper 50s to near 60 degrees next week.

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