Channel: NBC Connecticut
Browsing All 57608 Browse Latest View Live
Mark channel Not-Safe-For-Work? cancel confirm NSFW Votes: (0 votes)
Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel.

Teen Steals Family Hearse: Police


A teenage girl found herself in handcuffs yesterday after an alleged joyride in a unique family vehicle.

Carly Zale is accused of stealing a hearse from the Zale Funeral Home on the 700 block of N White Horse Pike in Stratford, N.J., just before 11:45 a.m. Tuesday.

Zale, 18, is the daughter of the funeral home’s owner, according to Stratford Township Police.

Police say she took the black 2000 Cadillac hearse from an open garage at the funeral home. On her way out of the garage, Zale struck the garage wall, according to police.

There was no body in the hearse at the time, according to police.

Pennsauken Police recovered the hearse on Route 130 Tuesday afternoon. They arrested Zale and charged her with vehicle theft, reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident.

The was the second time in three months that a hearse was stolen from the funeral home. It’s unclear who committed the earlier theft.

Photo Credit: AP

Woman Arrested For Battery After Kissing Officer on Nose


A Florida woman was arrested for battery of an officer after kissing him on the nose against his will, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office said.

Peggy Hill, 62, was arrested on Saturday when authorities were called to her house for a disturbance, according to a sheriff's office arrest report.

When deputies arrived, they spoke to a neighbor who said he had an ongoing dispute with Hill, the report said. He also said she took a piece of fencing from his property.

Hill invited the officers on her property and denied taking the piece of fencing. She said something was laying up against her fence, so she removed it.

Authorities said she was tampering with the neighbor and that is a felony because of the pending case against her for livestock theft, which she allegedly stole from her neighbor.

When officers were speaking to her, she approached one and kissed him on the nose against his will, the report said. He wiped off the saliva and attempted to arrest her, the report said.

Hill was arrested for battery of an officer and when en route to the jail, she fell and hit her head. Officers took her to the hospital and she was cleared, the report said.

After being arrested, Hill told authorities she had about three glasses of wine before they arrived. She also said the thought just popped into her head to kiss the officer on the nose, so she did, the report said.

Hill is still in jail with a $5,000 bond, according to online jail records.

More Weird Stories:

Photo Credit: Manatee County Sheriff's office

Police Announce DUI Checkpoints for Holiday Weekend


The State Police are adding add patrols over the Independence Day holiday weekend and troopers will focus on drunken drivers as well as unsafe drivers.

These are the checkpoints:

Wednesday roving patrols

  • Route 8 from Watertown to Torrington
  • Greater Danbury and Waterbury areas
  • Routes 8 and 4 in Torrington and Goshen

Thursday roving patrols

  • Interstate 95 between New Haven and Stamford
  • Routes 8 and 25 between Bridgeport, Trumbull and Shelton
  • Routes 8 limited access highway and 44 in towns of Winsted, Barkhamsted and New Hartford
  • DUI Sobriety Checkpoint – Interstate 84 eastbound exit ramp to Lake Avenue in City of Danbury. Secondary location will be Interstate 84 westbound exit ramp to Lake Avenue Extension in City of Danbury

Friday roving patrols

  • Route 8 from Watertown to Torrington
  • Interstate 95 between New Haven and Stamford
  • Routes 8 and 25 between Bridgeport, Trumbull and Shelton
  • Greater Danbury and Waterbury areas

Saturday roving patrols

  • Interstate 95 between New Haven and Stamford
  • Routes 8 and 25 between Bridgeport, Trumbull and Shelton
  • Route 8 from Watertown to Torrington in Troop L patrol
  • Routes 44, 202 and 219 in towns of Torrington, New Hartford and Barkhamsted
  • Greater Danbury and Waterbury areas

Sunday roving patrols

  • Interstate 95 between New Haven and Stamford
  • Routes 8 and 25 between Bridgeport, Trumbull and Shelton
  • Greater Danbury and Waterbury areas

Wednesday roving patrols

  • Interstate 84 west of Hartford
  • Routes 9, 72 and 372
  • Interstate 95 between Guilford and Old Lyme

Thursday roving patrols

  • Interstate 91 Exit 10 area
  • Route 9 from Old Saybrook to Middletown

Friday roving patrols

  • Interstate 84
  • Routes 2 and 384
  • Route 8 exit 25-28 area
  • Route 1 in town of Westbrook

Saturday roving patrols

  • Interstate 91
  • Interstate 95 from Guilford to Old Lyme
  • Route 291
  • Route 8 Exit 25-28 area
  • Sunday roving patrols
  • DUI Sobriety Checkpoint – Route 66 east of Higby Road in Middlefield

Wednesday roving patrols

  • Routes 6, 12, 14, 44, 97, 169, 197, 198 and Interstate 395 in Killingly , Brooklyn, Thompson, Woodstock, Chaplin, Hampton, Eastford, Sterling, Putnam and Pomfret
  • Routes 2, 2A, 12, 164, and 165, 214, Interstates 95 and 395 in East Lyme, Griswold, Groton, Lisbon, Montville, New London, North Stonington, Norwich, Preston, Stonington, and Waterford
  • Routes 2, 6, and 32 in Troop K patrol area

Thursday roving patrols

  • Interstates 84 and Routes 30, 32, 44, 74, 83, 190, 195 in towns of Ashford, Ellington, Mansfield, Somers, Stafford, Tolland, Union and Willington
  • Routes 6, 12, 14, 44, 97, 169, 197, 198 in Killingly, Brooklyn, Thompson, Woodstock, Chaplin, Hampton, Eastford, Sterling, Putnam and Pomfret
  • Route 2

Friday roving patrols

  • Interstates 84 and Routes 30, 32, 44, 74, 83, 190, 195 in Ashford, Ellington, Mansfield, Somers, Stafford, Tolland, Union and Willington
  • Routes 6, 12, 14, 44, 97, 169, 197, 198 in towns of Killingly, Brooklyn, Thompson, Woodstock, Chaplin, Hampton, Eastford, Sterling, Putnam and Pomfret
  • Routes 2, 2A, 12, 164, and 165, 214, Interstates 95 and 395 in East Lyme, Griswold, Groton, Lisbon, Montville, New London, North Stonington, Norwich, Preston, Stonington, and Waterford

Saturday roving patrols

  • Interstate 84 and Routes 30, 32, 44, 74, 83, 190, 195 in Ashford, Ellington, Mansfield, Somers, Stafford, Tolland, Union and Willington
  • Routes 6, 12, 14, 144, 97, 169, 197, 198 in towns of Killingly, Brooklyn, Thompson, Woodstock, Chaplin, Hampton, Eastford, Sterling, Putnam and Pomfret
  • Routes 2, 2A, 12, 164, and 165, 214, Interstates 95 and 395 in East Lyme, Griswold, Groton, Lisbon, Montville, New London, North Stonington, Norwich, Preston, Stonington, and Waterford

Sunday roving patrols

  • Interstate 84 and Routes 30, 32, 44, 74, 83, 190, 195 in towns of Ashford, Ellington, Mansfield, Somers, Stafford, Tolland, Union and Willington
  • Routes 2, 2A, 12, 164, and 165, 214, Interstates 95 and 395 in East Lyme, Griswold, Groton, Lisbon, Montville, New London, North Stonington, Norwich, Preston, Stonington, and Waterford

Berlin will conduct a DUI checkpoint on the Berlin Turnpike on July 5. Police said they wil have what they call the "BATMobile" -- Breath Alcohol Testing -- at the checkpoint

Meriden will conduct DUI patrols, starting on Wednesday night.

In New Haven
, police will be conducting a DUI checkpoint on Saturday, July 6 at Legion Avenue and Orchard Street beginning at 7 p.m. until 3 am on Sunday, July 7. 

Newington police will conduct roving D.U.I patrols between July 5 and July 7. 

Old Saybrook
police will conduct traffic safety DUI checkpoints on Saturday into Sunday at various locations.

will be conducting DUI checkpoints in Watertown on July 5

Car Plows Into Building in Waterbury


A 27-year-old Waterbury was injured when his car struck the Connecticut State Check building at East Main and Cherry streets in Waterbury on Wednesday afternoon, fire officials said.

Witnesses said the red Infiniti came barreling down Main Street and plowed directly into the building at 353 East Main Street.

Police identified the driver as 27-year-old Devon Rudaitis of Waterbury. Police said Rudaitis lost control of the vehicle and was likely traveling at a high rate of speed.

Rudaitis was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening leg injuries, authorities said.

Emergency officials removed part of the wall to help people get to safety. Seven people were inside the building, including a child, police said. 

Some were trapped, but all walked away unharmed, according to police.

The building was heavily damaged and is being inspected. The owner said he plans to rebuild. Waterbury officials are boarding it up. 

Police are investigating the crash and charges are pending.


View Larger Map

Photo Credit: Rick Lewis

Death, Injuries After Tree Falls at Camp Near Yosemite


A counselor from Santa Cruz died Wednesday when a tree spontaneously fell on her at a popular Jewish summer camp near Yosemite National Park.

In a letter sent to parents, the camp director identified Annais Rittenberg as the young woman who had been killed. He called her a "beloved member of the Camp Tawonga staff."

Four other female camp counselors, who NBC Bay Area is not naming, were injured. Two of the women, ages 20 and 21 were taken to Sonora Regional Medical Center with minor injuries, hospital spokeswoman Gail Witzelsteiner said. Witzlsteiner says two other patients were transported to hospitals in Modesto.

Camp Executive Director Ken Kramarz, in his letter, emphasized that no children were injured. He added that all the families of the injured victims have been contacted.

The large tree fell onto the campfire circle outside of the dining hall just before 8:30 a.m., according to the Tuolomne County Sheriff.

Why the tree fell is unclear.

Rittenberg attended the University of California at Santa Cruz where she was poised to be a senior this year, according to the campus spokesperson. On her Facebook page, Rittenberg listed that she was studying environmental science, working at KZSC radio and was originally from New York.

Kramarz said the campers were having breakfast in the dining hall, and as soon as the accident happened, camp leaders took the children away from the scene to play. He said the campers were doing well and that grief counselors were on hand.

Despite that, parents of campers back in the Bay Area were extremely concerned.

"I'm kind of shaken up and scared," said Caroline Hastings of Oakland, whose daughter attends the camp.

In addition, part of the falling tree struck a PG&E power line, temporarily interrupting some of the camp's electrical service.

There are about 250 campers — many who come from the Bay Area — and 150 staff at the facility on Mather Road in Groveland.

Tawonga runs programs and camps throughout the year, including for Jewish adults, singles and gay and lesbian families. In the summer, Camp Tawonga holds several sessions for students in 2nd grade through 10th grade. Currently, campers are in their second session, which ends on Friday.
The camp is located in a remote area of Tuolumne County on 160 acres outside of  Yosemite National Park. Its neighbor is San Jose Family Camp.

Campers have been flocking to Tawonga since 1925. The camp is known for its Jewish-themed outdoor fun, social action and community-minded spirit.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

Hartford Riverfest Postponed


Hartford Riverfest was supposed to happen on Saturday, but the event is postponed because of high water levels.

The signature event in the capital city has been postponed because of a new report from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Weather Service on flooding.

The Northeast River Forecast center projections for water levels indicate that areas of the Riverfront Parks would be underwater, including the boat ramps needed for launching the fireworks barges.

“The recent heavy rains up and down the Connecticut River Valley have caused the river to rise, creating unsafe conditions,” Joe Marfuggi, Riverfront Recapture’s president and CEO, said in a statement.  “It was a tough decision to make because Riverfest is such a popular event for the community – and so many people look forward to it each year.”

Riverfront Recapture is working with officials to come up with another date for the festival. 

The strong river current and heavy floating debris in the river made it impossible to safely launch and secure the three barges from which the fireworks would have been shot, said Charlie Myers, Riverfront Recapture’s Director of Events and Programs. 

"The place where they were planning to stand will be underwater," Myers said.

“We’ll still have the spectacular fireworks show that Riverfest fans come to see,” Myers added.

Fireworks, which were scheduled for Saturday night, will be postponed. The date has not yet been determined.

Check the Web site Riverfront.org for updates.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Gathering of the Vibes Returns to Bridgeport


The much-anticipated Gathering of the Vibes music festival will draw 20,000 to Bridgeport for its 18th year of music and entertainment.

The four-day festival will be held July 25 to 28 at Bridgeport's 370-acre Seaside Park, which has hosted more Vibes festivals than any other venue, according to Vibes founder Ken Hays. The "perfectly manicured absolute jewel" of a park spans over two miles and includes a mile-long stretch of beach on the Long Island Sound, Hays said.

This year’s musical highlights include performances by jazz guitarist John Scofield, Phil Lesh & Friends, The Black Crowes, Gov’t Mule, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, the Roots, the Revivalists and Dark Star Orchestra, among others.

The lineup also includes a number of up-and-coming artists who “cover the musical spectrum.” Hays said the festival provides good exposure for emerging artists because many guests will be hearing their music for the first time. The full lineup is listed on the Vibes website, along with audio and video recordings of each artist. 

“In terms of musicianship and diversity, [the performers] are well represented,” said Hays.

But the festival is about more than just music.

“What separates or distinguishes Vibes from all other music festivals is… how family friendly it is,” Hays explained. “Last year we had over 2,000 kids under the age of 15 that came with their parents.”

The festival has “really, truly turned into an annual reunion for friends and families,” said Hays. “It gives everybody an opportunity to take a step back from the 24-hour news cycle and enjoy time in a beautiful park right on the water with family and friends and great live music.”

Hays said he remembers spending time with his dad watching the New York Mets at Shea Stadium and hopes to foster a similar family environment at Vibes.

About 2,500 kids will attend this year’s festival. Younger guests can take advantage of the School of Rock Teen Vibes Stage, where “kids who are musically inclined can jam together,” said Hays.

Other attractions include juggling classes, yoga, face painting, puppet workshops, a World Peace Flag Ceremony, a giant Ferris wheel and an array of food and craft vendors.

Connecticut residents and active military members receive a discounted rate of $42.50 on Sunday. These tickets are further discounted to $32.50 when purchased in advance on the Vibes website using the discount code CTSUN. The standard rate is $50.

Sunday admission is free for kids 15 and under when accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Park campgrounds attract some 12,000 overnight guests every year. Festival-goers can purchase single-day and weekend passes, as well as RV passes for campers.

Vibes originated in 1996 as a tribute to the late Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. The “Gathering of the Tribes,” as it was first called, attracted 3,500 people to the SUNY Purchase campus, where it was held over Memorial Day weekend. While Vibes has expanded over the years, its mission and purpose remain unchanged.

“What we’ve found is that so many families are coming up with their kids and their friends of friends that this is a really meaningful time to focus on what’s really important,” Hays said.

Eighteen years after the first gathering, Vibes has grown to become "the Northeast's preeminent music festival," according to the website.

“Looking at 25,000 people smiling… it’s an amazing scene,” Hays said.

This is Seaside Park’s ninth year hosting the festival.

Hays, a Weston resident originally from Greenwich, says it’s a pleasure to bring Vibes back to his home state.

“It’s just a beautiful, beautiful spot,” he said, “and it’s home. Connecticut is home.”

Photo Credit: govibes.com

Mother and Son Injured After Car Slams Into Restaurant


A mother and son are in the hospital, after a car slammed into a Willimantic restaurant on Wednesday afternoon.

The Peking House Restaurant at 1601 Main Street at the Willimantic Plaza Shopping Center was in shambles after the car barreled through the Chinese restaurant around 4:00 p.m. 

The restaurant manager said a mother and child were struck while they were eating their meal in the front booth.

“I’m still scared right now,” said the owner Linda Ling.  She was hit in the face with shattered glass as the out of control Subaru struck her two customers. 

“All of the sudden there was an explosion it felt like,” Tasha Gawkowski explained.  Witnesses said the driver lost control in the strip mall parking lot, and clipped a sedan before it slammed into the business full of customers.

“I am a nervous wreck,” explained Jennifer White, the cousin of the victims.  She rushed to the scene minutes later.  White told NBC Connecticut the victims are Sarah Buskey and her 12- year- -old son Joe.  Sarah was flown to Hartford Hospital, and Joe was taken to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.  Both had serious injuries. “She takes her son everywhere.  Her son is her world.  She was probably just having dinner…mother and son,” White added.

The woman behind the wheel was hurt too.  On Wednesday night, Willimantic Police did not know how this happened, and did not believe alcohol was a factor.

“I just ran away, I don’t know what happened,” Linda Ling explained.  She and the others who run this business, cleaned up the debris for hours, and tried to salvage what was left.  “We gotta close for a while,” Ling said.  After a frightening crash that happened in a matter of seconds.

 Ling did not know when Peking House would reopen.  At last check, Sarah Buskey was in critical condition, her son’s injuries were moderate, and the driver’s injuries were not serious.




Skype Takes Center Stage at Zimmerman Trial


A witness’ testimony via Skype was bombarded with unsolicited calls, in what appeared to be pranksters’ attempts to interrupt the testimony.

Scott Pleasants, a criminal justice professor at Seminole State College had been called to testify about Zimmerman taking an online criminal justice course in 2011. About one minute into Pleasants’ testimony, delivered from Colorado, an onslaught of incoming Skype calls began to pop-up on the television screen in the courtroom, which interfered with the testimony.

Apparently, Pleasants’ Skype username was visible on the television screen in the Sanford, Fla., courtroom, as well as to everyone watching the trial across the country, prompting the slew of prank Skype phone calls accompanied by the service's trademark “ping” sounds.

Towards the end of the prosecutor’s examination, the calls had become so numerous that the judge had to intervene and order Pleasants to end the Skype call.

“I got to tell you, there’s now a really good chance that we’re being toyed with, just so you know.” Zimmerman defense attorney Mark O’Mara said as the calls stacked up.

Pleasants is seen balancing a cell phone in one hand and attempting to close several pop-up windows of the incoming Skype phone calls, as Circuit Judge Debra Nelson and the attorneys try to figure out what to do.

“I don’t want those up on the screen,” Nelson said. “Let’s find another number that we could call Professor Pleasants on.”

Pleasants’ testimony continued, but was conducted via a more traditional telephone connection.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin a 17-year-old unarmed teenager. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty, saying he acted in self-defense after Martin attacked him on Feb. 26, 2012, in the gated Sanford, Fla., community where the two encountered each other. Martin died of a single gunshot wound; Zimmerman was photographed by police that night with a bloody, swollen nose and wounds to the back of the head.

Zimmerman alleges Martin straddled him after punching him in the nose and banged his head repeatedly against the sidewalk, warning him before Zimmerman fired a shot at him, “You’re going to die tonight.”

Photo Credit: AP

Woman Missing in Salmon River Found Safe


East Hampton Police and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection have found a woman who was missing in the Salmon River late Wednesday afternoon.

The 36-year-old Torrington resident climbed ashore was found walking back through the park, according to DEEP officials.

The woman's boyfriend saw the current pull her away and called 911, authorities said. She was reported missing in the water at Salmon River State Forest.

Police said the woman was in the water for half a mile before she was able to climb to safety.

The state park is 1,300 acres spanning in the towns of Hebron, Marlborough, Colchester, East Haddamand East Hampton.

Authorities are warning people to stay out of high water due to dangerous conditions.

50 People Gain Citizenship Wednesday


They weren’t U.S. citizens at the start of the day, but 50 recently naturalized citizens are getting to celebrate the Fourth of July for the first time as Americans.

People from 31 countries gained citizenship Wednesday at a naturalization ceremony at Middletown City Hall on Wednesday.

Deb Moignard, originally from England, first stepped onto U.S. soil in 1963, when her dad took a job at Electric Boat in Groton.

“I figured it’s been about fifty years; it’s about time I became a citizen,” Moignard joked.

Przemyslaw Skiba came from Germany.  Skiba, a manager at the East Side Restaurant in New Britain, says the significance of holding the ceremony today on July 3 is not lost on him. “It's a pleasure to celebrate the fourth of July as a citizen,” said Skiba.

One of the rights of becoming an American citizen is the right to vote. And so, as soon as the fifty new citizens were done taking the oath, they were directed right to a voter registration table.

But not all of these new Americans came from countries as safe and secure as England and Germany.

“We know that we are one of the lucky ones who are here not suffering what the people are suffering back home,” said Manal Chahrour of Syria.

She and her husband Maher Suede, an Ellington surgeon, see reports of the two-year plus massacre ongoing in their native country. It makes Wednesday’s ceremony with their three children safely by their side all the more special.

“It is the land of freedom, the land of opportunity,” said Suede.

It’s also the land of an ongoing debate in the halls of Congress where Senator Blumenthal, whose own father became a citizen after coming here at the age of 17, took part in the historic vote on the current immigration bill.

“On the floor of the Senate, I spoke about going to countless immigration ceremonies and visiting with these new citizens, their excitement, and their dedication to this country,” said the Senator.

But while the future dreams of many rest in the hand of federal legislators, for these fifty new Americans, the dream is finally a reality.

“It means freedom, it means liberty, it’s the best thing in the world,” said Moignard.

Police: Teacher Had Two Additional Victims


Police in Redlands, Calif., said Wednesday they had identified two additional victims of a high school teacher accused of having sex -- and a baby -- with a teen student.

Laura Elizabeth Whitehurst, 28, was arrested Monday and is accused of unlawful sexual intercouse with a minor. She gave birth last month to a baby allegedly fathered by a 16-year-old student of hers, authorities said Tuesday.

Following the public announcement of Whitehurst's arrest, police said they had learned of two other victims who both had alleged sexual relationships with Whitehurst beginning in fall of 2007 and into 2008, when the suspect was an English teacher at Redlands High School.

One victim was a 14-year-old freshman during the time of the alleged relationship.

"The victim, now 20, told police that he and Whitehurst had sex in her classroom before school, as well as at her apartment and in her car," a police news release stated.

Another man came forward and said he had a relationship with Whitehurst in 2007-08, when he was a junior in Whitehurst's class. The brief description from police of the relationship appears to match that offered by a man who spoke to NBC4 Southern California Wednesday, saying he had sex with Whitehurst while he was a pupil.

Whitehurst was released on $25,000 bail Monday evening after her arrest. On Wednesday, police released a mug shot of Whitehurst, shown below.

Police said a case would be submitted to the office of San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos next week, when additional charges will be determined. 

Meanwhile, Michael Cooper, now 23, approached news media to share a story of his junior year in high school, in 2007-08. Cooper said he had a physical relationship with Whitehurst, pictured in a 2013 yearbook photo below, who herself was 23 at the time of the affair he described.

"I didn't feel like a victim; I'm not scarred for life or anything,” Cooper told NBC4. “To be honest, I had a good time when it was going on."

Whitehurst is a teacher at Citrus Valley High School in Redlands, where the initially reported victim was a junior.

She was arrested after the boy's mother reported the alleged relationship to the Redlands Unified School District, which notified police. The school district on Tuesday said the teacher involved in the investigation had been placed on leave; the district did not give Whitehurst’s name.

On Wednesday, county DA Ramos told NBC4 he had a prosecutor assigned to the case who was working with the Redlands Police Department.

Ramos urged those who believe they were victims to contact Redlands police Detective Natasha Crawford, at (909) 798-7623.

"Some of the information we’re gathering, there’s possibility that that has been occurring for several years," Ramos said of Whitehurst.

"The investigation has just started," Ramos added. "Right now, my biggest concern is victims, and how many victims are out there."

Cooper said he had publicly shared his account of a relationship with Whithurst to encourage other potential victims to come forward to police.

He said that a fall 2007 assignment in Whitehurst’s English course on dreams led her to tell him after class that she had dreamt about kissing him in the mountains on a field trip.

Two days later, Cooper said, they kissed in her classroom.

"When it happens, you're kind of like, all right, this is pretty badass. You know, my teacher is into me," he said. "I was 17 and I was having a good time is what it was."

A couple of weeks later, she invited him to her apartment, he said. He spent the night, and after that, they saw each other a few times a month, he said.

"It's not like we went out to movies or dinner or anything," he said.

"There wasn't a thought of, 'I'm going to get in trouble' or 'Should I say something?'" he added. "It's more of like, 'Holy cow, this hot teacher is into me.'"

Cooper described Whitehurst as a "bubbly person" and a "friendly teacher" who blended in with students.

Toward the end of the school year, in spring 2008, Cooper said he began to feel guilty because he had a school-age girlfriend during the alleged affair with Whitehurst, Cooper said. He stopped returning the teacher’s texts and calls, and eventually they broke the affair off amicably, he said.

Cooper said he had since apologized to the girlfriend.

Cooper, pictured today above at left, said he got a "C+ or B" in the English class, adding he felt that he did not receive special treatment from Whitehurst.

More Southern California Stories:


Missing Sandy Hook Memorial Statue Returned


A butterfly statue put up in Southington in memory of the victims at Sandy Hook Elementary has been returned to police after it was reportedly stolen Monday.

The wooden butterfly was part of the "Because of 26" mural on the town's Rail to Trails. Police say the butterfly has not been damaged.

Southington police are investigating.

Photo Credit: Southington Police Department

WWII Veteran Receives Medal


A member of the "Greatest Generation" received a long-overdue honor Wednesday.

Surrounded by family, a humble Philip Hopkins finally received the medals he earned on the battlefield during World War II, almost 70 years after the last shot was fired.

“I can't believe it’s all for me. Not for me, but for the country,” said Hopkins.

During a ceremony at the Waterford rehab center where he lives, the father of eight, grandfather to 19 and great-grandfather to 20 recalled the horror of the Battle of the Bulge, one of the deadliest of the war.

“I know we got shelled a lot,” said Hopkins.

Hopkins described the fear he and his army battalion felt during intense fighting in the forests of central Europe.

“You're scared like hell,” he said.

Unfortunately, moments like today's ceremony are becoming less and less frequent. The National World War II Museum in New Orleans estimates that 600 World War II veterans die every day. That's one every two minutes.

And that means that by the year 2036, beautiful moments like today’s will be gone.

His medal records lost in a fire, today’s ceremony would not have happened if “Hop,” as friends call him, hadn’t struck up a conversation about the war with someone from hospice, who got in touch with Congressman Joe Courtney.

That expedited the normally months-long process to get the medals down to a few weeks.

“It makes me feel very good because he's been talking about this for a long time,” said Hopkins’ wife, Clara.

According to his family, a series of falls, a broken leg and his ongoing dementia have slowed Hopkins down. But the extra special meaning of today’s ceremony right before Independence Day holiday is not lost on him.

“Quite an honor,” said Hopkins.

Mini-Golfers Putt for Charity


Putt your way to supporting a good cause.

Mini-golfers of all ages and abilities will make their way to the Berlin Batting Cages on Aug. 3 for the fourth Annual Putt Putt for Charity Mini-Golf Tournament.

The day-long tournament includes mini-golf, face painting, music and prizes and will benefit the American Eagle Federal Credit Union Fund.

Proceeds will be used to provide charitable grants to various nonprofit community organizations.

The charity event will take place on Saturday, Aug. 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Putter’s Paradise and Berlin Batting Cages at 1801 Berlin Turnpike in Berlin.

The event is free for anyone who registers online before Aug. 1. Admission is $5 per person on the day of the event. Children ages 4 and under receive free admission.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Silver SUV in Bristol Garage for Up to a Year?


What was the deal with the silver SUV towed from the Lake Avenue home of Aaron Hernandez’s uncle, Andres Valderamma?

NBC Connecticut has learned from sources familiar with the investigation that it may have been in the Bristol garage for up to a year.

The silver Toyota 4Runner was first noticed when police were executing a search warrant at the home in relation to the murder of Odin Llyod in North Attleboro.

Sources say that Massachusetts investigators believe Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace went directly to the Lake Avenue home after leaving Hernandez’s house in North Attleboro the night Odin Llyod was murdered.

Sources claim the family of Hernandez told detectives that the car belonged to Hernandez, and that he had received it upon signing with the New England Patriots. The family added that the SUV had been in the garage for “about a year,” untouched after Aaron dropped it off.

Sources claim that investigators learned the SUV is registered to a Rhode Island company, adding that members of the company told investigators they gave Hernandez the SUV in exchange for appearances and outings with clients.

It didn’t take long after that for investigators to match the SUV’s description to a car they were looking for in connection to a July 2012 double murder outside a club in Boston.

That connection brought the second search warrant issued for the Lake Avenue home. The Toyota 4Runner was seen being towed away by investigators last Friday.

Investigators were searching the Lake Avenue home as recently as Tuesday.

Arrest Made in Enfield Home Invasion Case


Enfield Police have made an arrest in a home invasion that took place in early May.

Authorities arrested 37-year-old Toby Berthiaume, of Enfield, Wednesday.

On Monday, May 6, 2013, an Enfield woman in her 90s answered a knock at her door thinking she was receiving a package. When she opened the door, Berthiaume allegedly forced his way into the home, knocking her down.

The woman's daughter found her injured and bleeding.  Following the incident, the woman’s jewelry and TV were missing.

Berthiaume is set to be arraigned on July 5, 2013, and faces charges of home invasion, burglary, assault, and larceny.  He is being held on $1 million court set bond.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Former Ill. Gov. Ryan Released from Federal Custody


Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan took a big step toward becoming a free man Wednesday.

Ryan, 79, was released from federal custody a day earlier than expected. Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke said Ryan was released Wednesday morning.

"I feel wonderful. I'm glad to be home," Ryan said outside his Kankakee home. "There's no place like home, especially in America and freedom's a great thing.  I'm glad I've got mine back."

Ryan served in state government for 40 years and spent nearly six years in prison in Terre Haute, Ind., for corruption. He was released from prison in January and bypassed staying at a halfway house to return to the Kankakee home he shared with his wife, who passed away while Ryan was in prison.

"It's an empty house without my wife of some 60 years," he said. "Friday was her birthday. [It] caught up to me finally. She's 79. That's life."

His July 4 parole date was bumped up because of the holiday, two sources close to Ryan's family said.

His future plans include writing a book, albeit one that came with a warning.

"With any luck I won't put you in it," he said to a reporter. "If your name appears, it won't be good."

Ryan still has to serve the terms of his mandatory supervised release, which means he'll have to report to a parole officer for one year.

The main provisions of Ryan's release include:

  • He can commit no other crimes.
  • No controlled substances or excessive use of alcohol
  • No guns
  • Cannot travel outside the northern district of Illinois without the permission of his probation officer and cannot travel outside the continental United States without permission of his trial judge, Rebecca Pallmeyer.
  • Must maintain regular contact with his parole officer and provide a written report within 5 days of the beginning of each month.
  • Tax returns, bank statements, credit cards, etc, must remain open to inspection by his probation officer
  • Must notify them if he plans to move
  • Must not associate with anyone convicted of a felony, which would include some notable figures from his past life, including his former chief of staff Scott Fawell and co-defendant Larry Warner.

Ryan works at his son's insurance company and was required to report to the Chicago halfway home weekly.

Ryan was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $603,348, a figure that appears to have been satisfied.

Photo Credit: George Mycyk, NBC Chicago

SoFla Egyptians React to Egyptian Army Ousting President Morsi


These are tumultuous times in Egypt, with massive protests followed by the military ousting the country’s leader. This time it’s Mohammed Morsi; a couple of years ago it was Hosni Mubarak being kicked out. In some respects, it’s a scary sequel for South Florida's Egyptian community.

“The concern that I have is the safety of the people,” said Father Timotheus Soliman, who leads the congregation at Miramar’s St. John the Baptist Egyptian Coptic Church. He pointed out that just last night, Morsi called for the followers of the Muslim Brotherhood to resort to martyrdom as it became obvious the military would remove him from his elected position.

“He is calling for civil war,” Soliman said. “Right now, not only Copts are in danger, but even Muslims, because whosoever is not in agreement with the philosophy of the Muslim Brotherhood is considered an infidel.”

Father Soliman is worried about his family back home in Cairo, and about the future of Egyptian society. He said it’s obvious from the huge protests against Morsi’s tenure that many Egyptians are having second thoughts about the revolution that toppled Mubarak but allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to come to power.

“They are not regretting it, but they were sad that it was stolen from them,” Soliman explained.

“Democracy is not just about being elected through the ballot box, it’s also about allowing the voices of the people to be heard,” said U.S. State Department Spokesperson Jennifer Psaki, referring to widespread criticism that Morsi was guilty of suppressing dissenting voices in Egypt. Father Soliman agrees, and hopes the next government there will represent everyone, including Muslim brotherhood supporters.

“They’re part of the political game, but they need to take their portion, not to take everything,” Soliman said.

NYC Egyptians Jubilated, Worried After Morsi Ousted


When the Egyptian military ousted Mohammed Morsi, Egyptians in New York celebrated while some worried about the potential violence the uprising could bring. Andrew Siff has their reactions.
Browsing All 57608 Browse Latest View Live