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No One Hurt When School Bus Backs Into Car in North Branford


A school bus backed into a car in North Branford this morning, but no one was injured. 

Police said 27 children were on the bus and three people were in the sedan. 

No one was hurt and the bus was able to continue on with the normal route.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Top 10 Beaches in the US for 2017


Photo Credit: Getty Images/Panoramic Images

Miss Black Texas: I Was Arrested Over 'Color of My Skin'


The winner of Miss Black Texas 2016 says she was harassed and berated by a North Texas police chief who called her a "black b----," and then was unlawfully detained and arrested. 

Carmen Ponder recounted her alleged interaction with Commerce Police Chief Kerry Crews in a Twitter post Tuesday. She is calling for police accountability and wants charges filed against Crews.

In her account, Ponder wrote that she was driving to a Wal-Mart in Commerce Saturday when a black truck cut in front of her car and began driving erratically, braking and accelerating. Ponder said she turned on her blinker, pulled around to pass the truck and then drove into the Wal-Mart parking lot.

According to Ponder, the black truck followed her and pulled up next to her car. She said the passenger, later identified as Crews, exited the truck and yelled that he was teaching his 14-year-old daughter how to drive and that she should not have passed his truck. 

Ponder said she ignored the man at first but eventually told him that that was illegal before she walked into the store.

"He continued yelling and cussing me out and I finally turned around and said 'It's illegal,' when he kept saying that it was a 14 year old driving," Ponder wrote. "That's when he screamed 'oh whatever, you black b----!"

After making a purchase at the store, Ponder said when she walked out of the store she was charged by several other officers in plain clothes.

“One of them shoved his badge in her face, told her that she ‘Better apologize to the police chief,’ but my client declined to do so,” Ponder's attorney Lee Merritt said. “One of the officers grabbed her, pulled her back into Wal-Mart, and told her she was being detained. When other officers arrived she walked back to her car to explain what happened. An officer grabbed her and demanded she be arrested for resisting arrest. She has bruises on her arms from where she was grabbed.”

Ponder was handcuffed, booked into jail and charged with evading arrest. She spent 24 hours in jail.

Authorities said Crews was placed on administrative leave while an outside organization hired by the City of Commerce conducts an investigation.

Crews declined to comment on the allegations, telling NBC 5 his attorneys advised him not to speak at this time.

Ponder is calling for police accountability and has launched a crowdfunding page to raise money for attorney's fees to fight the charges. She writes in her youcaring.com post that she refuses to take a plea deal and is "more than willing" to go to trial. 

"My only crime...the color of my skin," she said.

Ponder is the former Miss Black Texas U.S. Ambassador. She is also a Dean’s List student at Texas A&M University-Commerce and an intern with the Hunt County District Attorney, according to her You Caring page.

Photo Credit: Attorney Lee Merritt/Getty
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'Community Diversion Program' for 14 Southington Students


Fourteen middle schools in Southington are suspected of sharing inappropriate text messages and photographs and have been referred to a community-based diversion program after an investigation into naked photos on a student’s phone.

The investigation began when an adult went to administrators at Joseph A. DePaolo Middle School on May 12 to let them know about the photos and it revealed that students at DePaolo Middle School, as well John F. Kennedy Middle School, had been sharing inappropriate texts messages and photographs with each other through social media, according to police.

In all, 14 students suspected in the case were referred to the juvenile review board, which is a community-based diversion program, police said, and no charges have been filed.

Police called the incident a “delinquent act” and said the investigation is complete.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Afternoon Showers, Heavier Rain Tonight


Scattered showers will continue through the afternoon and into the evening hours. Rain will become more widespread and really pickup in intensity later tonight.

In addition to the rain, temperatures are also cool with highs sitting a good 15 to 20 degrees below normal. 

Showers will be scattered and nature through the 10 p.m. hour. 

It's not until after midnight that the rain really picks up in intensity. We're forecasting moderate to heavy rain from midnight to 5 a.m. 

Showers will once again become scattered in nature tomorrow morning between 5 and 10 a.m.

The weather improves drastically just in time for Memorial Day Weekend. Conditions will dry out for Saturday and Sunday. High temperatures on Saturday are expected to reach the middle 70s (near average).

Right now it look like rain will return to the forecast for Memorial Day Monday. 

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;Meet Me On Main' Diner in Coventry Closing Sunday


Meet Me On Main in Coventry is closing this weekend after more than 11 years. 

A sign posted on the door of says it will serve its final crowd on Sunday morning. 

The Journal Inquirer reports the closure is due to a decline in business over the last six months amid road construction on Main Street.  

The cafe is currently only open on weekends.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Schick Employee Injured in Industrial Accident in Milford


An employee of Schick Manufacturing in Milford suffered "traumatic" injuries to her hand and arm and is in serious condition after her hand became lodged in a machine at work this morning.

Company employees said the woman's arm became entangled in the machine around 9:15 a.m. and the security department called 911 to respond to the facility at Edgewell Personal Care, at 10 Leighton Road.

Fire officials said Schick employees made a valiant effort to help the woman by immediately disconnecting the power to the machine after her right hand got caught. When they arrived at the scene, Milford firefighters applied a tourniquet because the woman was bleeding very heavily.

The woman was extricated fairly quickly, in around 17 minutes, and paramedics rushed to Yale-New Haven Hospital, fire officials said.

An OSHA investigation is underway, which is mandatory for an industrial accident, and Schick is providing counseling for employees.

Schick is a division of Edgewell Personal Care.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Joe Lieberman Withdraws Name From FBI Director Search


Former Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman has withdrawn his name from the running for FBI director.

The confirmation comes after reports that President Donald Trump is expected to retain Marc Kasowitz as a private attorney on matters related to the Russia investigation. 

Lieberman and Kasowitz are senior partners at the same firm and Lieberman's letter to President Donald Trump, which NBC Connecticut obtained, says he thinks it would be best to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

News of Trump's plan to retain Kasowitz came after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election between Trump and Hillary Clinton, and any possible collusion with members of the Trump campaign. Congressional committees in the House and Senate are also leading separate investigations. 

"With your selection of Marc Kasowitz to represent you in the various investigations that have begun, I do believe it would be best to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, given my role as senior counsel in the law firm of which Marc is the senior partner,” Lieberman wrote.

“Once again, I am grateful for your consideration, and I wish you the very best in identifying the right person to lead this most important law enforcement agency in the future,” Lieberman’s letter says.

Lieberman was Trump's top pick to be the next FBI director to replace James Comey, who Trump fired earlier this month. 

The other three candidates include the current acting director, Andrew McCabe, former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating and Richard McFeeley, a former executive assistant director in the FBI.

Lieberman served 24 years as a Connecticut senator before retiring in 2013 after his fourth term.

He was the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, running with Al Gore in 2000. The pair lost the election to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in a result that needed to be decided by the Supreme Court.

Lieberman also served as Connecticut's attorney general and spent 10 years as a state senator.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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Nurse Was Raped, Beaten During Hostage Standoff at Ill. Hospital: Suit


Editor's Note: Details in this story may be disturbing for some readers

An Illinois nurse taken hostage at a suburban Chicago hospital was raped and tortured at gunpoint before she saved staff from the gunman, attorneys and a new lawsuit claim.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of two nurses taken hostage May 13 at Delnor Hospital in Geneva, blames the incident on alleged violations by an officer guarding an inmate whose elaborate escape attempt turned into a deadly barricade situation. The suit also names the Kane County Sheriff's Department and the hospital's security firm as defendants, claiming they failed to properly monitor and secure the Kane County inmate.

The suit claims Tywon Salters, of Chicago, was left unshackled after a visit to the bathroom because he told a Kane County Sheriff’s officer he may need to use the restroom again.

That’s when attorneys say Salters managed to gain control of the officer’s gun and begin his attempt at an escape.

“Following the taking of his gun, the sheriff ran from the room, down the hall, into another patient’s room and hid,” the lawsuit claims. “The sheriff then took no action to attempt to regain control of his gun or protect hospital employees walking the floor.”

Salters, 21, of Chicago, was taken from the Kane County Jail by ambulance on May 8 to Delnor Hospital after eating part of his plastic, jail-issued sandal, the Kane County State’s Attorney said. After undergoing surgery to remove the plastic from his stomach, Salters was recovering while awaiting a court appearance set for May 17 at the Kane County Judicial Center. He had been charged with possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

After grabbing the officer’s gun, a naked Salters allegedly entered a nursing office and took a nurse hostage before demanding she take off her clothes so he could put them on.

Salters “forced her to remove her clothes, threatened her, physically abused her, verbally abused her,” the lawsuit states.

When another nurse entered the office, Salters let the first nurse leave while taking the second nurse hostage, eventually moving her to a “decontamination room” where they would stay for the more than three hours.

“During which time he repeatedly beat her, forced her to remove her clothes, violently raped her, threatened her life, verbally abused her and held her at gunpoint,” the suit states.

“It’s been said that the nurses were not injured - when in fact one of the nurses was repeatedly beaten, she was tortured and she was raped," said attorney Sean Murray.

At one point, the nurse convinced Salters to allow her to make a phone call, one she used to alert other employees to escape, attorneys said. She led Salters through an area of the hospital “she knew would be evacuated and contain no hospital staff,” according to attorneys.

“The quick thinking by this nurse likely saved other hospital staff from being harmed,” attorneys said in a statement.

Negotiations were ongoing through the incident, officials said, but ultimately failed.

A SWAT team entered the area where Salters held his hostage and one of the officers shot him, the state’s attorney’s office said. One of the SWAT officers was also shot in the vest but was uninjured, officials said.

The suit offers the first account of what happened inside the hospital that day. Little information has been released by officials, with the state’s attorney earlier saying “there are many questions to be answered about this incident.”

The state's attorney's office declined to comment on the suit "pending the ongoing investigation and litigation."

"We really don't know what happened in the room," Kane County Sheriff’s Lt. Pat Gengler told the Aurora Beacon-News last week.

Both the SWAT officer who fired the shot that killed Salters and the corrections officer who was disarmed were placed on paid administrative leave, per protocol.

Gengler told the Beacon-News the corrections officer’s placement was a formality.

"The officer had his weapon taken and that weapon was used (to hold someone) hostage," he told the newspaper. "To expect that person to come back to work is completely unrealistic."

The Kane County Sheriff’s Office is conducting a review of its policies, procedures and protocol involving the transport of detainees and how they are guarded when outside the jail.

“We are [filing suit] so this type of thing doesn’t happen to anyone else, and so that hospital staff can feel safe returning to work,” Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman LLC said in a statement.

Photo Credit: Taxman Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman LLC

Retired West Hartford Police Dog Dies


K9 Reign, a retired West Hartford police dog, has died and the officers he worked with paid their respects in the hours before he was put to sleep on Wednesday night. 

Reign was 14 years old and suffered from a severe degenerative back issue, according to police. 

On Wednesday, police said they picked Reign up at his residence in a fully marked K9 cruiser and he was clearly aware of being in a cruiser again as he was driven by the police station and the nearly 30 officers who stood at attention to pay their final respects. 

Reign was euthanized Wednesday evening. 

“It is with deep regret that the WHPD announces the passing of retired police K9 Reign,” police said in a news release. 

Reign joined the police department in 2006 and retired in 2012, but made frequent visits to the police station. 

Throughout his six-year career, Reign and Officer Rosario Savastra were a successful team and located burglary suspects in buildings, including one person who was hiding inside the ceiling of the Colt Building in Hartford, police said. 

Together, they made several drug finds, including finding several bundles of heroin hidden inside a vehicle. 

“K9 Reign was a one of a kind K9 who knew when it was time to work and when it was time to play. After retiring in 2012, K9 took on the responsibility of protecting family and home time. As expected, Reign has also fulfilled this duty with distinction,” a statement from West Hartford Police said. 

Photo Credit: West Hartford Police

Road Construction Suspended Over Holiday Weekend Travel


All regular construction-related activity on Connecticut state roads and highways will be suspended for the long holiday weekend, according to the governor’s office.

Gov. Dannel Malloy said work will be suspended from 6 a.m. Friday through 6 a.m. Tuesday to accommodate travelers during the busy Memorial Day holiday weekend.

“Memorial Day has traditionally been the unofficial start of summer and one of the busiest travel days of the year, and we do not want our state’s residents to worry about any additional delays because of roadwork this weekend,” Malloy said in a statement. “Connecticut has many great places to visit this summer season, and I encourage all of our citizens to plan ahead and drive safely.”

Only emergency nature will be performed, he said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Blend Images RM

Danbury Police Search for Mother of Abandoned Baby


Danbury police are looking for the public's help to identify the mother of a newborn found abandoned behind a grocery story on Sunday.

The baby boy was found shortly after being born, according to police.

Officers received a 911 call around 11:30 p.m. Sunday from someone who found the child wrapped in women's clothes behind the grocery store at 397 Main Street.

The newborn is still being evaluated at the hospital, but police say their main concern now is for the mother, who may need medical attention or could be the victim of a crime herself.

Police released photos of some of the clothing items that were found with the baby and are hoping someone will recognize them.

Anyone with information is asked to call Danbury police at (203) 797-4662 or their anonymous tips line at (203) 790-8477.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Pastor Guilty of Sexually Assaulting Parishioners, Juvenile


A Connecticut pastor has been found guilty of sexually assaulting parishioners, including one juvenile. 

Francisco Moran was found guilty on all charges by a jury at the Middlesex Superior Court on Thursday. 

Moran was a pastor with the Good Samaritan Church in Old Lyme and is a resident of Clinton. He was arrested in April 2015 by Clinton Police following an investigation into the sexual assault allegations. 

The 59-year-old was found guilty for second-degree sexual assault, two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, three counts of risk of injury to a minor and two counts of coercion. 

Moran was ordered to forfeit his passport and is being held on a $2,000,000 bond. 

Photo Credit: Clinton Police Department

Kushner Under FBI Scrutiny in Russia Probe: Officials


Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and one of his senior advisers, has come under FBI scrutiny in the Russia investigation, multiple U.S. officials told NBC News.

Investigators believe Kushner has significant information relevant to their inquiry, officials said. That does not mean they suspect him of a crime or intend to charge him.

The FBI's scrutiny of Kushner places the bureau's sprawling counterintelligence and criminal investigation not only on the doorstep of the White House, but on the cusp of the Trump family circle.

Photo Credit: Evan Vucci/AP (File)

Father Arrested for 10-Month-Old Baby's Death in Bridgeport: PD


The father of a 10-month-old baby found unresponsive in a Bridgeport apartment building before dying at the hospital has been arrested, police said.

Derrick Siberon, of Highland Avenue, was arrested and charged with first-degree manslaughter and risk of injury to a minor in connection to his infant son's death back in April. 

Bridgeport Police said they responded to a report of an unresponsive baby boy at the Greene Homes housing complex on Highland Avenue April 24 at 11:15 a.m.

The baby was transported to Bridgeport Hospital before being transferred to Yale-New Haven hospital for advanced care. He passed away the following day. 

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner performed an autopsy and classified the infant's death as a homicide on April 26.

Right Lane on I-84 in Middlebury Closed Following Rollover Crash


The right lane and on-ramp on Interstate 84 in Middlebury is closed after a serious crash, police said.

The rollover crash happened in the westbound lane near exit 17 in Middlbury on Thursday night.

Serious injuries have been reported.

State police said the right lane and on-ramp at exit 17 westbound are closed.

No other information was immediately available. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Spray Painted Symbols Seen in Hartford, Southington


Spray painted symbols in cities and towns around our state could cost taxpayers big bucks to remove. 

Police say the spray painted symbols is the work of a tagger, who is someone that posts there name or nickname on things in public.

You'll see these markings on the median on I-84 in Hartford and on almost every pillar below an overpass on Route 10 in Southington.

"For us this is not a victimless crime. This is costing taxpayer dollars. Probably up to half a million dollars a year chasing and cleaning up after vandals," said Department of Transportation (DOT) Director of Communications Kevin Nursick.

Authorities are asking if residents see tagging being done to call police

The DOT says vandalism also puts crew members in danger when they have to remove it because the crime is done in difficult to reach areas.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

School Board Member Steps Down Over Sexual Assault Discipline Policy


An Amity Regional School District No. 5 Board Member has stepped down following the approval of a policy on how the district could potentially discipline students for sexual assault. 

Tracey Russo submitted her letter of resignation on May 9 because of the new Memorandum of Understanding between the school district and Woodbridge Police Department.

She told NBC Connecticut she could no longer serve on the board because of a discipline chart that lists “verbal warning” as a “potential intervention” for sexual assault.

“While I do not believe anybody on our Board of Education would support such a decision, the bottom line is we have a document out there,” Russo said.

Twice elected to the Board of Education, Russo is a mother with three children in the Amity school district.

Earlier in the month, the Board of Education approved a contract with Woodbridge Police outline different levels of discipline for student behavior at Amity Regional High School.

The document lists verbal warning as potential intervention for crimes such as alcohol or drug possession, illegal substances, robbery, breach of peace and sexual assault.

“But for me under no circumstances should a verbal warning ever be associated with an appropriate or potential response to a sexual assault,” Russo said.

Superintendent Dr. Charles Dumais responded to NBC Connecticut’s request for comment with an email.

"The sample responses are not singularly aligned to a particular offense,” Dumais said in the email. “The district most certainly does not believe that a verbal warning is an appropriate response to sexual assault and the policies of the Amity Board of Education clearly reflect that.”

Woodbridge Police Chief Frank Capiello said in an email the implication a student receives a verbal warning for committing sexual assault is a “misinterpretation of the wording in the document.”

Russo said other board members and parents have been supportive of her decision because it is based on her personal experience and desire to support sexual assault survivors.

“When I was in high school I was sexually assaulted and did not talk about it for many years,” she explained, “and when this issue came up again before the amity board of education I felt it was time to start speaking up.”

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

XL Center Renovation Remains Focus for Malloy


In the middle of one of the worst financial crises in state history, Gov. Dannel Malloy is continuing his push for a complete overhaul of Hartford’s sports arena, the XL Center.

The governor said the state now has an arena that is in disrepair, with an ice making system that’s being replaced for the first time in decades, and taxpayers have a choice to either close the arena or to invest and make it special once again.

Part of Malloy’s pitch is that Hartford has to remain competitive, and an arena like the XL Center he said is part of that conversation.

“We need to have cities in Connecticut that are as attractive as cities in other places,” Malloy urged Thursday, standing along rows of seats.

There are myriad skeptics to the governor’s proposal inside the General Assembly. The Finance Committee authorized a fraction of the $250 million for the arena the governor wanted, and others are worried about the optics of spending so much money on the arena in the middle of a fiscal crisis.

“I don’t think we should be throwing any more money at the XL Center until we get our fiscal house in order with the State of Connecticut,” said Rep. Chris Davis, (R – Ellington), the ranking Republican on the Finance Committee and a member of the Bond Commission that would authorize the funds for a renovation. Davis typically votes “no” on nearly all bond packages.

Davis said he’s supported previous actions to improve the XL Center, like improvements to the air condition system and other functional upgrades, but said he has to draw a line somewhere.

“When we’re cutting services for developmental disabilities, we’re cutting the safety net for Connecticut’s residents and then to be putting money into the XL Center with massive cuts happening to safety net programs, I think that sends the wrong message to people across the state,” he said.

The Whaler Guys, diehard fans of the NHL franchise that were moved to North Carolina from Hartford in 1997, said there are far more benefits to maintaining a top-flight arena in the Capital City.

“We have to make this a marketable arena, said Jerry Erwin, who hosts a public-access show with his colleague, Peter Hindle.

Hindle, wearing a vintage Whalers logo tie said he recognizes the difficult of approving such a project, especially during some of the worst budget times in decades.

“It’s never an easy sell but one million people have been here in the last two years, Hindle said. “That’s about one out of every three people in Connecticut roughly and without that you’ve got to imagine the ripple effect it would cause without people parking, eating, concessions, and that kind of thing.”

Malloy said the price is right for what he describes as a state-of-the-art arena. The state has already brought in the same consulting firm that designed and undertook the renovation of New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

The governor said he’s ready to take ownership of the future of the XL Center and said for taxpayers, considering the lack of investment going back decades, the new estimate for what would amount to a replacement, is a bargain.

“The reason the price tag is as high as it is, is because those investments weren’t made over a long period of time. The decision really is do we recreate this facility at a much smaller price than to build it elsewhere or do we close it.”

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Officials Takes Step Toward Moving Crystal Ave. Tenants


The New London Housing Authority has taken the next step to relocate the approximately 360 residents living in the Thames River Apartments.

This week the New London Housing Authority Board of Commissioners approved an agreement to provide relocation services for families in the troubled Crystal Avenue high-rises.

“Where we came from last year of October to now, I look at is as new beginnings,” Jeanne Ward, who lives in the apartments, said.

“I think some of us deserve it, you know? It’s unfortunate the situations that we have been faced,” tenant Lydia Torres said.

She’s referring to the roaches, mice and mold inside the buildings. Plus the problems with the boiler system.

But now the Housing Authority is teaming up with Elm City Communities, the housing Authority of New Haven, and if needed, its redevelopment arm, The Glendower Group. They’ll survey tenants about their housing needs and help them move.

Shenae Draughn, senior vice president of the Glendower Group and special projects director with Elm City Communities said her agency has relocated more than 2,000 families in the last 10 years. And has helped with relocation for non-housing authority developments, including the federally subsidized Church Street South complex in New Haven.

The contract between the New London and New Haven Housing Authorities will likely be signed next week, Draughn said. The week after that, they’ll address tenants in a group forum and then proceed to meet with them one-on-one.

The partnership is needed for a disposition application the city has been working to complete that will be filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), according to Housing Authority Executive Director Roy Bowling, It would provide residents tenant protection vouchers, a Section 8 voucher, that can be used outside of New London. And then decide what to do with the building. That could include demolition, said Housing Authority Board of Commissioners Chair Betsy Gibson.

The contract with New Haven’s Housing Authority is not to exceed $400,000. Gibson said that money will come from the business account and the eventual sale of the Thames River property.

Tenants are calling this a step in the right direction.

“I’m happy for my parents because they’re going to go somewhere that’s not garbage. And I really appreciate what they’re doing,” said Marcos Ortyz, who lives at Thames River.

“It kind of feels great! The kids will have a whole new life,” Ward said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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