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Teen Charged in Crash That Killed 5-Month Old


A 17-year-old Manchester girl has been charged in a crash that killed a 5-month-old baby girl and critically injured an 11-month-old child in Manchester in September.

The two-car crash happened at on  Spencer Street at 1:20 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5.

The 17-year-old was charged with second-degree manslaughter and third-degree assault. Her name has not been released because she is a juvenile.

Authorities said neither driver was injured when the cars collided, but the car carrying the young children rolled over, hit a telephone pole.

Both children were properly strapped into car seats and had to be extricated.

The teen turned herself in on Wednesday and will appear in Rockville Juvenile Court.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Woman Accused of Bringing Gun onto Bristol School Grounds


Bristol police have arrested a woman accused of carrying a gun near Bristol Eastern High School, setting off a lockdown and police presence Wednesday afternoon.

Brianna Lee Kowalski, of Queen Street in Bristol, is charged with possession of a weapon on school grounds, carrying a pistol without a permit, loitering on school grounds, breach of peace and carrying a dangerous weapon.

She was also served an outstanding arrest warrant and charged with the sale of prescription drugs and other narcotics, larceny and illegal possession of narcotics.

Kowalski's bond was set at a total of $150,000.

The arrest stems from a police investigation launched Wednesday afternoon. Authorities received the report of a person with a handgun near the high school on King Street and responded to the scene around 3 p.m.

The school was locked down as a precaution. No one was injured and the lockdown was lifted.

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Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Shots Fired in New London Neighborhood


A New London man is facing charges after reportedly firing a gun on Wightman Street early this afternoon.

Anthony Teague, 28, of Willetts Avenue in New London, is accused of firing shots near 25 Wightman Street just after noon today.

Police said no one was injured during the incident.

Teague is charged with criminal possession of a firearm, illegal discharge of a firearm, reckless endangerment and breach of peace.

He’s being held on a $175,000 bond. 

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Photo Credit: New London Police Department

Drivers Trapped in Head-On Collision in Cheshire


Police are responding to a head-on collision at the intersection of Route 10 and Fenn Road in Cheshire.

Authorities said two cars driving in opposite directions slammed into one another head on around 6 p.m. Wenesday.

Emergency responders said both drivers were trapped in their cars following the crash and have been transported to the hospital with unknown injuries.

The intersection was shut down following the crash but emergency workers are clearing the scene.

No additional information was immediately available.

An NBC Connecticut crew is at the scene.

Check back for updates. 

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Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Waterford Phone Scam Offers $5M, New Car


Waterford police are warning residents of a phone scam offering residents $5 million and a new car and asking them to purchase “green dot cards” from Wal-Mart in order to claim their prizes.

According to police, a resident living on Vauxhall Street received calls pertaining to the scam.

Callers identified themselves as Paul Brown from American Sweepstakes; Dave Peterson, who said AAA would deliver the car; Simone McGill from New Britain; and Marion Smith, who told the caller a Bank of America representative would stop by her house.

Every caller instructed the would-be victim to purchase a “green dot card” worth $385 from Wal-Mart.

Police said the resident did not disclose any bank or personal information to the callers.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Waterford police.

Bridgeport Women Arrested for Attempted Carjacking


Two young women from Bridgeport are facing charges after trying to steal a woman’s car while she was driving home from work Tuesday, according to police.

Police said the victim approached an officer parked on Laurel Avenue and told him two strange women had approached her and attempted to steal her car.

The victim said one suspect stepped in front of the car, then opened the driver’s side door and demanded her keys. They were about to get in when they noticed the police cruiser nearby and ran off.

Chanel Thomas-Jones, 20, and Shanique Roberts, 18, both of Bridgeport, were arrested in connection with the incident.

They’re charged with attempted robbery, attempted carjacking and breach of peace.

Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police Department

Bridgeport Police Arrest Suspected Bank Robber


A 54-year-old Bridgeport man is facing charges after reportedly robbing a bank with a flare gun and ordering customers to get down, police said.

According to police, Tyrone King, of Atlantic Street in Bridgeport, entered the Webster Bank at 3546 Main Street just after 9 a.m. Wednesday. The suspects demanded cash and ordered customers to get on the floor. Police said King was armed with an orange flare gun.

The suspects fled in a black Acura, which police located at the intersection of Park and Olive streets. The car was empty when police arrived, but officers spotted King nearby and apprehended him, according to police.

Bank employees arrived at the scene and identified King as one of the robbers, police said.

King was arrested. Officers recovered cash and the flare gun.

It’s not clear whether police have identified a second suspect.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Bridgeport police.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Rocky Hill Considers Armed Guards in Schools


Schools across Connecticut – and across the country – have considered security upgrades since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary last December, and in Rocky Hill, armed guards could be on the way.

It’s one of several measures recommended by a consulting firm the Board of Education hired to address school security. According to the district superintendent, the school system is also considering an upgrade to electronic surveillance and may implement a keyless entry system to protect against intruders and unwelcome guests.

Michael Chiapetta, whose daughter attends Rocky Hill High School, says he worries about her safety every day and would be reassured by the presence of armed guards.

“You never know what could happen, especially nowadays,” Chiapetta said. “I think the best thing you can do is try to prepare.”

Some students, however, don’t seem to be sold on the idea attending class among of armed guards.

“I think it’s out of place in the school system,” said one high school student.

Nevertheless, it could soon become a reality.

Rocky Hill has been approved for a state grant that would cover at least a portion of the security upgrade expenses.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Mother Speaks Out About Losing Infant Daughter After Deadly Crash


Kassandra Nunez lost her infant daughter in a car accident in September.  She wants justice for her child and for the first time she is sharing her her devastating story about the loss of her baby and what she thinks about the driver.

The accident happened at the intersection of Spencer Street and Hillstown road on September 5, 2013.

Police said a car was headed north on Hillstown Road and collided with another vehicle. The car carrying Kassandra and her daughter rolled over and hit a telephone pole.

Police arrested the teenage driver accused of causing the crash and killing Nunez's 5-month-old daughter on Wednesday after she turned herself in.  The teen is set to appear in Rockville Juvenile Court.

"I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy, it's not a good feeling," Nunez said.

The heartbroken mother said she was in the passengers seat  when the 17-year-old driver ran a red light and slammed into her SUV. Aubrey in the backseat.

Investigators said there's no indication the teen was on a cell phone or under the influence.

Nunez's sister was behind the wheel of the SUV. Her 11-month-old son was also in the back seat and suffered a serious head injury from the impact.

Both women want the driver held accountable.

"She should face some jail time, she did kill a baby," Shayla Nunez said.

Police are not releasing the 17-year-old's name because of her age.

The teen is charged with manslaughter and assault.

According to Investigators, the children were in car seats and properly secured.







Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

DEA Accused of Cartel Deal


Federal court documents reveal a member of the Sinaloa cartel accused the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) of entering into a secret deal to obtain information about rival cartels.

Jesus Vincente Zambada-Niebla, the son of cartel leader Ismael Zambada-Garcia, was charged in an indictment involving conspiracy to import and distribute cocaine and heroin. Zambada-Niebla claimed, “…the cartel would supply information about rival cartel leaders and their associates to the Government in return for carte blanche for the Sinaloa Cartel to continue their narcotics trafficking business in the United States and Mexico without interference."

Criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor John Kirby told NBC 7, “In my experience, it has happened where the agent develops a relationship with someone and says, ‘Okay don't worry you're not going to be prosecuted.’”

Kirby says DEA agents have informants who are members of drug cartels, but he does not believe the DEA or the U.S. government would offer full immunity to the entire cartel.

“It's to some extent unthinkable the DEA would say, okay Sinaloa cartel you can move all the drugs you want and we're not going to arrest anyone as long as you give us information on a rival gang. That's just not going to happen,” Kirby said.

NBC 7 reached out to the DEA and received this response:

Law enforcement meets with potential informants regarding building drug investigations. The idea we are able to offer immunity or permission to continue drug trafficking is simply not true.

Court documents obtained by NBC 7 also revealed "...the only support offered by Zambada to shore up these allegations is a declaration by Fernando X. Gaxiola...Gaxiola is an attorney who represents Zambada."

The documents go on to show government officials admitted there was an agreement, but said it did not involve promises of immunity. The judge in the case denied Zambada's request to dismiss his indictment.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

2 Dead Marines to Be Honored


Two U.S. Marines credited for saving the lives of their fellow comrades will be posthumously awarded the Navy Cross this weekend for their heroic actions while deployed in Afghanistan.

During a ceremony at 1st MSOB Headquarters in Camp Pendleton Saturday, the posthumous honor will be received by the families of the Marines killed in action: Staff Sgt. R. Mote and Capt. Matthew P. Manoukian.

Both men were from 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion and died on duty in Afghanistan in 2012. Manoukian, a team commander, was from Los Altos Hills, Calif., while Mote, an explosive ordnance disposal technician, hailed from El Dorado, Calif.

According to Navy officials, the men were both assigned to 1st MSOB, Marine Special Operations Regiment, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) in support of Operation Enduring Freedom when they came under intense enemy fire from an Afghan uniformed police officer attacking from inside the perimeter of their tactical operations center.

They were both on Marine Special Operations Team 8133 at the time of the enemy attack.

Navy officials said Mote was gravely wounded during the initial attack. He then exposed himself to a hail of gunfire in an effort to draw attention away from his fellow Marines, halting the shooter’s pursuit of his comrades. Mote continued fighting off the enemy, getting very close to the shooter, until he received mortal wounds and died in combat.

Navy officials said Mote’s courageous, selfless actions enabled his teammates to escape and ultimately forced the enemy to withdraw.

Meanwhile, Navy officials said Manoukian was working in the operations center when the attack began.

As shots from the enemy’s AK-47 ripped through the walls of the operations room, Navy officials said Manoukian commanded his Marines to move to safety as he exposed himself to fire and engaged the enemy.

Manoukian’s actions disrupted the enemy’s pursuit of his comrades and saved their lives. Outgunned, Manoukian was fatally wounded in action.

At the upcoming ceremony, the Navy Cross will be awarded to the late Marines by Major Gen. Mark A. Clark, the commanding general of Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command.

Their posthumous Navy Cross honors will go down in history, as Mote and Manoukian become the third and fourth Marines in MARSOC’s seven-year history to be awarded the extremely prestigious award.

The men will also become the 15th and 16th Marines to receive the award for Operation Enduring Freedom.

Navy officials said the Navy Cross is the second highest valor award, second to the Medal of Honor and must be approved by the Secretary of the Navy before being awarded.

Ed. Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated how many Marines have received the honor of the Navy Cross. The article has been corrected and we regret the error.

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy

Hospital Sees Huge Increase in Flu Cases


Connecticut flu cases are on the rise, and Hartford Hospital workers said the emergency room has seen a record number of patients this week.

Connecticut is one of 25 states around the country in which the flu is considered to be widespread, as shown on the CDC website.

Two Connecticut residents have died and more than 200 have been hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state Dept. of Public Health.

In fact, a spokesperson for Hartford Hospital said the emergency room saw a record-breaking 374 patients on Monday alone, many of whom suffered viral illnesses.

Hospital officials said this is 100 patients more than the daily average and broke the previous record by 34.

Flu cases have been reported in all eight counties, and two people over the age of 45 have died as a result, the DPH reports. A total of 1,029 cases have been reported so far this season, and the flu is continuing to spread.

Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches and fatigue.

Adults ages 65 and older, pregnant women and young children are at particular risk, as are people with certain health conditions, including asthma, heart disease and blood disorders, among others, according to the CDC.

The CDC recommends vaccines to everyone over the age 6 months, even those whom have already contracted the flu this season.

Find out where to get the flu vaccine here.

For more information, visit the CDC or the DPH websites.

Photo Credit: CDC

WATCH: Hearing on Obamacare Site Security

Tobacco Thieves Strike in Higganum


Two men stole cash and a bag full of cigarette cartons and tobacco products from a gas station convenience store in Higganum and state police are asking for help to find the men involved.

The tobacco theft happened at the Pit Stop Sunoco Gas Station at 1016 Route 81 around 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday, according to state police.

The men forced the front door of the building open and stole cash, several cartons of cigarettes and other tobacco products, then carted them out in a large blue plastic tote bag, police said.

Both men were wearing dark pants and black leather jackets with hoods.

One man was wearing black Nike sneakers with a white Nike symbol on the sides.
They were driving a two-door sedan that was tan or gray.

The Resident State Trooper’s office is working with investigators from Troop F.

Police said the investigation has produced several leads. 

Troopers ask anyone who has any information about the robbers to call state police at 860 345-2769 or 860 399-2100. All calls will be kept confidential.


Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Oscar Noms: "Hustle," "Gravity"


Actor Chris Hemsworth and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced the nominees for the 86th Annual Academy Awards early Thursday morning, and as expected "American Hustle," "Gravity" and "12 Years a Slave" led the pack.

"Hustle" and "Gravity" each have 10 nominations, while "12 Years" followed closely with nine.

There was no love for "Lee Daniels' The Butler" or its stars, including Oprah Winfrey, with the Academy shutting out the civil rights biopic completely. There was also little or no Oscar love for Disney's "Saving Mr. Banks," the Coen Brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis," and "Fruitvale Station."

Nine out of a possible 10 best picture nominations were revealed, with the field consisting of "American Hustle," "Captain Phillips," "Dallas Buyers Club," "Gravity," "Her," "Nebraska," "Philomena," "12 Years a Slave" and "The Wolf of Wall Street."

Full list of Academy Award nominations

Matthew McConaughey took home the Golden Globe for best actor Sunday night, and finds himself among a field of Hollywood's elite once again in the quest for Oscar. If precedence has any bearing here, McConaughey's drastic weight loss for the 80s era AIDS drama should serve him well: extreme dieting worked in 1994 for Tom Hanks in "Philadelphia," and Robert De Nero in 1981's "Raging Bull" 

Bruce Dern of "Nebraska," Leonardo DiCaprio of "The Wolf of Wall Street" and Chiwetel Ejiofor of "12 Years a Slave" also scored nominations. One surprise addition to the list is Christian Bale, for his role in "American Hustle." Bale took the berth expected to go to Hanks for "Captain Phillips." Robert Redford was expected to be nominated for "All Is Lost," but also failed to hear his name announced. Redford has never won an Academy Award.

There were no surprises in the best actress competition, with the Academy sticking to a roster of names already featured prominently in recent award races. Globe winner Cate Blanchett ("Blue Jasmine") is up against Meryl Streep ("August: Osage County"), Amy Adams ("American Hustle"), Judi Dench ("Philomena") and Sandra Bullock ("Gravity").  "Saving Mr. Bank's" Emma Thompson did not make the cut.

Oprah Winfrey is a powerful force in entertainment and her performance in "Lee Daniels' The Butler" received wide acclaim. But it wasn't enough to land her in the supporting actress category in place of  Sally Hawkins ("Blue Jasmine''), Jennifer Lawrence ("American Hustle"), Lupita Nyong'o ("12 Years a Slave"), Julia Roberts ("August: Osage County") and June Squibb ("Nebraska"), all of whom heard their name revealed Thursday.

Barkhad Abdi ("Captain Phillips"), Bradley Cooper ("American Hustle"), Michael Fassbender ("12 Years a Slave") and Jared Leto ("Dallas Buyers Club") make up the supporting actor list of nominees, with Jonah Hill of "The Wolf of Wall Street" taking the final spot instead of previous contenders from recent award ceremonies Daniel Bruhl ("Rush") and Will Forte ("Nebraska").

Every director named to that category saw their respective films make the list of best picture nominees. David O. Russell ("American Hustle"), Alfonso Cuaron ("Gravity"), Alexander Payne ("Nebraska"), Steve McQueen ("12 Years a Slave") and Martin Scorsese ("The Wolf of Wall Street") make up the directorial field. Considered contenders but ultimately shut out were Spike Jonze ("Her") and Woody Allen ("Blue Jasmine").

Hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, the 86th Annual Academy Awards air live on Sunday Mar. 2 on ABC.

Applications to UConn Up 10 Percent


The number of high school students applying to UConn is up 10 percent since last year, the school said in a statement on Thursday morning.

“Nothing speaks more loudly about the academic reputation, attractiveness, and value of a university like a huge rise in applications,” UConn President Susan Herbst said in a statement. “It is a widespread recognition of the excellence of our faculty, our student experience, and our alumni.

The school said the applicant pool is more diverse than previous years and applicants also higher average SAT scores.
More than 29,500 students have applied as of Wednesday, which was the due date. The numbers have more than doubled since 2001, when the University received about 13,600 applications.

The average SAT score is 12 points higher than last year and the number of minority applicants has increased by 16 percent.
UConn expects to admit around 3,550 students to the freshman class and to begin notifying applicants on March 1.

UConn officials said the jump in UConn applications defies national and regional trends of declining applications.
“We are grateful, daily, for the investment by our governor, legislature, and the many donors who make this such an attractive institution to students in Connecticut and around the globe,” Herbst said.

UConn will continue to accept applications for regional campuses at Avery Point, Greater Hartford, Stamford, Torrington and Waterbury until July 1.

Nathan Fuerst, UConn’s director of admissions, said he and others in his office also receive emails from applicants who want to update them on new honors they’ve received or to reinforce how eager they are to come to UConn if accepted.

“Anecdotally, I do see an uptick this year in the number of those emails, and it’s always gratifying to hear how excited they are and how deeply they feel about UConn as the right place for them,” he said.


Campfire May Have Sparked CA Blaze


An out-of-control campfire might have started a 1,700-acre brush fire that destroyed two homes as it raced down a hillside and cast wind-blown embers into a foothill community south of Southern California's Angeles National Forest.

Read: Evacuation Information

Three men were arrested in connection with the fire, which forced evacuations involving about 1,000 homes as firefighters on the ground and in the air continue the attack in Glendora, a San Gabriel Valley city located about 30 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles. The Colby Fire, reported at about 6 a.m., quickly grew to 1,700 acres and sent thick smoke that could be seen throughout the Los Angeles region.

Images: Angeles Forest Fire | Send Viewer Images to isee@nbcla.com

Embers blown by 30-mph wind gusts into a neighborhood set palm trees ablaze like matchsticks and sparked several small spot fires.

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Wes Purkiss and his family evacuated early Thursday. He saw thick, black smoke coming from near his home above Sierra Madre Avenue.

"I can't see my house, but there's some black smoke rising from my house or (the) house across the street," said Purkiss, who has resided in the house for 30 years. "There's nobody up there now."

The fire was estimated at 30 acres at about 6 a.m. before growing to 125 acres by 7:45 a.m. At 9 a.m., fire officials estimated the acreage at 200 before the fire exploded to 1,700 at 10 a.m.

Watch: Homeowner Wakes to Brush Fire Outside House

"It was growing pretty rapidly," said Jim Tomaselli, U.S. Forest Service. "The fire was initially inaccessible to our engines, it wasn't up against a road."

One person suffered minor burns, according to fire officials.

The fire might have started with an out-of-control campfire, according to Glendora police.

The U.S. Forest Service detained one person near the origin of the fire, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Glendora police arrested two other people after a 911 caller reported "suspicious" activity in the area after the start of the fire.

More Coverage: California Wildfires | Aerial Video: Embers Light Trees on Fire

The men were booked on suspicion of recklessly starting a fire, said Glendora Police Chief Tim Staab. They were identified as 20-year-old Clifford Henry, of Glendora; 23-year-old Jonathan Jarrell, of Irwindale; and 21-year-old Steven Aguirre, whose most recent residence is listed as Los Angeles.

"They are being cooperative," said Staab. "One reported that they started a camp fire and the wind picked up."

The suspects are being held on $20,000 bond each.

Firefighters Save "Hundreds, If Not Thousands, of Homes"

One resident told NBC4 the wind-blown embers were "torching everything they touch," including parts of houses and the dry fronds of palm trees.

"As the fire moved down the hill, it set the patio cover on fire, but the neighbors got out there with hoses and put that out," said resident Lois Sparking. "There's unburned ground above it, so apparently that was from embers."

The fire burned amid thick, dry brush during a stretch of hot, dry and windy weather in Southern California. By Thursday afternoon, calm winds appeared to push the fire away from residential areas and into the forest. 

Members of Glendora Seventh-Day Adventist Church also fought flames with garden hoses. A palm tree on the property burned, but no structural damage was reported.

Red Flag fire weather warnings are in effect through Friday. The warnings include increased staffing levels for fire agencies and pre-deployment of firefighting resources in the warning area.

"Due to the dry vegetation and summer-like conditions we've had, our department was over-staffed today," said LA County Fire Chief Daryl Osby. "Because of that preparation, we were able to save hundreds, if not thousands, of homes."

The warnings come after the driest year on record in California and what could be the driest January in the state. The all-time low rainfall record in January occurred in 1984, when just 0.3 inches of rain fell across California.

The firefighting arsenal includes SuperScooper air tankers, water-dropping helicopters and at least 700 personnel.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered for the area south of the fire and east to Azusa. Aerial video showed residents, some carrying pets, running to vehicles and leaving the neighborhood through thick smoke that could be see throughout Southern California.

WSJ Reporter Goes Missing


Hundreds of people are searching for a missing 55-year-old Wall Street Journal reporter who left his New Jersey home for a walk on Saturday and never came back.

Sources close to the family told NBC News Thursday that the missing man's credit card was used in Mexico Wednesday night. The family believes that his coverage of OPEC may be related to his disappearance.

The Journal said 55-year-old David Bird covers energy markets for the paper. He has also worked for The Associated Press and the Trenton Times.

Bird was last seen wearing a red jacket, jeans and sneakers, and left his home without his phone "for a short walk," according to the Journal.

He and his wife had been putting away Christmas decorations in the afternoon when he said he wanted to get out for a quick walk, the Journal said. Bird's wife called police two hours after he left the house. 

Authorities say the father of two regularly hikes the trails along Hick's Tract in Millington. Hundreds of volunteers on foot, helicopter and horseback have been searching the woods in that area. The Morris County dive team is also searching nearby waterways. 

"It's a miserable job but somebody's got to do it and somebody's got to get this guy so his family can have some closure," said volunteer Tyler Sims of Boonton, N.J.

"I'll be out here all night if they ask me to," he added. 

Logan Hill Township Police Chief Michael Mazzeo said: "We're going to stay optimistic because we have no received any information that would show us anything otherwise." 

Bird's sister-in-law said the family could not make sense of his disappearance. 

"It's completely not like David," Chris Fleming told NBC News. "He's a very loving family man. Worked in the city, Boy Scout leader. Everything, it just makes no sense." 

The Journal said Bird ran the 2013 New York City marathon and is an avid hiker and camper.

"This is so unlike him it's unbelievable to me," Jim Caparoso, a friend, told the newspaper. "If he was stuck somewhere, he knows how to shelter himself enough out of the elements. He knows how to signal if he can."

Gerard Baker, managing editor of the Journal, said, "our thoughts are with his family and we are working with the Long Hill Township Police Department as they continue their search."

-- Gus Rosendale contributed to this report. 

Photo Credit: Handout

I-84 Reopens in Waterbury After Truck Fire


The eastbound lanes of I-84 were shut down in Waterbury due to a tractor trailer fire just before noon on Thursday.

It happened by exit 25A, according to state police.

The highway reopened around 12:30 p.m.


Photo Credit: Jim Tata

Disabled Train, Power Problems Cause Metro-North Delays


If you are traveling on Metro-North’s New Haven Line, expect delays of up to 10 minutes because of a disabled train and power problems near Bridgeport.

Metro-North warns that customers should expect combined trains and crowded conditions.

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