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Hartford, New Haven Schools Closed for Three Kings Day


Hartford and New Haven schools are closed Wednesday for Three Kings Day. 

The annual Three Kings Day Parade steps off at 9:30 a.m. in Hartford. U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) is scheduled to march in the parade and hand out presents afterword. The parade starts at 95 Park Street. 

New Haven schools don't have classes either because of the day also known as el Dia de los Reyes Magos or Little Christmas.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Man Accused of Crashing Into East Hartford Police Admitted to Buying Heroin: Police


A man accused of hitting three police officers with a car in East Hartford on Tuesday afternoon has an extensive criminal history, admitted to buying drugs, and has been placed in detox and on medical watch, according to authorities.

The suspect, Kevin McNeilly, 52, of Manchester, admitted to buying heroin in Hartford, going to the parking lot of the Hampton Inn and Suites in East Hartford to shooting up and then "flooring it" to get away when a security guard approached him, police said.

According to court records, McNeilly has an extensive criminal history that includes 33 arrests since 1981 on burglary and larceny charges, authorities said.

He is accused of crashing into the police officers after they approached him in the parking lot of the Hampton Inn and Suites on East River Drive in East Hartford at 2:45 p.m. because they believed there was a drug transaction, police said.

McNeilly reversed his car into two officers, who were on foot, and struck a third officer when he drove out of the lot, police said.

Officers fired their weapons, but McNeilly was not shot and fled, heading onto the Interstate 84 Eastbound ramp and onto Silver Lane, where he lost part of a tire, drove on lawns and crashed into a locked gate that leads to Applegate Lane, police said.

Police eventually caught up with him on Knollwood Road and took him into custody after shooting him with a stun gun to get him under control.

During the pursuit, McNeilly threw heroin from the car, according to the arrest warrant, and admitted to buying heroin in Hartford, then going to the hotel to inject the drugs.

He said he backed up when a security guard approached him, hit vehicles in the lot and and sped up to get away, police said.

The three injured officers were taken to Hartford Hospital, authorities said. Two have been released, but one remains hospitalized.

McNeilly, who was charged with engaging police in a pursuit, interfering with police, possession of narcotics and tampering with evidence, appeared in court on Wednesday in a wheelchair.

Bond was initially set at $1 million, but it was reduced to $800.

He is due back in court on Feb. 10.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Litchfield St. in Torrington Closed Near Hospital Due to Gas Leak


Litchfield Street in Torrington is closed near Charlotte Hungerford Hospital because of a gas leak, according to Litchfield County Dispatch.

The road is closed from Ivy Lane to Jackson Street.

The fire department was sent out at 7:11 a.m. and the road was closed at 7:36 a.m., officials said.

Officials said the gas leak is not at the hospital. Someone smelled gas outside a house, but it's not clear exactly where the leak was detected.

2 Connecticut Schools Closed Due to Heating Problems


Two schools are closing Wednesday morning because of heating issues. 

Putnam High School in Putnam is closing due to a heating problem, according to the central office for the district. School officials dismissed students at 8:15 a.m. Buses transported them home. 

Batcheller Early Education Center in Winchester is also shutting down because of heat issues. The boiler isn't working. School wasn't in session when the problem arose, so the school was already empty. 

More information will be provided when it becomes available. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Flickr RF

Thieves Steal Tires from Cars at Wethersfield Apartments


Wethersfield Police are searching for whomever is stealing tires from cars at The Village at Wethersfield apartments in recent weeks.

Zachary Cohen learned that someone stole the four tires from his car on Christmas Eve, when he walked outside.

“Went downstairs and found it collapsed on the milk crates -- flat on the ground with milk crates, with pretty significant damage," Cohen said.

The burglars did about $7,000 worth of damage to his Infinity.

“It’s really disconcerting. You know, you’re kind of afraid. You go to sleep every night and expect (it) to be OK where you leave it,” he said.

Wethersfield Police said tires from another car were stolen the same day.

On Jan. 3, the right side rims and tires were removed from two cars and the vehicles were left on a milk crate and a plastic tray.

“It’s sometimes difficult for the police to detect because, if you pull into the parking lot, they see you. They hide or run. Sometimes you just don’t see them," Lt. Andrew Power, of the Wethersfield Police Department, said.

“It’s almost, you know, once a week or twice a week and it really makes the residents unsteady and uneasy about where they live,” Cathy Topping said.

If you have any information, you're asked to call police.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Racing Champ Rescues Stuck Drivers


A champion off-road race car driver helped rescue people stranded in surging floodwaters wrought by the first in a series of El Niño-driven storms pummeling the Pacific Coast.

Elias Hanna, a Baja 1000 champion several times over, rushed to the aid of drivers stranded in the waterlogged streets of San Diego's Kearny Mesa neighborhood on Tuesday. Water levels surged to 3 feet in a matter of minutes, trapping drivers on Balboa Avenue near Off Road Warehouse, where Hanna works.

"Everyone kept going through it so I thought, 'OK, let's try it; hold on!'" recalled driver Bree Wrinkler, whose car stalled in the rising floodwaters between Mercury and Convoy streets. "Halfway through, my car just died and I had to wait for somebody to come push it out."

Wrinkler said within minutes, the whole street was underwater.

Hanna, who is used to driving through difficult conditions and challenging terrain, got behind the wheel of one of Off Road Warehouse's four-wheel drive Jeeps to rescue stranded drivers. One by one, Hanna pushed stalled cars out of the dangerous flood waters.

"I saw people in danger. We might as well help them out, take them out of the way," Hanna told NBC 7.

The rescue mission drew a crowd of nearly 100 as people stepped outside of nearby businesses to watch Hanna and his co-workers and cheer them on.

"We have friends all over the street, so they were cheering for us hoping each vehicle would pull out," Hanna said. "We’ve never seen Balboa Avenue like we did today."

After a full day of rescuing drivers and passengers, Hanna offered some advice.

"If you see a big lagoon, if you don’t have a four-wheel drive vehicle just don’t go through it — or we come out and save you," he said.

Photo Credit: NBC 7

Man Inappropriately Touched Child: PD


 A Naugatuck man was arrested after police say he inappropriately touched a child. 

William Monroe, 46, of Naugatuck, was charged with risk of injury to a child and second- and fourth-degree sexual assault. 

He was arrested Jan. 4 at 9:39 a.m. on an active warrant on charges of sexually assaulting a female under 18, police said. It's unknown how old the victim was and police have not released her identity due to her age.

During their investigation, police said they learned that Monroe inappropriately touched the girl. 

He was scheduled to appear in Waterbury Superior Court on Monday and was held in custody on a $200,000 surety bond. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Quake Shakes Southern California


A magnitude-4.5 earthquake centered in Riverside County produced shaking Wednesday morning across a widespread area of Southern California.

Shaking was reported in several Riverside County communities and areas of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Orange counties, including beach cities. The Riverside County Sheriff's Department and San Bernardino County Fire Department said there were no immediate reports of damage.

The quake was reported at 6:42 a.m. two miles north of Banning, a town about 85 miles east of downtown Los Angeles along the 10 Freeway in the San Gorgonio Pass. The earthquake in the San Andreas fault zone was initially reported with a magnitude of 4.8, but later downgraded to magnitude-4.5.

The USGS received hundreds of responses on its earthquake reporting page. Weak to light shaking was reported in Riverside, San Bernardino, Irvine, Mission Viejo, Anaheim, Newport Beach, Long Beach, Downey, other parts of Los Angeles and the high desert.

Residents said the shaking lasted about five seconds.

Landslides were reported after the earthquake on State Route 243 near Twin Pines Road in the Banning area, but authorities did not immediately confirm they are connected to the quake. Caltrans crews were responding to the slide, which occurred as heavy rains hammered Southern California during a week of storms that have increased the threat of landslides.

The quake was located within the San Andreas fault system, according to the USGS. Some of the region's strongest quakes have occurred within the expansive fault zone, which slices the state in two from northern to southern California.

"We always watch EQs near San Andreas closely, but because this area has a lot, the chance that anyone will trigger San Andreas is very low," tweeted USGS seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones.

Previous magnitude-4.5 and greater quakes along the fault in the Banning area were reported in 1986, 1988, 1992 and 2005. The largest was a magnitude-5.9 quake north of Palm Springs in July 1986.

Last week, a magntiude-4.3 quake shook the Devore area, about 40 miles northwest of Banning.

Photo Credit: USGS

Baby Giraffe Suffers Fatal Injury


A baby giraffe has died following what officials are calling a freak accident at Zoo Miami, according to zoo communications director Ron Magill.

"Wesley," who was born last May, had to be euthanized Tuesday after he lodged his head between two posts, panicked and caused a spinal injury that prevented him from being able to stand or maintain his equilibrium.

Officials said another giraffe was undergoing a procedure, and Wesley was likely trying to observe what was going on. He squeezed his head between two posts that separated the exhibit area from the holding area, and when he lowered his neck, his head got stuck.

Staff members were able to dislodge him, but it was unfortunately too late to prevent the debilitating injury.

In a statement, Magill said Zoo Miami veterinary teams tried a variety of treatments, but Wesley's condition continued to deteriorate, forcing them to make the difficult decision to euthanize him.

A necropsy will be performed on the giraffe Wednesday to provide more conclusive details regarding the injury. According to veterinary teams, the giraffe appears to have died as the result of spinal cord-related trauma.

Wesley was the 48th giraffe born at Zoo Miami. Officials said this is the first accident of its kind in Zoo Miami's history.

Teams are taking preventative measures by examining holding areas throughout the zoo in an effort to prevent any future accidents.

Photo Credit: Zoo Miami

Cold Weather Poses Challenges in Battling RV Fire


An RV caught fire in Thomaston and spread to a garage early Wednesday morning, now officials are looking into what caused it. 

The parked RV caught fire around 3 a.m. at 65 High St. and firefighters arrived to find it engulfed in flames, according to the Thomaston Fire Chief Jim O'Neill.

The fire had also spread to the garage, but firefighters contained it before it spread to any other structures. 

"Upon arrival, we had heavy fire extending to the garage," O'Neil said. 

The possible explosion of the RV's propane tank created concerns for firefighters, as well as the toxic smoke created by the burning mobile home's fiberglass body.

High Street was closed between Sanford Avenue and Thomas Street, but the street has reopened. 

Joyce Davidson, of Thomaston, said she was awoken by the sound of an explosion. Many other residents said they weren't sure what was happening when they woke up hearing what they thought might have been explosives. 

"When I opened my eyes, I could see a pink glow coming through the blinds," Davidson said. "I saw the flames, a lot of flames."

She said she "was a little worried about what was in there and if it exploded how far it would go."

The cold weather posed a challenge for firefighters as water froze while they tried to extinguish the fire. Firefighters had to wear ventilation packs because of the RV, but the frigid temperatures interfered with the packs, so they had to call in mutual aid to switch out manpower more frequently, the fire chief said. 

"The biggest thing we had here was the cold weather and a problem with gear, equipment freezing, regulators and air packs freezing," O'Neil said. "That made it a little bit difficult to fight."

Extra firefighters were also needed because of the water freezing. 

Firefighters from Cherryville, Northfield and Watertown responded to help fight the fire. 

No injuries were reported and the fire was out by 6 a.m.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Second Ex-UConn Student Charged With Arson at Storrs Apartments


A second former UConn student has been arrested and charged with arson after a state police investigation into fires that caused nearly $25,000 in damage to a townhouse apartment and several cars near the University of Connecticut campus in Storrs in October.

Police said two roommates -- Logan Rama, 20, of New Milford, and David Kuhn, 19, of Sherman -- are accused of setting fire to cars outside apartments after being thrown out of a party on Carriage House Drive.

Police responded to the apartments in Storrs around 5:20 a.m. on Oct. 11 to investigate reports of a motor vehicle fire and found three scorched cars. As investigators looked into the case, they determined the fire has been set with gasoline, police said.


Around 5:30 a.m., a witness who had been sleeping on a couch at one of the apartments woke up to the sound of someone screaming and saw that the inside of the apartment door was on fire, so they grabbed a pitcher and cup of water and put it out.

With the fire out, they went back to sleep until they heard the sound of popping from outside and saw a car was on fire, police said. Then, police started recieving 911 calls about the fires and witnesses told police that two men had tried to get into a party the night before, but were asked several times to leave.

During the last request to leave, one of the men allegedly said, “It would be a shame if something happened to this place tonight,” according to the arrest warrant application.

One witness identified one of the suspects as an employee of a UConn dining hall, but did not know his name. Police later identified the man as Rama. 

Once police had Rama's name, they went to his off-campus apartment, where they found two pairs of sneakers they believed to have gasoline on them, as well as a plastic bucket in the bathroom with suspected gasoline, according to the arrest warrant application.

While speaking with police, Rama said he was at Carriage House and went to a party, but denied being in a fight, according to the arrest warrant application.

"I do not want to confess to something that is going to ruin my life," he said, according to the arrest warrant application, then said he no longer wanted to speak with police.

When police questioned Kuhn, he told police he thought he bumped into someone at the party and someone came at him, throwing punches, but he and Rama left after someone broke up the fight and told them to leave.

Kuhn also denied that he or Rama said anything like “it would be a shame if something happened to this place tonight.”

He did, however, say they decide to go back to Carriage House and “get some justice,” according to police, and came up with a plan to use gasoline and burn the front lawn of the apartment where the party was, according to the arrest warrant application.

When they got back to Carriage House Road, both men got out of the car, Kuhn said, and Rama poured the gasoline on the cars and grass, while Kuhn used a lighter to ignite the gas, according to police documents.

Police have charged Rama with first-degree arson, first-degree conspiracy to commit arson, first-degree criminal mischief, tampering with a motor vehicle and first-degree reckless endangerment.

Rama turned himself in to police on Wednesday morning and bond was set at $500,000.

Officials from UConn said Kuhn and Rama were enrolled at UConn from the Fall 2014 semester through the Fall 2015 semester, but is no longer enrolled.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

City Distributing Community Donations to 120 Bridgeport Fire Victims


Truckloads of donations are being delivered Wednesday to more than 100 people forced from their homes in a massive Bridgeport fire on New Year's Eve so they can begin the process of rebuilding their lives after losing everything. 

The condominium complex at 215 Charles Street has been torn down completely after burning for hours on end on New Year's Eve, starting at about 6:15 a.m. The condo building contained about three dozen units. Firefighters used aerial ladders to rescue people trapped inside.

One firefighter suffered a minor injury and was taken to the hospital but later returned to the scene. No residents were hurt.

Part of the building collapsed, several units were destroyed and residents lost everything, from Christmas presents to their shoes. 

The fire appears to have started in the garage, where several cars were burning under the building, and several residents said they woke up to find smoke and hear booms from below. 

The mayor's office put out a call for donations and the community responded in very big way. The donations will be distributed at the Bridgeport Rescue Mission. 

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

If you'd still like to help the families, here's how you can: 

The displaced families are in need of clothing for boy and girls, from infants to teenagers, clothing for men and women of all ages, toys for all ages, food for people and food and items for cats and dogs.

You can drop the donations off at Health and Social Services, at 752 East Main Street in Bridgeport.

Donations of clothing, food and other necessities will be accepted from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at city Hall Annex, 999 Broad Street today and Saturday.

For monetary donations for the families, contact:

The Red Cross 
c/o Charles Street Fire
158 Brooklawn Avenue
Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604
Phone: 1-877-287-3327

Middletown Police Still Searching for Endangered Missing Man


Middletown Police continue to search for a 43-year-old man they consider as endangered missing.

Charles Carr was reported missing on November 27, 2015. They said Carr was last seen by his girlfriend on November 25 in Middletown.

Carr, from Bridgeport, is described as a black male, standing 6'3" and weighing 260 lbs. He has a scar on his right arm.

Police also said Carr takes medication for health conditions and, according to his family, he also suffers from mental illness.

Carr may still be in the Bridgeport area, but does not have access to a vehicle.

Anyone with information on Carr's whereabouts is asked to contact Middletown Police.

20-Year-Old Sentenced for Gun Charge in 2014 Shooting Death Case


A Connecticut 20-year-old has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on a weapons charge stemming from a 2014 fatal shooting in New Haven in which he remains a suspect.

The New Haven Register reported that 20-year-old Jeffrey Covington was sentenced Tuesday after he was convicted of criminal possession of a firearm.

A deadlocked jury led to a mistrial in the October prosecution of Covington for the March 24, 2014 shooting that killed Taijhon Washington, 17, of New Haven, and injured his 16-year-old half-brother, Travon, but he was found guilty of a weapons charge, according to the New Haven Superior Court clerk's office.

Covington was charged April 16, 2014 with murder, first-degree assault and discharging a firearm and carrying a pistol without a permit after Washington was shot and killed near an elementary school in the area of Butler and Lilac streets and his half-brother was critically injured. 

Both teens were found lying on the sidewalk near Lincoln Bassett Elementary School.

Covington, who had pleaded not guilty of the charges, was convicted for carrying a pistol without a permit. A mistrial was declared for the murder and assault charges involving the discharge of a firearm charge when the jury couldn't agree on the murder charge.

The cause of Taijhon Washington's death was determined to be gunshots to the chest, according to the affidavit.

As police investigated, they received a tip about Covington bragging about being responsible for the homicide, according to the affidavit. The documents also say there had been a history of issues because the suspect and his friends and the victims.

According to one statement police received, Covington said one of the victims had snitched on him. 

Police arrested Covington and picked him up on an outstanding probation violation warrant.

When Covington initially spoke with police, he denied any involvement in the shootings or being near the scene at all. 

He said he learned about the shooting after watching the news, but admitted to having a problem with one of his family members, according to court documents.

Covington was being held in custody on a $2 million bond. 

Senior Assistant State's Attorney John Doyle Jr. says Covington will be retried on the murder charge. He pleaded not guilty at his initial trial.

Pregnant Woman Found Dead: Sources


The body of a missing 39-year-old pregnant woman was pulled from the basement crawl space of the Bronx home where she was last seen, police sources told NBC 4 New York.

The sources confirmed to NBC 4 New York Wednesday that the body found earlier that morning was believed to be Andrea Caruth. A person of interest is being questioned in connection with the case.

The five-months pregnant woman was reported missing after last being seen at her home on Corsa Avenue around 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

Her body was found around 3 a.m. Wednesday. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The medical examiner will determine how she died.

Julia McCall said she and Caruth are best friends and were supposed to have brunch Sunday. McCall never heard from her.

Caruth's live-in boyfriend called McCall Monday and said she never came home Sunday night, even though her car still sat in the parking lot.

"It's mind-boggling," said McCall. "Her car is here, wallet, keys, phone, credit cards, pocketbook. Even heavy jacket."

Friends and family said Caruth was looking forward to giving birth to her first child.

"She was very excited," said McCall. "It's her first child, she even had a name picked out."

Caruth's cousin, Javid Caruth, said he was trying to understand why anyone would take the life of his relative.

"It's devastating. The family want to know who would do it," Caruth said. "She was a nice girl, sweet. We grew up together so it's like, the memory is going to always be there."

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

N. Korea's Hydrogen Bomb Claim: What to Know


North Korea's claim that it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb set off international alarm bells, but can Pyongyang's claim be trusted?

The announcement was a message from Kim Jong Un who wants to cement his status at home as a leader while simultaneously showing the outside world that Pyongyang is a force to be reckoned with, according to analysts.

The country is believed to have a handful of nuclear warheads and has carried out three previous nuclear tests since 2006. That doesn't mean North Korea is all the way there: Pyongyang lacks the missile technology to launch those weapons long distances, according to Western officials and experts.

If authentic, Wednesday's test would mark the first North Korean nuclear test involving a hydrogen bomb. However, experts say North Korea has a tendency to exaggerate its nuclear prowess and lacks the technological capability to produce a hydrogen bomb.

The U.S. should still be worried. North Korea could acquire that capability within the next few years, one expert said. 

Photo Credit: AP
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Seven Displaced in Manchester Fire


Seven people have been displaced after an apartment fire in Manchester Wednesday afternoon.

A fire broke out in the ceiling of a single unit at 39 Buckland Street, prompting evacuations to nearby units as a precaution. 

The fire has since been knocked down and crews are in the process of overhauling the scene. 

No one was injured.

The American Red Cross is assisting seven people displaced in the fire. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Man Sentenced to 42 Years in Baby's Death


The man charged in the stabbing death of a baby girl in Bristol has been sentenced to 42 years in prison.

Arthur Hapgood was charged in the murder of 1-year-old Zaniyah Calloway, who died after she was stabbed in the torso in 2014. He pleaded not guilty to all charges, according to the judicial district.

Hapgood’s mother was caring for Zaniyah at her home on Park Street in Bristol when Hapgood suddenly grew angry and grabbed a knife, according to family members.

According to the arrest warrant for Hapgood, he was smoking marijuana outside his family’s place that night, walked inside in a fit of rage, grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed the 1-year-old in the stomach.

Hapgood, who was identified as an extended family member of Zaniyah, admitted to taking illegal drugs before to the stabbing, police said.

In 2014, Republican lawmakers said Hapgood's past was filled with warning signs before the crime.

He was arrested more than two dozen times in the decades before the murder on charges ranging from drug-related incidents to robbery and got out of jail early through the early release program.

Hapgood was sentenced to 42 years in prison, but is eligible for parole after 25 years.

Darien Gas Line Shut Off


Some homes in Darien were evacuated as a precaution after a gas line ruptured in the area of Intervale and Abbey roads, but are allowed to go back to their homes, according to police.

The gas has been shut off, but the road remains closed as crews make repairs to the line. 

Police, firefighters and Eversource are at the scene.

Check back for updates.

Woman Crashed While Drunk With Kids in Car: PD


A 39-year-old Amston woman was arrested on multiple charges after police said she mixed alcohol with prescription medication and crashed in Glastonbury with driving drunk with children in the car who weren't in seats. 

Amanda M. MacTavish, 39, of Amston, drove through a stop sign and collided with a utility pole and wall while she had seven passengers in her van on Hebron Avenue (Route 94) in Glastonbury, police said. Officers responded to the road near the Birch Mountain Road intersection after receiving a report of an accident with injuries. 

Police learned in their investigation that MacTavish drank alcohol with her prescription medications before the crash, police said. Four of the passengers in her car, including three children between 7 and 15, weren't in seats, according to police. 

Police charged MacTavish with operating under the influence, a stop sign violation, three counts of failure to secure passengers 7 to 15 years old, reckless endangerment and risk of injury to a minor. 

She was released on a $25,000 non-surety bond and is scheduled to appear in Manchester Superior Court on Jan. 13. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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