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Snow, Rain Move in to Greet the New Year


The state will see rain showers and snow showers just in time to ring in the new year.

Saturday begins with a mix of sunshine and clouds, but by 9 p.m. snow will move in to northwestern parts of the state and move across the rest of Connecticut.

The snow shouldn’t be enough to thwart New Year’s Eve plans, but it will be enough to coat roads and make for slippery driving conditions.

Up north some towns may see the snow accumulate to a half inch of so. The southern part of the state will be slightly warmer and should expect only rain showers.

New Year’s Day looks sunny with highs in the 40s. Monday temperatures drop back into the 30s and bring a chance of some freezing rain.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

1 Dead After Crash on I-95 North in Westport


One person is dead after a crash on Interstate 95 in Westport Saturday morning.

Police said they responded to a multi-vehicle crash between exits 17 and 18 on I-95 north around 5:15 a.m.

According to police, one person was killed and several others were taken to local hospitals for treatment of minor injuries. None of the victims have been identified.

At least two vehicles crashed and police are investigating if a third car was involved.

No other details were immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Norwich Building to be Torn Down After Overnight Fire


A Norwich building that houses several businesses is being torn down after it was ravaged by fire overnight Saturday.

According to Chief Keith Milton of the East Great Plain Volunteer Fire Company, firefighters responded to a structure fire at the corner of West Main Street and Banas Court around 3:30 a.m. When crews arrived they found heavy fire coming from the building, which houses six or seven businesses.

Mutual aid was called in to assist. The fire was declared under control around 6 a.m.

Milton said there were no injuries, but there is extensive damage to the building and it will have to be torn down.

Icy conditions made it tricky for firefighters to get around while working this fire, Milton said.

The fire marshal’s office is investigating the cause.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

New Haven Police Arrest Suspect in at Least 7 Burglaries


New Haven police have arrested a man accused in at least seven burglaries at downtown businesses since Christmas.

Police said Officer Garry Monk was working an assignment on Orange and Center Streets when he heard a cracking sound coming from around the corner. When he went to check it out, he found a man swinging a metal rod at the glass door of Ninth Square Market at 72 Orange Street.

Monk called for backup and took the man, identified as Erik Alan Silberberg, 43, of New Haven, into custody.

According to police, Silberberg confessed to at least seven commercial burglaries since Christmas, including a series of smash-and-grab crimes downtown Thursday into Friday.

Silberberg also reportedly confessed to burglaries at Jo Bella Salon on Temple Street, Foot Locker on Chapel Street, and an apartment building on Court Street in November.

Silberberg faces multiple burglary-related charges for these crimes.

Commercial burglaries have been an ongoing issue in the area and police officials praised Monk for his reaction.

“Capturing this man was our top priority”, said New Haven Police Detective Sgt. Derek Gartner in a release. “We are grateful Officer Monk was at the right place at the right time. He did his job and New Haven is a safer place for it.”

Photo Credit: New Haven Police Department

New Year's Eve Around The World


Photo Credit: Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images

Crews Battle Large Blaze in Waterbury


Fire and emergency crews are on scene at a large fire in Waterbury at the intersection of South Main Street and Pearl Lake Road. 

Fire officials tell NBC Connecticut the fire is inside of an old factory building and that they have no reports of any civilian or firefighter injuries. 

Crews said they received the emergency call around 8:45 p.m. and by the time they arrived on scene, the building was fully engulfed in flames. 

This is a developing story and we have a crew headed to the scene. We will update this story with more information as it becomes available. 

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Department of Transportation

New Year's Eve Stabbing in Norwich Sends One Man to Hospital


One man was sent to the hospital with life-threatening injuries following a New Year’s Eve stabbing incident in Norwich, police say.

Norwich Police tell NBC Connecticut that they responding to a reported stabbing at 156 Broadway in Norwich at 11:34 p.m. on New Year’s Eve .

A victim, 33-year-old Alreno M. Sebastian of Norwich, was found at the scene with a “severe” stab wound to the chest, police say.

According to police, Sebastian was transported to William W. Backus Hospital before being sent to Hartford Hospital due to the extent of his life-threatening injuries.

Sebastian remains at Hartford Hospital as of Sunday morning in critical, but stable condition police say.

According to police, at around 2:50 a.m. detectives arrested a suspect in the investigation, 35-year-old Caroline A. Fragoza of Norwich, after locating her on Broadway.

Police say Fragoza “was known to the victim”.

According to police, Fragoza was charged with first-degree assault and held in lieu of a $250,000 bond pending her appearance in Norwich Superior Court on January 3.

If you have any information related to this incident, please contact the Norwich Police Department.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut

Overnight Crash in Manchester Sends Seven to the Hospital


Manchester Police say they responded to a multi-car crash just after midnight on Sunday that sent seven people to the hospital, injuring four.

The accident occurred in the area of 276 Hartford road and involved three vehicles that each sustained heavy damage, according to police.

Police say several occupants had to be extricated by local fire and EMS responders, four of which were injured by the accident.

Police say everyone involved in the accident is in stable condition and any injuries do not appear to be life-threatening.

The crash shut down Hartford Road from Goslee Street to Pine Street for around four hours, according to police.

One person, 24-year-old Quamel Smith of Hartford was identified by police as the driver of one of the vehicles involved in the accident.

Police say Smith was charged with drunk driving after he failed several roadside sobriety tests and that a breath test indicated that his BAC was .200, more than double the legal limit of .08.

The initial investigation suggested that impairment and excessive speed may have been factors in the crash, however the accident remains under investigation, according to police.

If you may have witnessed this crash or have any information related to this accident, please contact the Manchester Police Department Traffic Unit at 860-645-5560.

Photo Credit: NBC

William Christopher, Chaplain on "M*A*S*H", Dies


William Christopher, who played the unassuming U.S. Army chaplain, Father Mulcahy, on the hit television series "M*A*S*H," died on Saturday at the age of 84.

Christopher, who was diagnosed with cancer about 18 months ago, portrayed the soft-spoken priest toiling to bring spiritual comfort to a surgical unit during the Korean War. The series ran from 1972 to 1983 on the CBS network.

He died at his home in Pasadena, California, his wife of nearly 60 years with him.

Christopher was one of the cast members to remain on the show for all 11 seasons. Other notable actors from the series included Alan Alda as Captain "Hawkeye" Pierce and Loretta Swit as Major Margaret "Hotlips" Houlihan.

"I liked the character. I liked Father Mulcahy. The character is pretty real to me," Christopher told the Fayetteville Observer newspaper in North Carolina in 2011.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Pope: World Must "Fight the Plague of Terrorism"


Pope Francis, in his traditional New Year's address on Sunday, condemned the Istanbul nightclub attack that killed at least 39 people and said a bloodstain covered the world as it started 2017.

Speaking to some 50,000 people in St. Peter's Square, he urged leaders to work together to fight the "plague of terrorism."

"Unfortunately, violence has stricken even in this night of good wishes and hope," he said. "Pained, I express my closeness to the Turkish people. I pray for the many victims and for the wounded and for the entire nation in mourning."

On the day that the 1.2 billion-member Roman Catholic Church marks its World Day of Peace, he said that peace was constructed by saying 'no' to hate and violence and 'yes' to brotherhood and reconciliation. Francis earlier said Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.

Photo Credit: AP

Prankster Changes LA's Iconic Sign to 'Hollyweed'


A prankster gave the iconic Hollywood sign a new name just in time for New Year’s Day: "HOLLYWeeD."

The tinkering comes after California voters voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the November election.

Security cameras captured a lone man climbing the fence that guards the sign around midnight, according to Sgt. Gary Juneau of the Los Angeles Police Department's Security Services Division.

By placing two tarps over the "O's" in Hollywood, he transformed the sign to read "HOLLYWeeD."

The name change is being investigated as misdemeanor trespassing, Juneau said.

By early afternoon, the tarps had been removed and the name restored.

A similar prank was carried out on Jan. 1, 1976, to note a change in the state's marijuana policy, the Los Angeles Times wrote.

"To mark the occasion, some young men draped the two O's in 'wood' with E's to make it 'Hollyweed,'" the Los Angeles Times wrote.

Photo Credit: David Lerner

Arrest Made in New Year's Day Homicide in Hartford


Hartford Police have made an arrest in an early morning homicide on Park Street.

Police said they arrested and charged Ulises Robles, of West Hartford for murder. 

According to authorities, Robles was seen shooting a female victim in her car on Park Street early Sunday morning by a Hartford police officer while on patrol. 

Police said after Robles was ordered to drop his weapon, he fled on foot but was later identified and taken into custody. 

The female victim, Luz Roasado, of Hartford, suffered a gunshot wound to the chest. She was taken to Hartford Hospital where she was pronounced dead. 

Robles was charged with murder, criminal possesion of a firearm, and unlawful discharge of a firearm. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Mariah Carey Suffers New Year's Eve Lip Sync Fail


When Ryan Seacrest called Mariah Carey's name on "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" Saturday night, the crowd went wild for her highly anticipated performance. But what fans got was a lip sync fail sure to go down in history.

Donned in jewels and a nude jumpsuit, the night's headliner took the stage. Though her 1991 track "Emotions" began playing, Carey didn't start singing. Only pre-recorded background vocals could be heard.

"Well, happy New Year. We can't hear," the superstar said to the audience in Times Square. "We didn't have a check for this song."

Dancers continued their practiced choreography around the stage — and Carey never found her place in the song.

There was still one more tune to perform.

The classic hit "We Belong Together" came over the speakers and Carey opened her mouth, only to poorly lip sync to the studio version of the track. The five-time Grammy Award winner could even be seen holding the microphone at her side while her vocals continued playing.

Viewers and fellow celebrities wasted no time taking to social media.

Still, Carey powered through her technical difficulties and remained until the end of her set. "That was," she said before pausing, "amazing."

Photo Credit: Greg Allen/Invision/AP
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Revelers Bid Adieu to 2016 Across the Globe


As 2016 draws to a close, revelers around the world are bidding a weary adieu to a year filled with political surprises, prolonged conflicts and deaths of legendary celebrities.

How people are ushering in the new year:

An estimated 1 million people ushered in the new year in Times Square, screaming and kissing as the glittering crystal ball dropped.

New Year's Eve revelers began to fill Times Square hours before midnight. They braved cold temperatures and strong winds at the Crossroads of the World to greet 2017 amid heavy police protection.

Maria Raimilla, from New Jersey, said 2016 was rough.

"Everything is going to be new," she said at midnight. "I just want to find happiness this year and leave all the bad things behind."

Lori Haan, from Tucson, Arizona, and her husband were on their first trip to New York. She said she's looking forward to what 2017 brings.

"This is a great start to the new year," she said. "We are doing something new and exciting, and I hope that it's a theme for the rest of the year."

Dozens of 20-ton sanitation trucks weighted with an extra 15 tons of sand blocked off streets leading to the celebration zone to avoid the possibility of a truck attack like those in Germany and France in recent months. About 7,000 police officers, along with specially armed counterterrorism units and bomb-sniffing dogs, were on guard.

Mariah Carey headlined in Times Square for "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest" on ABC. She had technical difficulties during her performance and stopped singing, then she paced the stage and urged the audience to belt out the "Emotions" lyrics instead.

"I'm trying to be a good sport here," she said.

Sydney sent up a dazzling tribute to 2016's fallen icons with a New Year's Eve fireworks display honoring the late singer David Bowie and late actor Gene Wilder, becoming the first major city to bid a bittersweet adieu to a turbulent year.

The glittering display over Sydney's harbor and bridge featured Saturn- and star-shaped fireworks set to "Space Oddity," the classic song by Bowie, among the seemingly endless parade of beloved entertainers who died in 2016.

Wilder was honored as the bridge lit up in a rainbow of colors while a song from his film "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" played.

New Year's celebrations turned deadly when an armed assailant believed to have been dressed as Santa Claus opened fire at a nightclub in Istanbul, killing dozens of people.

Istanbul's governor said at least 39 people were killed and about 70 others were wounded.

Security measures had been heightened in major Turkish cities, with police barring traffic leading up to key squares in Istanbul and the capital, Ankara. In Istanbul, 17,000 police officers were on duty, some camouflaged as street vendors.

Ankara and Istanbul have been targeted by several attacks in 2016 carried out by the Islamic State group or Kurdish rebels, killing more than 180 people.

Neslihan Dogruol, a restaurant owner in a chic Istanbul neighborhood, said she hopes for peace in 2017 following a year filled with "unrest and death."

"2016 affected everyone badly," she said.

More than 2 million people have welcomed 2017 at Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach.

Twelve minutes of fireworks amazed many of the more than 860,000 tourists who traveled to Rio for the party.

The event was more modest than last year due to the city's recession. Still, tourists and Brazilians enjoyed a festival of sounds, including two sets of drums from popular samba schools.

A decked-out bride and groom walking to a chapel and photo-happy tourists from halfway around the world were among the estimated 300,000 visitors turning out to celebrate the new year Las Vegas style.

The city's celebration features some of the biggest names in music headlining nightclubs and a fireworks show launching from the tops of half a dozen high-rise casinos.

Local police joined forces with the National Guard, the Secret Service and FBI agents to protect Sin City on one of its biggest nights of the year.

In Berlin the mood was more somber than celebratory.

"I don't like the way politics is going," Daniel Brandt said. "Fears are being fanned, and people are so angry with each other."

The tone of public debate in Germany has become shriller over the past two years with the influx of hundreds of thousands of migrants.

Walking by the Reichstag, Germany's Parliament building, Hamed Noori said 2016 had been a good year.

"I came to Germany from Afghanistan," he said. "Life is better here."

Nicole Durand-Nusser, originally from France but living in Berlin for almost 50 years, said 2016 had been a difficult year: "Brexit, Trump, Erdogan — it's all getting worse."

Later, police said they arrested a man who shouted "bomb, bomb, bomb" at Berlin's massive open-air New Year's party.

President Vladimir Putin invoked a bit of seasonal enchantment in his New Year's Eve remarks to the nation.

"Each of us may become something of a magician on the night of the New Year," Putin said in a short televised address broadcast in the closing minutes of 2016 in each of Russia's 11 time zones. "To do this we simply need to treat our parents with love and gratitude, take care of our children and families, respect our colleagues at work, nurture our friendships, defend truth and justice, be merciful and help those who are in need of support. This is the whole secret."

A beefed-up security presence throughout London and Britain's other major cities did nothing to squelch raucous New Year celebrations highlighted by a breathtaking fireworks display over the River Thames that began just after the Big Ben tower chimed midnight.

Police had added overt and covert personnel to patrol crowded areas, and some barriers were put in place to prevent vehicle attacks.

Britain had a tumultuous year, with a June vote to leave the European Union followed by the resignation of the prime minister, but Warren Male and Natasha Lewis said they looked back on 2016 with fondness.

"Because we've been together," Lewis said.

Tourists and French revelers swarmed along Paris' illuminated Champs Elysees Avenue on a frosty night, admiring the laser display from the Arc de Triomphe and lines of trees sparkling with lights.

"It's so magical to be here in Paris, on what people say is the world's most beautiful avenue," said Maureen O'Reilly, a visitor from Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Some people were happy to say goodbye to 2016.

"It's been such a horrible year, with all these (entertainment celebrity) deaths, Syria, Brexit and Trump. I say: good riddance," said Karine Dublot, from Lyon.

Pope Francis has called on the faithful to help young people find a place in society, noting the paradox of "a culture that idolizes youth" but has made no place for the young.

Francis said during vespers marking New Year's Eve that young people have been "pushed to the margins of public life, forcing them to migrate or to beg for jobs that no longer exist, or fail to promise them a future."

Temple bells echoed at midnight as families gather around noodles and revelers flock to shrines for the biggest holiday in Japan.

Kami Miyamoto, an economics student at Meiji University in Tokyo, traveled home in Hakusan, Ishikawa prefecture, for the holiday.

Miyamoto's mother was preparing soba noodles, a standard New Year's Eve dish in Japan, except in their home it will be filled with green onions and shrimp. As the new year rolls in, the entire family, including her younger brother and sister, will drive to a nearby shrine, which, like temples all over Japan, will be filled with those praying for good fortune in the Year of the Rooster, according to the Chinese zodiac.

Residents in Beijing and Shanghai, China's two largest cities, passed New Year's Eve quietly in a relative state of security lockdown, according to Chinese media reports citing police.

The Bund waterfront in Shanghai had no celebrations, authorities announced this week, while the sale, use and transportation of fireworks in central Shanghai will be prohibited.

Large buildings that often display light shows also stayed dark. More than 30 people died two years ago in a deadly stampede on Shanghai's waterfront, where 300,000 people had gathered to watch a planned light show.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said in his New Year's Eve address his government will continue to focus on alleviating poverty at home and resolutely defending China's territorial rights.

Hundreds of thousands of South Koreans ushered in the new year with a massive protest demanding the resignation of disgraced President Park Geun-hye. It was the 10th straight weekend of protests that led to Park's impeachment on Dec. 9 over a corruption scandal.

The evening rally was planned to overlap with Seoul's traditional bell-tolling ceremony at the Bosinkgak pavilion at midnight, which was also expected to be a political statement against Park.

The city's mayor, Park Won-soon, invited as guests a man whose teenage son was among more than 300 people who died during a 2014 ferry sinking and a woman who was forced into sexual slavery by Japan's World War II military.

Park Geun-hye came under heavy criticism over the way her government handled the ferry disaster.

For most people in India, New Year's Eve is a time for family. In New Delhi and many other cities, newspapers are full of big advertisements for lavish parties at upscale hotels and restaurants. The big draws at the hotel parties are song and dance performances from Bollywood and television stars.

The western city of Mumbai hosted big street parties at the iconic Gateway of India, a colonial-era structure on the waterfront overlooking the Arabian Sea.

And there was talk about money — India's recent devaluing of its currency in an apparent effort to cut graft and tax evasion.

The Philippines' notorious tradition of dangerous New Year's Eve celebrations persisted after President Rodrigo Duterte delayed to next year his ban on the use of powerful firecrackers, often worsened by celebratory gunfire.

Powerful firecrackers and gunfire have maimed hundreds of people and killed some each year across the Philippines despite government crackdowns, an annual government scare campaign and efforts by officials to set up centralized fireworks displays, like on Saturday night.

New Year's is the biggest party of the year in Romania, and thousands of people flocked to the mountains to ski, hike and celebrate, some in the mood for fun, others anxious about global challenges in 2017.

Former Finance Minister Daniel Daianu, traveling to the mountain town of Sinaia, said Western governments should pay closer attention to the public mood.

"People are frustrated, people are resentful and people react," he said. "Unless governments pay attention to fairness and fair play, we could see some very unpleasant surprises."

Early Saturday, young Romanians roamed streets and trains, wearing peasant costumes and singing traditional songs about goats, a New Year symbol, while waving wands made of dried flowers.

In Dubai, hundreds of thousands of people watched fireworks shoot from the sides of the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

There was no repeat of the chaos of last year, when police say faulty wiring sparked a fire several hours before midnight at a skyscraper nearby.

Finland has kicked off celebrations for 100 years of independence from Russia.

Tens of thousands of people gathered in Helsinki for a concert and a huge fireworks display to celebrate the beginning of festivities marking its independence.

Throughout 2017 there will be hundreds of events in the Nordic nation of 5.5 million, from films, dance parties and environment-related events to concerts and activities linked to its renowned sauna tradition.

Celebrations will culminate on Dec. 6, the day Finnish Parliament declared independence in 1917 amid the turmoil of the Russian Revolution.

Finland shares an 800-mile border with Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday congratulated Finland for its centenary in a phone conversation with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.

Thousands of people in Mexico City were expected to turn out for a New Year's Eve concert at the Monument to Independence, better known as The Angel.

Workers spent several days setting up a stage and a booming sound system along a stretch of the central Paseo de la Reforma boulevard. Streets were blocked off in the area, and 2,000 police officers were on hand for security.

The lineup included a mix of Latin pop and balladeer Jorge "Coque" Muniz, with cumbia band Los Angeles Azules heating things up after a midnight fireworks show.

Photo Credit: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

American Shot in Istanbul ID'd


A Delaware business owner originally from Delaware County, was one of the nearly 70 people injured in a deadly nightclub shooting in Istanbul during a New Year’s Eve celebration, according to his brother and confirmed by the State Department.

William Jacob Raak, a small business owner from Greenville, Delaware, and originally from Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, was visiting Istanbul with his friends, his brother told NBC Philadelphia.

He was one of the estimated 600 people celebrating New Year’s at the popular Reina nightclub around 1:15 a.m. Sunday when a man armed with a long-barreled weapon shot and killed a civilian and policeman, then entered the club and opened fire.

The attacker killed at least 39 people and injured nearly 70 others, including Raak. Raak is the only U.S. citizen confirmed to be injured in the shooting so far, according to the State Department.

"I was shot in the f****** leg man," Raak said while being carted off into an ambulance in a video obtained by NBC News. "These crazy people came in shooting everything!"

Raak’s brother, Michael Raak, who lives in South Philadelphia, told NBC10 William had just celebrated his 35th birthday in Istanbul four days prior to the shooting. Michael received a phone call from his brother around 7:30 p.m. ET on New Year’s Eve after the attack took place.

“We were setting up for New Year’s and then I got the phone call,” Michael said.

While Raak was shot in the leg, Michael told NBC10 his brother’s cellphone likely saved him from a more serious injury.

“When he got shot the bullet hit his phone,” Michael told NBC10. “It went from his hip to his knee but the bullet didn’t hit any major arteries.”

Michael told NBC10 his brother was treated at the hospital and is expected to be discharged within the next 24 hours before flying back to Philly.

“Everyone’s just happy he’s alive and getting home pretty quickly,” Michael said.

Raak’s friend, who is from Dubai, was also shot in the shoulder during the attack but is expected to recover.

Turkish police continue to search for the gunman.

Photo Credit: NBC News
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New Year, New Laws: The Biggest Changes Across the US


A host of new laws went into effect in states across the country Sunday, staking new ground in how people can use cell phones while driving, who is able to carry a gun in public and more, NBC News reported.

In 2017, it's illegal for drivers in California to hold their phones behind the wheel. Only functions that require a single tap or swipe can be done, like answering a call, and the devices must be mounted at the time.

Philadelphia is the first major American city with a tax on sugary sodas, joining Berkeley, California. The industry is challenging the law, adding a one-and-a-half cent tax per ounce, in court.

In Missouri, anyone 19 or older may carry a concealed gun they own in public, even without training or a permit. And there are painkiller prescription restrictions in Maine, a big bicycle right-of-way change in Illinois and more.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File

Eight Displaced Following Sunday Morning Hartford Fire


Eight people are displaced and one is injured after a fire on New Year’s Day damaged a building in Hartford, fire officials say.

Hartford Fire Captain Raul Ortiz says the department was called to 23 Garfield Street in Hartford at around 11:45 a.m. this morning for a two alarm structure fire.

The blaze was contained to the outside porch of the structure, but smoke damage did affect the building’s living areas, Ortiz said.

Of the people displaced, five were adults and three were children Ortiz said.

According to Ortiz, one of the adults sustained non-life threatening burn injures to the chest area and they were transported to the local hospital for treatment.

No firefighters were injured, Ortiz said.

As of 1:24 p.m., fire crews had left the scene, Ortiz said.

According to Ortiz, the cause of the fire is under investigation by the fire marshal, but it is not believed to be suspicious.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Woman Dies After New Year's Day Crash in Plainfield


A woman has died after a crash on Moosup Pond Road in Plainfield. 

Plainfield police said they responded to a motor vehicle accident with entrapment around 11:20 a.m. Sunday. 

According to emergency crews, the car was  partially submerged in a brook in the area of Juniper Lane when they arrived on scene. 

The passenger of the vehicle, later identified as Lisa Caruso, 48, of Moosup was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead, police said.

The driver of the vehicle, her husband Michael Caruso, was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Police said the accident remains under investigation and are asking anyone with any information to contact the Plainfield Police Department. 

Photo Credit: Jeff Deloge

Chicago Saw More Murders in 2016 Than in 20 Years: PD


Following last year's "unacceptable rise in violence," the Chicago Police Department announced plans New Year's Day to quell city violence headed into 2017.

Data made available by the department shows 2016 was one of the most violent years in the city since the mid '90s, with more than 750 murders reported. To combat the rise in violence, police aim to tailor response to different neighborhoods and crack down on repeat violent offenders. 


"In total there were 762 murders, 3,550 shooting incidents, and 4,331 shooting victims in 2016. These totals represent a completely unacceptable rise in violence," police said. "According to two reports from the Brennan Center for Justice and the University of Chicago Crime Lab, this is similar to increases being seen in other major cities including: Boston, San Antonio, San Jose, San Diego, Memphis, Austin, Indianapolis and others."

Murders saw a 10 percent uptick nationwide in 2015, the most recent year available, according to an FBI report released this September. That was driven by violence in large cities, like Chicago, but the report noted violent crime is far down from historic highs.

There were 468 murders in the city last year, according to Chicago police statistics. The last time more than 762 people were murdered in the city was 1996.

Officers in Chicago recovered 8,300 guns, a 20 percent increase from 2015, and made 10 percent more gun arrests in 2016, the statement reads.

Police also said attacks of Chicago police officers "nearly doubled in 2016 as offenders grew more emboldened." The department noted attacks on officers throughout the country are increasing.

Police will employ an "enhanced crime fighting strategy" in 2017 in an effort to reduce violence, increase the capability of its officers and build public trust. The strategy is based on best practices underway in other cities, police said.

"A major component will be the creation of district based intelligence centers so that crime plans and deployments can be more custom-tailored to the individual nuances and patterns in communities," the department said. "These centers will be staffed with district intelligence officers and crime analysts from the University of Chicago Crime Lab."

Two districts will be operational on Jan. 20.

"This strategy will also place a heavy emphasis on creating a culture of accountability for repeat violent offenders so that we actually have meaningful deterrents to gun crime and trigger pullers think twice about the consequences for their reckless actions," the department said. "In addition CPD is working with our newly-elected partners in the States Attorney's Office to strengthen how we investigate and prosecute gun cases."

By the end of this year, the department will add nearly 1,000 more police officers, including beat officers, detectives lieutenants, sergeants and field training officers, the statement reads.

"The violence in 2016 was driven by emboldened offenders who acted without a fear of penalty from the criminal justice system," said Supt. Eddie Johnson in the statement. "The challenge we face as a city is serious, and like other cities it is significant. We will be adding to our police department, we are committed to partnering with residents, we will benefit from the investments being made by the Mayor, and if we come together and work together I know we can turn the tide in 2017."

Five police districts on the South and West sides of the city accounted for 65 percent of the increase in killings, according the police department's statement. Five other districts on the North and Northwest sides saw declines in murders or remained flat in 2016, the statement said.

In addition to the districts the department said are most responsible for violence, more than 80 percent of fatal and nonfatal shooting victims this past year "were previously identified by CPD as being likely to be involved in an act of gun violence either as a victim or an offender," police said.

The department aims to use technology like body cameras and gunshot detection equipment, new crisis intervention training, transparency and Mayor Rahm Emanuel's public safety plan outlined last fall to grapple with the relentless violent crime.

Photo Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Video Shows Istanbul Nightclub Gunman Opening Fire


The gunman who wreaked havoc on Istanbul's Reina nightclub on New Year's Day took less than a minute to shoot his way inside, according to video of his entrance, NBC News reported.

Security video from outside surfaced online Sunday, showing the harrowing moments leading up to the attack, which left 39 people dead and wounded more than 60 others — including an American, a U.S. State Department official told NBC News.

The gunman remains at large, according to Turkish police, and has not been identified.

He is seen raining bullets down on the front door, where the club's bouncer and a few patrons were lingering. Another video shows men crouching in fear and scrambling inside the club as the gunman approaches the front door.

Photo Credit: Security footage / NBC News
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