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Silver Alert Canceled for 10-Year-Old in West Haven


Police have found the 10-year-old from West Haven who went missing for 5 hours on Thursday. 

Eshwar Balakumar was last seen on Island Lane in West Haven. 

West Haven police said they located the child in good health at a school ball field.

The boy's mom tells NBC Connecticut that there was an issue at school on Thursday and Balakumar took off after he was dropped off by the bus at home. 

Balakumar had gone missing for approximately 5 hours after writing a concerning note, police said.

The boy was found on Bailey Drive, hiding outside, his mother said. 

Photo Credit: West Haven Police

Lebanon Teacher Accused of Inappropriate Conduct


A teacher in the Lebanon Public School district is under investigation, concerning allegations of "inappropriate conduct", according to the Connecticut State Police.

Troopers said they were contacted by district administrators earlier this week.

The superintendent of schools in Lebanon told the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters the unnamed teacher at Lyman Memorial High School is on paid administrative leave.

A video appears to show the teacher climbing a ladder in the dark at a social gathering of students in Bozrah over the weekend.

NBC Connecticut has a copy of the video in question. It is approximately two minutes long. The clip was circulating among students and on social media, including SnapChat.

Phrases like "let's go," "move out of the way," and a countdown from the number five, could be heard, before the reported teacher in question takes hold of a zip line, and swings across it for approximately 15 seconds. The crowd erupts, as it happens and student Tanner Evans, who says he was there explains the teacher than dropped into a body of water, before drying off and leaving the gathering.

"All of a sudden, she just like huffed it down the zip line and it was like "woah" the teacher just did that, everyone was pretty shook," Evans told NBC Connecticut after school today.

Lyman Memorial Senior Tanner Evans doesn't know who allegedy invited the high school teacher- who now on paid leave- to a Memorial Day weekend gathering he describes as students celebrating the end of the year at a field in Bozrah. Evans said the teacher was gone after 15 minutes.

"I just heard her say, "are you guys going to tell me when to jump? And she was standing there by the ladder, she was pretty hesitant. After she came out of water, pretty wet obviously, and went down dried herself off," Evans added

Superintendent Robert Angeli would not discuss the nature of the allegations or confirm the teacher's name, but, assures the school community this teacher did not teach any classes on Wednesday, before being escorted off school grounds around lunch time. Administrators were made aware of the allegations against the staff member in question on Tuesday after school, according to Angeli.

NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters are not naming that person, because the district investigation is not complete and no criminal charges have been filed.

State police told to the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters they are investigating the allegations of "inappropriate conduct." One mom who wants to remain anonymous said the teacher taught her son.

"I'm really concerned. My son is a student at Lyman and I'm hoping the teachers would be good role models and I'm really sad to hear this. I would think there needs to be repercussions, and you know if she loses her job, that's really sad. But she should've thought before she did what she did," she said. 

Evans said he did not see any alcohol at the party and feels maybe it wasn't the best idea, buy believes it isn't too serious.

"It was pretty funny to see our teacher go down zip line so if does get booted, it's a little unfair," reiterated Evans.

NBC Connecticut has reached out to this particular teacher. Stopping by at her house, over email, on social media and by phone, along with reaching out to her union contact, Connecticut Education Association in Hartford. Nobody got back to us.

None of the nine members of the school board returned our emails and phone calls either.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Uproar in NYC After Trump Ditches Global Climate Agreement


Hundreds of people protested in Lower Manhattan and buildings were to be lit green in solidarity after President Trump declared Thursday that the U.S. is withdrawing from the landmark Paris climate agreement.

Trump’s decision strikes a major blow to worldwide efforts to combat climate change and distances the U.S. from many allies. It also led to widespread condemnation on social media and in the streets of New York City.

About 400 protesters gathered at Foley Square after Trump’s announcement. They held signs and chanted, “What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!”

The crowd marched through the streets to nearby City Hall, where they pounded drums and chanted, “You can’t drink oil, leave it in the soil!”

In a show of solidarity, Gov. Cuomo said One World Trade Center and the Kosciuszko Bridge would be lit green on Thursday night. Mayor de Blasio said City Hall would also light up green.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors said it strongly opposed the decision and said mayors will continue efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.

Under former President Obama, the U.S. had agreed under the accord to reduce polluting emissions by about 1.6 billion tons by 2025. But the targets were voluntary, meaning the U.S. and the nearly 200 other nations in the agreement could alter their commitments.

Framing his decision as "a reassertion of America's sovereignty," Trump said, "I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris."

Trump said that he would begin negotiations to re-enter the agreement or establish "an entirely new transaction" to get a better deal for the U.S. But he suggested re-entry was hardly a priority. "If we can, great. If we can't, that's fine," he said.

Trump’s announcement came the same day that a study was released saying that East Harlem is one of the most vulnerable neighborhoods to both flooding and poor water quality. Experts say if Sandy had hit during high tide, East Harlem would have been completely under water.

According to the study by the Waterfront Alliance, 400,000 New Yorkers face a 50 percent risk of major flooding over the next 40 years.

“To think that a storm like that could affect this neighborhood is pretty scary —and not just the storm, but the long-term aftermath of that,” Christina Nadler, of East Harlem, said.

The neighborhoods most at risk are East Harlem and the Lower East Side in Manhattan; Mott Haven and Throggs Neck in the Bronx; Coney Island and Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn; Howard Beach and the Rockaways in Queens; and Mid-Island on Staten Island.

The study’s authors say to make those neighborhoods safe they need to build barriers, like those planned for Staten Island, and the world needs to combat climate change.

“Stop pouring carbon into the atmosphere, stop the global warming,” Waterfront Alliance CEO Roland Lewis said.

Annette Fisher, of the Coney Island Beautification Project, had her home decimated during Sandy back in 2012. She still struggles to secure funding to rebuild.

“What about the people who weren’t here to speak today, who are going to become bankrupt and whose houses are going to be foreclosed on,” Fisher said. “We have to get Trump to wake up!”

By abandoning the world's chief effort to slow the tide of planetary warming, Trump was fulfilling a top campaign pledge. But he was also breaking from many of America's staunchest allies, who have expressed alarm about the decision. Several of his top aides have opposed the action, too, as has his daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump.

Scientists say Earth is likely to reach more dangerous levels of warming sooner as a result of the president's decision because America contributes so much to rising temperatures. Calculations suggest withdrawal could result in emissions of up to 3 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide in the air a year — enough to melt ice sheets faster, raise seas higher and trigger more extreme weather.

Trump, however, argued the agreement had disadvantaged the U.S. "to the exclusive benefit of other countries," leaving American businesses and taxpayers to absorb the cost.

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Motorcyclist Dies After Accident on Route 32 in Willimantic


A motorcyclist died after an accident on Route 32 in Willimantic on Thursday night. 

Officers responded to the scene on Windham Road (Route 32) near Quercus Avenue at 8:10 p.m.

A motor vehicle collided with a motorcycle and caused serious injury to the motorcycle operator, police said. 

Medical care was provided to the victim at the scene, but officials said the motorcycle operator was deceased.

The victim is not being identified until the next of kin are notified. 

The accident caused a portion of Route 32 by Quercus Avenue to be closed while police investigate. 

Anyone who may have witnessed the accident is asked to call Willimantic Police at (860) 465-3135. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Aetna Announcement Shows CT Has to Fix Budget: Consultant


John Boyd makes his living by consulting companies on where is best for them to move and conduct business.

He surveys cities and states all the time and says the conclusions about Connecticut are harsh.

“Connecticut is actually one of the least attractive states to do business in quite frankly," he said.

Aetna announcing it would likely move its headquarters out of Hartford, Boyd said, shouldn't have come as a surprise.

He's consulted Chevron, Boeing, and Pepsico, and in Connecticut he currently provides guidance on site selection to Pratt & Whitney and Pitney Bowes.

The consultant said ever since General Electric announced it would leave Fairfield, the state's finances have been under the microscope and when anyone from the outside looking in has taken a close look, they've seen trouble.

“Lawmakers need to get the fiscal house in order here," Boyd said during an interview in Farmington. "Lawmakers need to cut taxes and cut spending and do what successful states do. There’s a common denominator among states that are attracting industry and these are states that cutting taxes and holding the line on spending.”

Despite all of the bad news, Boyd maintains that Connecticut has qualities other states and cities could only wish for in some instances.

He says Connecticut is well-known for its highly skilled, educated workforce and the state's high quality of life.

As far as infrastructure goes, he said Bradley Airport may in fact be the most critical asset the state has in recruiting industry.

"The second most trafficked airport in New England is Bradley with nonstop flights to major and domestic markets. That’s something companies look for with not only a corporate headquarters, but also a regional headquarters," Boyd said. 

Boyd said the news of Aetna moving its headquarters should act a key moment for the state and for the region. He said Hartford has potential but the right people need to harness it across both local and state lines.

“That’s an asset Hartford has. It is a millennial friendly, walkable town, unlike other suburban markets that are struggling today so the pieces are there with the right approach, the right leadership, some tweaks in policy to really I think absorb this loss and use it as a positive.”

Durham Man Gets Cracked Window Replaced


Mike Siena said he started calling his contractor in August 2016 because the previous month, he had several windows in his home replaced.

One of the windows cracked during installation and the contractor told Siena he would replace it free of charge.

When Siena called for an update, the contractor said he couldn’t do it right away because he was taking care of a sick relative. Then, the contractor had his own health problems.

Siena said he continued to call two or three times a week, but no one ever called him back.

“I had already paid him for the window and everything so my concern was did I get stuck with a broken window?" Siena said.

In May of this year, ten months after the window was installed, Siena saw an ad for NBC Connecticut Responds and decided to reach out.

“It was just the idea of not getting the satisfaction of a return phone call. It really irked me more than anything else,” he said.

NBC Connecticut's consumer team got in touch with the installer, who immediately apologized and promised to call Siena to arrange a time for the new window to be installed.

But just when Siena thought his issue was finally resolved, there was another hitch. The window company sent frosted glass by mistake. The contractor re-ordered it and received frosted glass again.

“It’s just puzzling to me. I mean, twice he had it had it ordered and twice the wrong one came in,” Siena said. “The last two times I can’t actually blame him because it was ordered wrong.”

Finally, on the third try, the correct glass came in and the contractor fixed Siena’s window as promised.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

CT Politicians React to Trump Decision on Paris Accord


President Donald Trump followed through on his campaign promise to pull out of the Paris climate accord at an announcement Thursday afternoon.

“I will work to ensure that the U.S. remains the world's leader on environmental issues,” Trump said from the White House Rose Garden. “But under a framework that remains fair and that the burdens and responsibilities are equally shared."

The president said participating in the international agreement signed by nearly 200 nations hurts the American economy, especially in the energy industry. He has also been skeptical of man-made global warming and at times called it a hoax.

“There is simply no denying what we know in Connecticut when we see rising tide levels,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal said, “super-storms that have become the new normal.”

Blumenthal said at a Thursday news conference that he is worried withdrawing from the deal undermines American leadership and means other countries could take the lead in developing renewable energy technologies.

“If we go to the sidelines, if we withdraw from the field,” Blumenthal said. “China, India, all of western Europe will fill that gap, they will create the jobs that we would otherwise.”

States like Connecticut could lose out, Blumenthal added.

“We don’t have oil wells,” he said. “We don’t have coal mines. What we have is fuel cell manufacturing as well as solar and wind potential.”

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp told NBC Connecticut her city remains committed to reducing carbon emissions by encouraging people to ride their bikes, carpool or use public transportation.

“If the country refuses to lead through its chief executive officer, we’ll do it from the ground up,” Harp said. “Each and every one of us has an obligation to understand the way in which we influence our planet.”

The City of New Haven has replaced lights on the Green and in 80 percent of neighborhoods across the city with LED ones as another way to promote environmental sustainability, the mayor said.

Trump did leave open the possibility of negotiating a revised climate deal.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Trump Team Looked to End Russian Sanctions: Former Diplomats


The Trump Administration was preparing to lift sanctions on Russia when the president took office, two former senior State Department officials told NBC News Thursday.

Daniel Fried, a senior diplomat who retired in February, said he became aware of the effort in the early weeks of President Donald Trump's presidency. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.

Tom Malinowski, former assistant secretary of state for human rights, began lobbying Congress with Fried to pass legislation codifying the sanctions, Malinowski told NBC News. A bill has been introduced in the Senate and the Trump team later backed off, he added.

"It would be politically stinky," Malinowski said of the Trump team continuing to pursue the effort in light of the investigation into coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File

Manchester Bomb Survivor Finally Told of Daughter's Death


A woman critically injured in the Manchester concert bombing has been taken off life support and told her 8-year-old daughter died in the attack, NBC News reported.

Lisa Roussos is awake and "aware of the situation," Britain's ITV News reported Thursday, citing a post on a Facebook group from the girl's father.

Saffie Rose Roussos, 8, was the youngest of the 22 people who died in the bombing last week.

Manchester police continue to piece together what bomber Salman Abedi was doing in the days before the blast on May 22, releasing more photos Thursday.

Photo Credit: PA via AP

1 Rescued From Burning Home in Terryville


One person was rescued from a burning home in Terryville this morning. 

Firefighters responded to a multifamily home on Main Street, of Route 6, and one person was trapped on the second floor. 

Firefighters rescued the person who was then taken to Bristol Hospital to be treated for what officials call minor smoke inhalation. 

It’s not clear what started the fire.

Photo Credit: NBC 7

New Haven Man Dead After Bullet Goes Through His Window


A 27-year-old man is dead after someone started shooting outside his New Haven home and a bullet came through a first-floor window and hit him in the head, police said.

New Haven police responded to 128 Greenwood St. at 10:18 p.m. Thursday to investigate and the victim, Joshua Rivera, was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he was pronounced dead Friday morning.

Police said a ShotSpotter reported 10 shots fired. It appears that Rivera was just sitting at home when shots rang out and there is no indication that he was the intended target, police said.

Authorities are calling the fatal shooting a homicide and said the shooter was described as a shorter, thin man wearing an oversized black hooded sweatshirt and light colored jeans.

The investigation is ongoing.

Correction: Police originally said Joshua Rivera was 28, but now say he is 27.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Bus Crashes Into Apartment Building in Vernon


A Greater Hartford Transit bus has crashed into an apartment building on West Street in Vernon and four apartments have been evacuated.

The bus was at the apartments at 100 West St. to pick someone up and crashed into the building when the driver hit the gas instead of the brake while making a U-turn, officials said.

No one has been injured.

The building inspector will evaluate the building.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Residents Call ‘Free Gas On God’ a Blessing


Some people in Hartford called free gas today a blessing from above. 

In an effort to connect with the community, Mount Olive Church Ministries decided to give a handout to people in their north-end neighborhood. Instead of money or food, they gave away fuel. To the hundreds who lined up to take advantage of the church’s gas giveaway, this free fuel was a Godsend.  

“We need the gas. We’re on empty,” Hartford resident Betsy Ortiz said. 

“It was good to me because I’ve got an interview today in Springfield,” Guillermo Torres, also of Hartford, said. 

“This is the most beautiful thing in the world,” said Kacy Carter of Hartford, who said she thought the gas giveaway was a joke when she first heard about it. 

Reverend Dion Watkins admitted that among all the ways a church can reach out to the community, his “Gas on God” idea is unique. 

“When I came to Hartford three years ago I made up my mind that you have to take the church from behind the four walls and take it to the community. You have to take it to the streets,” Watkins said. 

If turnout was any indication, he met his mission. The gas giveaway was held at the Noble station on Main Street and the Mobil station on Albany Avenue. Mount Olive gave away $2,000 worth of gas at each station. 

“They are so grateful. Just the little things that you do and people are like, ‘thank you thank you so much,’” Watkins said. 

Driver after driver pulled up to the pump, singing the praises of the church members who waited to give them their gas. 

“It’s a blessing. It’s a blessing in disguise. I mean how many people need gas? How many people really need gas and don’t have to worry about their pride” asked Dianne Bowens-Waller, Hartford. 

“One lady told me that now she can take her kids back and forth to daycare,” said Gwen Smith, a church member who helped greet people who pulled up to the pump. 

Pastor Watkins hopes his handout fuels a stronger sense of community in the capital city. 

“They’re overjoyed that somebody took time to come out to the community, especially a church, to say ‘I love you,’” he said. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Bit Officer Who Stopped Him for Reckless Driving: Police


A man accused of reckless driving and biting a police officer was arrested in Branford, police said, and his father is accused of interfering.

Police identified 18-year-old son, Gino Vella, as the motorcyclist who bit the police officer. They have not identified the other motorcyclist.

Police officers responded to Hosley Avenue around 6 p.m. after getting reports of two motorcycles operating recklessly.

As Officer Jay Kaufman followed the drivers, they backed up, drove toward Kaufman’s police cruiser and kicked it as they went by, police said.

Gino Vella and the other motorcyclist then drove recklessly in the Foxbridge Village area, going over lawns in the congested condominium complex, and endangering many adults and children walking in the area, police said.

At the intersection of Brushy Plain and Brookwood Drive, the two drivers split up until officers eventually stopped them at the intersection of Brookwood and Victor Hill Drive.

Police said Gino Vella then crashed his motorcycle into the front of Officer Mark Andrew’s Police cruiser, lunged into the passenger window and tried to assault Andrew, police said.

When a detective pulled Gino Vella out of the window, Vella bit the officer’s hand, police said.

Then Anthony Vella and a juvenile tried to go to Gino’s aid and were taken into custody as well, police said.

Gino Vella is charged with assault on a peace officer, second-degree threatening, first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree breach of peace, two counts of Interfering with an officer, engaging in a pursuit, reckless driving and improper operation on a public highway.

He is being held on a $50,000 bond.

His 55-year-old father was charged with interfering with an officer and was released on a $2,500 bond.

The juvenile was released to a parent and the second motorcyclist has not been identified.

Photo Credit: Branford Police

Penn State Trustees Approve Reining In Frats, Sororities


The parents of a New Jersey man who died after a fatal fall during an alcohol-fueled hazing ritual at a Penn State fraternity house are urging the university’s board of trustees “to admit responsibility so that the university can move forward.”

James and Evelyn Piazza, whose son Tim died two days after being found unconscious in the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house on Feb. 2, penned a scathing letter to the trustees ahead of a board meeting Friday.

Penn State trustees then took the first steps in asserting more control over campus Greek life. They unanimously approved a resolution that gives the university administration stronger oversight of Greek life on campus, and establishes a grading system for fraternities and sororities.

"We believe the self-governance model is broken," university President Eric Barron said of disciplinary oversight Greek organizations have traditionally enforced.

A "zero tolerance on hazing" and stricter enforcement of social events, drinking and size of sororities and fraternities aims "to curb destructive outcomes" without destroying fraternities and sororities, Barron said.

In their letter dated May 31, Piazza's parents slammed Penn State for what they said was the university’s enabling of "a long history of harsh hazing, excessive drinking and sexual assaults in its Greek life.”

"Our son died on your watch because of ignorance and denial by Penn State. Yes, he died at the hands of men who had no regard for human life, but that behavior was fostered and accepted at Penn State for a long time."

The Piazzas vowed in their four-page letter to fight for changes in laws against hazing in Pennsylvania and nationally. But in the meantime, they wrote, Penn State should act.

“The University must introduce strict policies and procedures for existence and interaction of Greek life and must put into place means in which to monitor and strictly enforce such policies and procedures,” they wrote, urging the board to "do the right things, not the popular things to appease a small group of alumni."

Eighteen members of the fraternity have been charged with Tim Piazza’s death, including some who face involuntary manslaughter convictions.

The scene depicted in the criminal complaint of the night and early morning hours that led to the 19-year-old's death are chilling. It tells of an alcohol-fueled evening in which young men allegedly stood around and watched a former standout athlete from Lebanon, New Jersey, fall several times and eventually pass out on the floor.

Some frat members even allegedly prevented others from calling 911.

“Our son died on your watch. We will never see him again because of the Administrations failures to protect him and turning a blind eye to known problems,” the Piazzas wrote. “You now have an obligation to make the appropriate statements and changes to make sure this never happens again. The world is watching.”

In a statement early Friday, Penn State called Tim's death a "horrific tragedy" and said the university has already begun to take "aggressive" action to address student safety.

"Our deepest sympathies continue to go out to the Piazza family. This was a horrific tragedy and our focus is on reaching solutions to the complex issues of hazing, dangerous drinking and other misconduct that plague fraternities here and around the country," the statement read. "University leaders have taken aggressive actions to date and they will meet tomorrow to discuss additional measures to advance student safety."

Photo Credit: NBC10
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Divers Find Body of Man Who Drowned in Maine Lake


Divers searching Panther Pond in Raymond, Maine, have found a Connecticut man who drowned Thursday evening.

The body of 52-year-old Christopher Hughes was found late Friday morning.

The Maine Warden Service says that the man went canoeing alone on the eastern shore of the pond around 10 p.m. His friends soon heard distressed shouting from the man and called for help.

Raymond Fire and game wardens responded and searched the area until early in the morning on Friday, only finding an overturned canoe.

By daybreak on Friday, divers joined the search and found Hughes' body.

The investigation is ongoing.

Photo Credit: WCSH

Food Truck: Friday Whey Station


The Whey Station makes lots of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiched and savory sides.

Man Intentionally Hit Pedestrian in Waterbury: Police


Waterbury police are looking for a man suspected of intentionally hitting a pedestrian in Waterbury last week.

Nicholas Diorio, 28, of Prospect, is accused of hitting the pedestrian at Hamilton and Edgewood avenues on Friday, May 23.

Police said they believe he intentionally targeted the pedestrian and have obtained a warrant charging him with assault in the second degree, reckless endangerment in the first degree, harassment in the second degree, evading responsibility and reckless driving.

Anyone with any information about where Diorio is should call Waterbury police.

Photo Credit: Waterbury Police

Brazilian Police Find 60 Assault Rifles Onboard Miami-Rio Flight


Police confiscated 60 automatic rifles found in a cargo shipment Thursday at Rio de Janeiro's international airport, Brazilian authorities said.

The weapons were discovered in a container along with pool heaters in the cargo section of Galeao International Airport. Four people were arrested, and a Brazilian citizen is being investigated in Miami, where the shipment originated, officials said.

Police showed off the haul, which included AK-47s and AR-15s, at a news conference.

Rio State Security Secretary Roberto Sa said 250 automatic rifles in all have been confiscated the last five months in the state. Valued at over $1.2 million, he called the latest seizure as "the biggest in 10 years" in the state of Rio.

Authorities said they began investigating arms smuggling in 2015 after tracing the origin of a weapon used in the killing of a military police officer in the São Gonçalo neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro.

The probe unveiled a massive international scheme to buy military grade firearms, investigators said.

"This is a serious blow to these criminal organizations, to this international arms dealer," said Fabricio Oliveira, the head of the Brazilian Bureau of Firearms and Explosives. "Some details of the investigation are being kept confidential, as the investigations continue. This is only the beginning."

Police representatives said they planned to use the seized weapons, noting Rio state is struggling under budgetary constraints. Rio authorities declared a state of public calamity a year ago and have struggled to pay the salaries of the public sector ever since, including police.

The city of Rio de Janeiro, which hosted the 2016 Summer Olympics, has long struggled with violence. Heavily armed drug traffickers control many slums and shootouts are frequent.

Photo Credit: Brazilian Federal Police

Ammonia Leak at Ice Company Closes Street in East Hartford


The 700 block of Tolland Street in East Hartford was closed for part of the day Friday after a valve failure on the compressor in the anhydrous ammonia system for refrigeration at Burnside Ice led to an ammonia leak.

The leak was reported around 10:30 a.m. and crews from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection were called in.

It doesn’t appear anyone has been taken to the hospital, according to officials.

No additional information was available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut,com
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