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Crash Closes Route 169 in Canterbury


Route 169 in Canterbury is closed by North Society Road after a car hit a pole, according to the state Department of Transportation.

The road could be closed for up to eight hours.

No injuries are reported.

Photo Credit: Google Maps

Fire Reported on East Street in New Britain


Firefighters are responding to a fire on East Street in New Britain near Central Connecticut State University.

No additional information was immediately available.

Lock-In Lifted in Milford


Harborside Middle School and Lauralton Hall in Milford were on “lock in” after someone police were trying to serve warrants to fled in the area, police said. That lock down has since been lifted.

Officers spotted someone with outstanding warrants in the general area of the two schools and tried to take that person into custody, police said.

Harborside Middle School is located at 175 High Street and Lauralton Hall, a Catholic school for girls, is located at 200 High Street.

The lock-in was issued as a precaution.

Police believe the man has fled the area.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

NYC Mayor Drops Stop-Frisk Appeal


Mayor de Blasio delivered on his promise to reform stop-and-frisk police tactics Thursday, requesting to drop an appeal of a federal judge's order requiring reforms and reaching a deal that was praised by those who sued the city over discrimination claims.

Lawyers for de Blasio asked the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court to send an appeal to the lower court "for the purpose of exploring a full resolution."

"The City of New York will officially drop its reform in this case," de Blasio said. "This will be one city where everyone rises together, where everyone's rights are protected."

Lawyers for the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has represented plaintiffs in the court actions, said the deal calls for a monitor to oversee reforms for three years. The monitor will oversee a process in which those communities most affected by the stop-and-frisk tactics will provide input into reforms.

"Today is the beginning of a long-overdue process: the reform of the NYPD to end illegal and racially discriminatory policing," said Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

"For too long, communities of color have felt under siege by the police, and young Black and Latino men have disproportionately been the target," he said in a news release. "We are eager to finally begin creating real change."

Attorney Darius Charney said the center looks "forward to working with the communities directly affected on the streets every day to come up with solutions that protect the rights of all New Yorkers."

A judge ruled last year that the NYPD had discriminated against blacks and Latinos when stopping, questioning and sometimes frisking people on the street. The judge ordered major reforms to the department's implementation of the policy.

Then-Mayor Bloomberg appealed the decision. But de Blasio, who took office at the beginning of the year, is now seeking to drop the appeal.

Bloomberg was a staunch advocate of the policy and his administration appealed the decision. Stops had soared under his 12-year tenure to more than 5 million in the past decade, mostly of black and Hispanic men. About 10 percent of the stops result in arrests or summonses, and weapons were found about 2 percent of the time.

Four men sued the department in 2008, saying they were unfairly targeted because of their race. U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin presided over a 10-week bench trial in which she heard testimony from a dozen New Yorkers who said they were wrongly stopped. She agreed and imposed a court-appointed monitor to oversee reforms, but her ruling has been on hold pending the appeal.

The federal appeals court also took the unusual step of removing Scheindlin from the case, saying she misapplied a related ruling that allowed her to accept it to begin with and had inappropriately spoken publicly about the case.

Plaintiffs' attorney Jonathan Moore said the city's decision to drop the appeal "vindicates the findings by Judge Scheindlin and provides the opportunity for the NYPD to reform policies and practices that the district court found unconstitutional."

De Blasio and his new police commissioner, Bill Bratton, have said the policy has created a rift among New Yorkers who don't trust police, and it's made morale low for officers who should be praised for stellar efforts reducing crime to record lows.

The stop-and-frisk tactic itself was not ruled unconstitutional; rather the way the department was using it violated civil rights, the judge said.

Photo Credit: AP

Crash Closes Route 42 in Cheshire


A van rollover closed Bethany Mountain Road in Cheshire Thursday morning.

The road, also known as Route 42, was closed from Inverness Road in Cheshire to Candy Lane in Prospect, according to police.

The van's driver had to be extricated, but suffered non-life threatening injuries, police said.

It's the second accident police responded to in the same area on Thursday morning. Water runoff from a hill froze on the road, creating a slick condition, according to police. State Department of Transportation crews were called to treat the road.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Car Under Truck on I-95 in Stratford


One person is hospitalized after a rollover with a vehicle under a tractor-trailer on Interstate 95 South in Stratford this morning.

The crash happened near exit 31 and a Facebook post from the fire department union says one person was able to get out of the car by him or herself.

One lane was getting by, but an alert from the state Department of Transportation said there was congestion for 1.3 miles because of the crash.



Photo Credit: Stratford CT, Fire Department Local 998

Police Investigate Armed Robbery in Bristol


Police are investigating an armed robbery on Wolcott Street in Bristol this morning.

Police said a man entered the store at 104 Wolcott Street at 11:45 a.m., said he had a gun and demanded money, then fled the scene, police said.

The robber is described as around 6-feet-tall. He was wearing a black knit cap, dark jacket, dark pants and gray sneakers.

No injuries are reported.

Anyone with information about the incident is being asked to call Bristol Police at (860) 584-3011.


Children Found in Filthy Conditions, Parents Arrested


New Britain police have arrested a mom and dad after finding their young children living in filth, police said.

Police made the arrests after responding to a domestic incident at 408 East Street in New Britain just before 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

Police did not find cause to make any arrests for the domestic incident, but found the house in deplorable conditions, police said.

A 2-year-old girl and her 4-month-old sister live in the home, which had trash and rotten food all over the place, police said, as well as animal fecal matter and urine on the floors.

There was no heat and the couple was using an oven to heat the home.

Pipes were broken and water couldn’t be turned off, police said.

The children were healthy, police said, but officials deemed the home uninhabitable.

Utility companies were called out to shut off the electricity and the gas and officials called the state Department of Children and Families.

It is not clear where the children are now.

Police have charged Christopher Rogers, 20, and Tawana Edwards, 23, have been charged with two counts of risk of injuries to minors.

Edwards is the mother of both children while Rogers is the father of one of the girls.

Edwards has been arraigned and was released on a promise to appear and is due back in court on Feb. 26.

Neither has entered a pleas.

Photo Credit: New Britain Police

1 Hospitalized After Trailer Park Fire in Clinton


One person was taken to the hospital after a trailer park fire in Clinton.

Officials have no released any additional information.

Bicyclist Struck in Hartford


A man on a bike collided with a bus near Gold and Main streets in Hartford and an ambulance transported him to the hospital. 

A fire truck is also at the scene.

No additional information was immediately available.   

Parents of Baby Allegedly Killed by Sitter Arrested


The parents of a 19-month-old Connecticut boy who died while in the care of his 27-year-old baby sitter have been charged with risk of injury to a minor.

The arrest comes days after police arrested the 27-year-old babysitter, Kinjal Patel, and charged her with manslaughter.

Police responded to a risk of injury complaint at the Yale–New Haven Hospital Pediatric Emergency Department at 9:26 p.m. on January 16.

The little boy’s skull was severely fractured, police said.

Doctors told police that as the boy, Athiyan Sivakumar, was rushed to surgery his injuries were life-threatening.

The little boy's parents, Thenmozhi Rajendran, 24, and Sivakumar Mani, said their son was having breathing problems and would not open his eyes, police said.

When Rajendran spoke with detectives, she initially said she was a stay-at-home mother and was watching her son alone on Jan. 16 while her husband was at work.

When she heard her son breathing abnormally and he would not open her eyes, she called her husband at work, so he came home and they drove to the hospital, according to court records.

When police spoke an investigator from the state Department of Children and Families the next day, she said she responded to the hospital in December when the hospital reported suspicious injuries to the child. On Dec. 24, the baby was in a Patel’s care and suffered cuts to the inside of the mouth and tongue and his chin was bruised, police said.

This information came as the baby’s condition worsened. On Jan. 17, he was in critical condition with a skull base fracture and internal brain bleeding, police said. He died two days later, at 1:31 p.m. on Jan. 19, according to police.

An autopsy was performed on Jan. 21 and the medical examiner determined that the baby was a homicide victim. The cause of death was blunt force trauma with multiple sites of impact.

Police again spoke with Rajendran, and she maintained that she was at home with the baby while her husband was at work.

At first, she said her son woke up around 9 a.m. on Jan. 16. She fed him an hour later, her husband came home for lunch from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and she set the baby down for a nap at 2 p.m., according to court documents. 

As she cooked in the kitchen, her son’s breathing became abnormal, she said. Then she changed her story and said her son was standing on the arm of the couch and fell reaching for the door, police said.

She said she cradled him to sleep, felt a bump on his head and he slept for two hours, then started breathing abnormally. 

She didn’t know much about calling 911 so she called her husband, police said, and told officers she lied to them because she was scared and doesn’t know anything about this in this country.

During a taped statement, Rajendran told police the last time she and her husband allowed Patel to babysit their son was Dec. 24.

On Jan. 22, police spoke with Patel, who said she’s only babysat the child on Dec. 24 and he fell off his toy car and injured his lip, according to court documents.

A DCF investigator would later tell police that DCF met with Rajendran and Mani on Dec. 24 about the child’s unexplained injuries while under Patel’s care. During that meeting, there was an agreement reached where the parents would not send the boy to Patel or any babysitter until DCF could assess the person. .
Mani told police he would try to find a daycare. When DCF checked in with the family a week later, they said they had not brought the baby back to Patel or her boyfriend to watch.
During an interview with police on Jan. 23 Patel admitted to babysitting the little boy four to five times per week since August 2013, including from 1:30 p.m. to around 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 16, according to police. 

She said the baby fell asleep as soon as he got to her house and woke up suddenly, shaking, around 5 p.m. and called the father.

Mani told her “don’t say anything,” Patel said.

She went on to admit to police that she lied about the baby being asleep and claimed that he slipped on the wet kitchen floor and fell backwards.   

On Jan. 24, she gave police a statement admitting to causing the child’s injuries on Jan. 16, according to police.

She went on to say that the baby’s father told her not to tell anyone about her babysitting the child and she did not want him to get in trouble, so she lied to police, according to police.

During interviews with police Patel allegedly told them she became angry with the child while babysitting him on Jan. 16, then forced him to the floor, where he hit his head and started to cry and convulse, according to a news release from police.. The incident happened at Patel's home on Middletown Avenue in New Haven, according to police. She has been charged with manslaughter.

Patel told officers she called the child’s father to tell him his child was injured. He came home then took his son to the hospital.

Police said officers responded to the child's home on Weybosset Street and secured it as the potential crime scene.

Patel has been arrested and charged with manslaughter in the first degree and risk of injury to a child.

Rajendran and Mani, 33, were arraigned today and are being held on $25,000 bond. They are due back in court on Feb. 18.


Photo Credit: New Haven Police

Pot Lab Found in Home's Pool: Cops


Three people were arrested after Miami-Dade Police discovered a large scale marijuana grow operation at the base of a concrete-sealed pool complete with a hidden, underground tunnel.

The discovery was made Jan. 23 at the home at 30121 Southwest 147th Court when detectives approached a vehicle that was stopped outside and smelled a strong odor of marijuana and saw several bags of marijuana inside, Miami-Dade Police said Thursday.

After the driver of the car made contact with the homeowner, detectives received consent to search the house. Once inside, the detectives noticed a strong odor of marijuana in one of the rooms, police said.

In the room, detectives discovered a hatch that gave access to an underground crawl space that led to a fully operational hydroponics lab at the base of the home's pool, which was sealed by a concrete slab, police said.

A total of 82 live marijuana plants and five pounds of processed marijuana were found in the lab, police said.

"These criminals think outside the box in order to make a quick buck," said Alvaro Zabaleta, police spokesman.

Valexy Quintero-Consuegra, 37, Marley Torres-Denis, 27, and homeowner Eddy Pelaez-Ramirez, were arrested and charged accordingly, police said.

Quintero-Consuegra and Pelaez-Ramirez were charged with marijuana trafficking, conspiracy to traffic in marijuana, possession of a place to manufacture a controlled substance and grand theft, according to Miami-Dade Police reports. Torres-Denis was charged with marijuana possession. It was unknown whether they have attorneys.

"Who knows how long they have been functioning. They could have done this for years," said Zabaleta.

Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Police

Driver Testifies in Murder Trial


A drug and alcohol counselor who allegedly drove two miles through Los Angeles with a dying man on her windshield said in court Wednesday that she doesn’t remember hitting him.

Sherri Lynn Wilkins testified in her murder trial that the man she's accused of killing, 31-year-old Phillip Moreno, seemed to fly onto her car in the 2012 crash in Torrance, but the events were a surreal blur.

"God-Awful" Stench: Snake Hoarder Arrested for Cruelty

"It was a flash, " Wilkins said. "I pretty much felt him landing on my window. To me, it felt like he came from the sky."

Wilkins is charged with one count each of murder, DUI causing injury, driving with a .08 percent or higher blood-alcohol content causing injury and leaving the scene of an accident.

Authorities allege that she drove two miles with Moreno embedded in the windshield of her Mitsubishi Eclipse before another motorist directed her to pull over.

Wilkins, a former addict, wept and said she'd consumed three airplane-size bottles of vodka, a can of Budweiser beer and Clamato before starting to drive. She said she had been "self-medicating" while waiting for knee-replacement surgery.

Moreno was struck so hard that he flipped onto Wilkins’ car and punched a hole through the windshield. Witnesses stopped Wilkins near Crenshaw Boulevard and 182nd Street, police said. Moreno died at a hospital.

WATCH: High School Basketball Player Makes Miracle Shot

Moreno's family said one of the witnesses reached into the vehicle and removed the keys from the ignition. His family described the witnesses as "angels" for attempting to help.

Wilkins said in court that she kept driving because she panicked.

"I was very scared," she said. "I kind of froze."

Counselor Faces DUI, Manslaughter Charges

Wilkins was charged in 2010 with DUI and leaving the scene of a crash that caused damage to either property or a vehicle, according to online court records. The charges were dismissed in 2011, records show.

She has two prior convictions for burglary, according to court records.

Drug Counselor Pleads Not Guilty in Hit-and-Run

The CEO of Twin Town Treatment Center, where Wilkins works, said she cleared a background check and received positive reviews from patients.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Crash Just Inches From Sleeping Tot


A Lakeside man is grateful his family is alive after a car crashed into his home leaving a hole in the wall of his son’s bedroom, just inches from the crib where the child was sleeping.

“It’s a lot to take in,” said James Williams who appeared to be in shock holding his five-month-old son moments after the crash.

“Even when the emergency crew showed up, when they saw the condition that the room was in, they were even surprised that Conhur was okay because of the damage that was inside the house,” Williams said.

James and his son's mother, Laurie Maston, were awakened just after 2 a.m. by a large crash when a Scion rammed the side of their home on Los Coches Road.

“All I heard was screams,” said Williams, who said he came outside to see the driver lying on the ground, hysterical.

The car pushed the crib a little out of the way and toppled a dresser, but the baby was unharmed.

Images: Car Comes Within Inches of Crib

“His mother was more shaken up than he was,” Williams said.

Maston was asleep in a bed on the other side of the room from the crib. She told NBC 7 she jumped up and immediately grabbed her baby.

“I wake up to a big crash and a car horn and go to grab baby out of crib,” she said. “There’s stuff everywhere and it just, wow, totally scares you.”

The car was damaged and the woman behind the wheel was transported to Grossmont Hospital with cuts on her hand.

The California Highway Patrol said the woman driving the Scion was speeding when she plowed through a fence and straight into the home.

Waxman to Retire


Rep. Henry Waxman announced Thursday that he will not seek re-election after 40 years in office.

Waxman made the announcement in a statement issued Thursday morning. Waxman, whose first campaign was in 1974, said he plans to retire at the end of 2014.

"As I reflect on my career, I am filled with gratitude," the Democrat said in the statement. "I am grateful for the support of my constituents, who have entrusted me to represent them and encouraged me to become a leader on national and international issues. 

"I am grateful for my supporters and allies, who have worked side-by-side with me to fight for issues we care about:  health, environmental protection, women's and gay rights, and strengthening the ties between the United States and our most important ally, the State of Israel."

Waxman represents California's newly drawn 33rd Congressional District, which includes western Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills. He also served six years in the California State Assembly. 

Waxman went on to list what he does not like about the political climate in Congress, adding that his decision to leave was not out of frustration.

"I abhor the extremism of the Tea Party Republicans," Waxman said. "I am embarrassed that the greatest legislative body in the world too often operates in a partisan intellectual vacuum, denying science, refusing to listen to experts, and ignoring facts.

"The reason for my decision is simple. After 40 years in Congress, it's time for someone else to have the chance to make his or her mark, ideally someone who is young enough to make the long-term commitment that's required for real legislative success.  I still feel youthful and energetic, but I recognize if I want to experience a life outside of Congress, I need to start soon.  Public office is not the only way to serve, and I want to explore other avenues while I still can."

Waxman pushed for investigations into the tobacco industry and was instrumental in getting President Barack Obama's health care overhaul completed.

His upcoming departure and that of Congressman George Miller, who represents Contra Costa County, will leave California without two of its most senior members. Both men took office in January 1975.


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Two Students Arrested After Middletown High Incident


Two students have been arrested after a report of a possible weapon at Middletown High School this morning.

Police responded to Middletown High School at 7:50 a.m. to investigate a complaint that a student had a pistol on the school campus. Police searched the school and found no weapon.

A student was talking to another student and referenced a weapon, according to Lt. Heather Desmond, the public information officer for the Middletown Police Department.

No gun was shown and no one reported seeing one, police said.

As a precaution, Middletown High School and Keigwin Middle School were placed in a modified lockdown. The perimeter was secured, no one was allowed in or out and an alert went out to parents.

The Middletown Board of Education and the Middletown Police Department held a joint news conference in the community room at 10:30 a.m. and said two high school age students were arrested. The charges have not bee released.

Middletown Mayor Dan Drew said no students at either school were in danger.

Desmond said the students were detained quickly and they are speaking with five students. 

Police said the incident has been resolved, any threat has been alleviated and the lockdown has been lifted, police said. 


 The superintendent said the school day is resuming as normal, with no cancellation.

Suspicious Device Left At Dog Store


The Stamford, Conn. police bomb squad responded to a puppy store Thursday morning, after a suspicious man wearing red lipstick that extended to his cheeks, like The Joker from Batman, placed a cell phone with a “suspicious external device attached” on the store counter, then drove away, according to Norwalk Police.

Authorities evacuated Puppies of Westport and surrounding businesses as a safety precaution. Bomb squad technicians investigated the suspicious device and determined it did not contain any explosives—it was an extra phone battery.

Police said the suspicious man entered the store through an unlocked entrance prior to the 11 a.m. opening of the puppy store. The man in his 20s placed the phone down then had a conversation with a store employee. The man asked if the store had any rescue dogs, then walked out and drove away in a burgundy-colored vehicle.

The man has not been identified and Norwalk police said in a statement Thursday they “hope to speak with [the] man involved, and return his phone."

Photo Credit: Courtesy Puppies of Westport

Company Apologizes for Using Sandy Hook Photo in Ad


A security company has apologized for using a crime scene photo from inside Sandy Hook Elementary School as part of an advertisement.

The company, Commercial Window Shield, emailed the ad to towns earlier this week.

It included a picture of a window at the front entrance of Sandy Hook that had been shattered by gunfire. The email said Commercial Window Shield's shatter-resistant window film could help keep out unwanted intruders.

“I didn't even start reading the article, I just stopped right there and said 'this is what is wrong with this country,'” said Monroe First Selectman Steve Vavrek. “This company wanted to sell safety glass. This company has sold safety glass to other people in Connecticut. I just think it's the wrong thing to do to profit off a crime like this and show pictures of it."

Monroe, a town neighboring Newtown, opened up one of its schools to the students of Sandy Hook, who continue to attend classes there until a new Sandy Hook Elementary School is built.

Vavrek and Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra sent emails to the company expressing their disgust.

“What I wrote to them was basically that this was insensitive. I think they owe the people of Newtown an apology for using this crime to build their business,” said Vavrek.

The company issued an apology to Llodra via email on Wednesday.

"As you may know, we sent out an email yesterday regarding the installation of security window film. Although it was not our intention, we understand that the email was insensitive and disrespectful. Our intention was not to profit from a tragedy. Security window film is a current topic of discussion among many schools and towns throughout the country, and we were attempting to shine light on this safety measure. We took the wrong approach with the email, and would like to offer our most sincere apologies; not only to those that received this email but also to the entire Newtown community," the email read.

Llodra accepted the apology in an email sent back to the company.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

CCD Instructor Accused of Inappropriate Contact With Teen


A 24-year-old CCD instructor is facing charges after an encounter with a teen girl.

Glastonbury police arrested Stephen Zocco on Jan. 17 after they said they found him in a car with a 15-year-old girl in the high school parking lot.  Police accused Zocco of having "inappropriate contact" with the teen.

The age difference is vivid to high school students.

"It's just too old, way too old," said Amanda James, a senior at Glastonbury High School.

"It sounds really, really weird and it's kind of frightening," said David James. "It's just a product of the society that we live in.  It's just mind boggling that somebody 24 would be with a young girl, 15.  It's scary.  That's why I'm so protective of my daughter, to be honest with you."

Zocco has been an assistant in programs at Saint Paul Roman Catholic Church in Glastonbury.  A woman who answered the office phone said no one would discuss the arrest.

Police say Zocco posted $10,000 bail.  He faces risk of injury charges.


RIP Col. Meow: Internet Star Dies


Thousands of minions are mourning Thursday at the news that Colonel Meow, an Internet-famous feline who recently landed a spot in the Guinness World Records, is no longer swigging scotch and plotting his world domination.

“Colonel Meow passed away yesterday evening. I will post more about the details when I’ve had a few days to grieve. Thank you so much for your understanding, Minions. Your love and support has meant the world to us both,” his owner wrote on Facebook Thursday.

The Colonel – a rescue cat thought to be between 2 and 3 years old – became an Internet star last year after his owners, Anne Marie Avey and Eric Rosario, began posting photos of him online with his now-famous long hair and eerily human scowl.

Last fall, news that the Colonel’s heart wasn’t “doing the greatest” drew get-well wishes from supporters worldwide. His fans – lovingly called “minions” – raised more than $21,000 to pay for his medical bills (any money left over would be donated to emergency pet care, his owners said).

On Thursday, condolences poured into the Facebook page dedicated to the curmudgeonly cat, which boasts more than 347,000 fans.

“May he dominate the afterlife and submit all there to his will ...” Leela Cosgrove wrote.

A few months before the Colonel became sick, the Guinness World Records revealed some news that could bring a smile even to Colonel Meow’s smug mug.

With hair as long as 9 inches, the Himalayan-Persian cross-breed landed a spot in the record book as "cat with the longest fur." He will be featured in the Guinness World Records 2014 book, according to the Guinness website.

Photo Credit: facebook.com/colonelmeowinthecity
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