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One Injured in 2-Alarm Fire in West Haven


One person is hospitalized after a two-alarm fire at a house at 70 Wilson Avenue in West Haven this morning.

When firefighters arrived, the smoke was heavy and one person was trapped, Deputy Chief Scott Scafariello.

They found the victim, a female, on the first floor. She is being taken to the hospital and Scafariello said her condition is not known.

There was heavy fire in the basement and it is now out, Scafariello said. 

The icy conditions are causing some challenges for firefighters and Department of Public Works crews were called in to treat the roads to help firefighters battle the blaze.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticuut.com

Deming Road in Berlin Closed


Deming Road in Berlin is closed after four crashes.

The road is very icy, according to police.

More information will be posted once it becomes available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Suspected in High-End Car Theft Ring Arrested in North Haven


North Haven police have arrested a man, two and a half years after he allegedly stole an expensive BMW by swapping out keys with lookalikes, police said.  

Police said a $50,000 BMW was taken from the parking lot of a dealership on Washington Avenue on a night in August 2012.

As police investigated, they determined that a man, later identified as Michael Quezada, 24, of North Bergen New Jersey, had visited the dealership the night before the car was taken.

As he was looking over the vehicle with the sales associate, he was somehow able to exchange the BMW’s key with one that looked similar, returned after the dealership closed and drove away with the vehicle, police said.

Police said Quezada
left the state in the car and was taken into custody in Pennsylvania, where he had also been charged with larceny. 

The Times Leader newspaper last year reported that Quezada was suspected of being involved in a high-end car theft ring after expensive BMW’s were stolen from dealerships in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

In the Pennsylvania cases, the suspects provided fake addresses and phone numbers, the Times Leader reported and took the BMW key from the salesman as he was getting a CarFax report.
Investigators brought Quezada back to North Haven on February 19, 2014 and charged him with first-degree larceny.

He was released on a $50,000 court-set bond and is scheduled to appear in Meriden Superior Court on March 16, 2014.

In December, police in New York arrested 18 people in connection with an elaborate luxury car theft ring operating in Connecticut, New york and New Jersey.


Reward Offered for Tips in 2012 Waterford Homicide Case


The state is offering a reward to help find the person who killed a 34-year-old father of three as he was out to pick up dinner for his family in Waterford in 2012.

Kyle Seidel was shot and killed on the night of Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 in the parking lot of the Family Bowl on Boston Post Road in Waterford.

He never returned home after going out to pick up takeout food from Lucky Inn Chinese restaurant, police said.

Seidel’s death has been ruled a homicide and the state is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible.

Police said the circumstances leading up to the fatal shooting are not known, but authorities are asking residents to remember events they might have seen around 8 p.m. on the night of the homicide.

Anyone with information on the case should call the Waterford Police tip hotline at 860-437-8080 or call detectives directly at 860-442-0645 or 860-442-9451.

You could  also provide a tip at cold.case@ct.gov or call the Cold Case Unit tip line toll-free at 1-866-623-8058.

Man Assaulted Minor: Police


A 56-year-old North Haven man has been arrested, accused of sexually assaulting a minor.

The state Department of Children and Families contacted North Haven police in September 2013 to report a sexual assault of a minor and detectives worked with DCF, as well as The Yale Child Advocate Center.

They interviewed the child, then police went to Quinnipiac Avenue in North Haven to seize physical evidence from the home of Raymond Ramsey, 56. 

Authorities also requested DNA analysis and police obtained an arrest warrant for Ramsey, who was taken into custody on Feb. 20 and charged with first-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor.

He is being held on a $200,000 bond and will be arraigned in Meriden Superior Court.


Photo Credit: NBC

Access Health CT Website Down Tonight for Maintenance


The Access Health CT website will not be available from 8 p.m. on Thursday until 8 a.m. on Friday because of system maintenance.

Access Health CT is a quasi-public agency created under the Affordable Care Act to help increase the number of insured residents in Connecticut.

Since it launched on Oct. 1, 126,653 people have enrolled.
A new release from the government and public affairs outreach manager reminds residents that they have until Monday, March 31 to enroll in health care coverage through the exchange.

Garage Roof Collapses in Meriden


The roof of a garage on Mt Pleasant Street in Meriden has collapsed.

The fire marshal said no one was in the garage when it collapsed, but there was minor damage to a two cars.

The structure is older, according to the fire marshal.

Fire crews have left the scene and inspectors need to determine what happens next with the structure.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Colo. Rep. Leaves Gun in Capitol


A Colorado state lawmaker left a loaded handgun in the state Capitol building earlier this month, The Denver Post reported.

Colorado Rep. Jared Wright, a Republican legislator, left the gun in a black canvas bag under a committee room table. Rep. Jonathan Singer, who sits next to Wright on the House Local Government committee, discovered the gun as he was clearing out the committee room after a Feb. 6 debate on concealed handgun permits.

“I just immediately notified the Sergeant at Arms and soon we realized it was Jared’s bag,” Singer told The Post Wednesday.

Wright, a former policeman and current “peace officer,” told the paper he often carries a gun on the chamber floor.

“I feel it’s my duty to be a first responder wherever I am at,” said Wright. “That’s why I carry it.”

But Colorado state law prohibits carrying a firearm in the Capitol “without legal authority.”

Wright agreed to stop carrying a gun inside the building after speaking with the Colorado State Patrol about the incident. He also received a call from Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office.

This isn’t the first time a politician has gotten into trouble for toting a firearm.

In 2012, California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly was cited after police discovered a loaded .45-caliber handgun in his carry-on briefcase at the Ontario International Airport. Donnelly, who said the incident was an accident, was later placed on probation for three years as part of a plea agreement.

In January, Leslie Combs, a Kentucky lawmaker, accidentally fired a gun in her Capitol Annex office. That same month, New York Homeland Security chief Jerry Hauer used a laser on his handgun as a pointer during a meeting with Swedish officials.

But in other statehouses, carrying firearms to work is more commonplace. In Texas, dozens of lawmakers have concealed-carry permits and regularly bring their firearms into work. They can even use their permits as an E-ZPass of sorts to skip a security area with metal detectors and scanners.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Sochi Day 13: Russia's Skating Gold


Despite losses in two high-profile Olympic events — women's figure skating and hockey — the U.S. Olympic team had a good day Thursday, taking two medals and hanging onto the lead in the overall medal race.

But the margin is slim, and there are still three days of competition left.

Host Russia is celebrating the most Thursday, thanks to a stunning skating victory. And Canada's women hockey team proved that it is as close to unbeatable as any team can be.

Here are the day's highlights.

Russia's relief

A 17-year-old Russian gave her country its first-ever gold medal in women’s individual figure skating on Thursday.

The victory by Adelina Sotnikova quelled a sense a panic in the host country, whose vaunted men’s hockey team was knocked out of medal contention a day earlier.

Figure skating, like hockey, is one of Russia’s signature sports, and losing two events in succession on home ice would have prompted a period of deep soul-searching.

While the hockey defeat still stings, the Russians can legitimately claim that its proud figure skating tradition is healthy. Russia has also won gold in the pairs competition, and in the inaugural Olympic team event.

The U.S., while shut out of the podium in the men's and women's figure skating competitions, won gold in ice dancing and bronze in the team event.

Hockey heartbreaker

What is it with Canada? The U.S. women’s hockey team just can’t seem to beat its North American rival.

They haven't done it in 16 years.

They fell short again on Thursday.

The Americans gave up two goals in the final five minutes of regulation, then gave up another in sudden-death overtime, squandering what had seemed earlier in the gold-medal game like a sure win.

The U.S. women's hockey team hasn’t beaten Canada in the Olympics since the 1998 gold-medal match in Nagano. Thursday’s win marked Canada’s 20th straight victory in Olympic competition since then.

And the Americans, once again, are taking home silver.

U.S. wins ski halfpipe

American Maddie Bowman won the first-ever women’s halfpipe ski competition on Thursday with a performance dedicated to Sarah Burke, a Canadian freestyler who died in a 2012 training accident after lobbying for the halfpipe to be included in the Winter Games.

Bowman, 20, delivered the two highest-scoring runs of the final round with a soaring series of spins and flips.

While Bowman shined, there were many hard spills in the inaugural event. One competitor was taken off on a stretcher after briefly losing consciousness.

Marie Martinod of France won silver, and Ayana Onozuka of Japan took bronze.

Burke’s parents attended the competition, which athletes said they hoped would serve as a reminder of her influence on the sport.

Crazy photo finish

The new Olympic sport of skicross can seem at times like a chaotic tangle of athletes who might crash at any moment.

That’s not too far from the truth.

That was painfully apparent in the men’s quarterfinals on Thursday, when three rivals wiped out on the course’s final jump, crossing the finish line on their backsides.

The only man to finish the race upright, Switzerland's Armin Niederer, advanced to the next round, along with Russia’s Egor Koroktov, who slid into second place.

In the end, three Frenchmen swept the finals, winning gold, silver and bronze.

U.S. still in first

Thanks to its gold in ladies’ ski halfpipe and silver in women’s hockey, the U.S. sits atop the Sochi medal race.

The Americans have 25 total medals, eight of them gold.

Russia is in second with 23, and the Dutch are in third with 22.

That sets up a race for the finish, as the Winter Games enter their final weekend. There are more than a dozen events up for grabs from Thursday to Sunday.

With reporting by the Associated Press

Photo Credit: Getty Images

State Investigating State House GOP Caucus


The FBI is investigating the Connecticut House Republican caucus and its use of campaign vendor mailings, and the House Republicans' chief of staff, George Gallo, has resigned, acknowledging he is a "person of interest" in the investigation.

House Republican leader Larry Cafero today said the FBI served subpoenas Wednesday on the House Republican Office, the House Republican Campaign Committee and the Office of Legislative Management, all at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

The investigation surrounds a Florida direct-mail company and whether House Republican members were improperly steered to use the vendor, according to the Hartford Courant.

"Our caucus is cooperating fully with the federal inquiry into House Republican activities," Cafero said in a statement on Thursday.

Federal officials have asked members of the caucus not to release any information into the nature of the investigation, he said.

According to Cafero, Democratic and Republican leaders of the Legislative Management Committee met on Thursday and have agree to comply with all federal and state statutes and any requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act surrounding the federal subpoenas.

"In addition, our Chief of Staff George Gallo today offered his opinion that he is a person of interest of the investigation. As such, he indicated that he did not want to cause unwarranted distractions to the caucus that would take away from their legislative duties. For that reason, and for personal family considerations, he tendered his resignation and it was accepted, effective at midnight tonight," Cafero said.

Gallo has served the House Republican caucus since 2007, according to Cafero.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Missing Woman Found Dead in Phila.


The body of a young mother missing for nearly two weeks was found Thursday slumped over inside her car, parked in the shadow of Philadelphia's busy 30th Street Station, as it collected parking tickets and snow.

Marple Township Chief of Police Tom Murray tells NBC10 Philadelphia the body of Nadia Malik was found inside her black Nissan along the unit block of S. 30th Street in Philadelphia around 12:15 p.m. on Thursday. That is behind the Internal Revenue Service's Philadelphia headquarters and across the street from Amtrak's 30th Street Station.

Murray says police have been searching for the 22-year-old mother of two from Marple Township, Pa. and her car since family reported her missing on Feb. 9.

Philadelphia Police Lt. John Walker says the woman's body was found slumped over in the passenger seat of the car, under a pile of books.

"There was a bookbag with stuff dumped out and on top of her," Walker said.

Walker said the car had been parked along 30th Street for 12 days and had multiple parking tickets attached to the windshield -- the first ticket dated Feb. 9. The car has darkly-tinted windows and was covered in snow most of the time it was parked along the street, he said.

A call was also placed to 911 at one point during that time complaining about the car, he said.

Police finally investigated the car after a tip caller recognized its description through media reports about the missing woman.

On Sunday, Malik's sister told NBC10.com she was on the phone with the woman, who was with her ex-boyfriend Bhupinder Singh at the time, when the phone suddenly cut off.

Singh, 25, was later arrested on a parole violation in Solon, Ohio. Authorities in Solon tell NBC10 they located him after tracing Malik's phone, which he was using. He has been questioned about Malik's disappearance, police said.

Police have not implicated Singh in the woman's death, but he is awaiting extradition back to Pennsylvania regarding the parole violation.

Walker said there were no visible signs of trauma or signs of foul play. The Philadelphia Medical Examiner will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death, he said.

Philadelphia Police continue to investigate the incident.

Malik leaves behind a 3-year-old boy and 2-month-old daughter, her family tells NBC10. She was also a Pre-Med student at Temple University.

Photo: Nadia Malik

Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com/Family Photo

Police Arrest 4 Glastonbury Teens, 3 Adults in Marijuana Case


Glastonbury police have arrested three Portland residents and four Glastonbury teenagers after investigating large amounts of marijuana being supplied to Glastonbury High School students.

On Feb. 4, Glastonbury police started investigating marijuana sales to several Glastonbury youths and learned that a 16-year-old Glastonbury boy had been in touch with a Portland man who was suspected of supplying a large amount of marijuana to teens, police said.

Police said the drug sales did not happen on school property.

The Glastonbury Youth Unit worked with the East Central Narcotics Task Force and obtained a search warrant to search the Portland home of Georgios Sirigos, 20.

When police went to Sirigos’ home, at 10 East Main Street, they found a marijuana trafficking operation and seized more than a pound of marijuana, pipes, bongs, grinders, scales, packaging material, $2,700 in cash and a syringe with steroids, according to police.

Police arrested Sirigos and Brooke Vigneri, 23, of the same address, and charged them with operating a drug factory, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession with more than 4ounces of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Vigneri was also charged with interfering with a search warrant.

David Short, 31, of the same address, was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bond for all three was set at $10,000.

Police charged the first 16-year-old Glastonbury boy and another with conspiracy to commit/possession of more than 4 ounces of marijuana.

A 17-year-old Glastonbury boy and a 17-year-old Glastonbury girl with conspiracy to commit/possession of less than 4 ounces of marijuana.

The Glastonbury teens will appear in juvenile court.

Man Accused of Attempted Murder in New Britain


New Britain police have charged a local man with attempted murder and said he is accused of beating another man in the head with a blunt object like a baseball bat.

Police responded to Smalley and Stanley streets on Dec. 29 after receiving reports that a man was down. 

At first, authorities thought the victim had been hit by a car because of where he was and the severity of his injuries and they could not interview him.

The victim was unconscious and was transported to an area trauma center for treatment of life-threatening injuries.

As police investigated, they determined the victim had not been hit by a vehicle but had instead been struck in the head with a blunt object/ 

Police identified Luis Gonzalez, 32, of Noble Street in New Britain as a possible suspect after learning about an ongoing feud with the victim, police said.

There was a warrant for Gonzalez for an unrelated incident, but authorities had not been able to find him. Then, on Feb. 12, the victim was able to communicate with police and identified Gonzalez as the person who assaulted him, police said. 

Police took Gonzalez into custody on Feb. 19
at his apartment and charged him with criminal attempt to commit murder and assault in the first degree.

He is being held on a $750,000 bond.

Police said he was also charged with third-degree assault and bond was set at 1,500. He is due in court today. 

Photo Credit: New Britain Police

Campaign Charges For Millionaire


A Mexican businessman and multi-millionaire, accused of helping funnel more than $500,000 into San Diego political campaigns, made his first federal court appearance Thursday.

Jose Susumo Azano, 48, pleaded not guilty one count of illegal contributions by a foreign national.

Susumo Azano was arrested Wednesday morning at his Coronado home, FBI officials confirm. 

The prosecutor asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Mitchell D. Dembin not to set bail. In addition to being a flight risk, the prosecutor argued that Susumo Azano is also a danger to other witnesses in the case.

The defense argued that Susumo Azano should be allowed to stay in his Coronado home. The defendant's pilot agreed to give the key to Susumo Azano's private jet to the court so he could not use the jet to flee to U.S.

After hearing both sides, Magistrate Judge Dembin set bail at $5 million. Susumo Azano will be confined to his home with a GPS monitoring device and cannot go to Mexico for any reason. However, the prosecution could appeal the magistrate's decision.

Prosecutors claim Susumo Azano broke federal law by making contributions to U.S. elections using foreign funds, saying this could be "one of the largest (election) frauds in U.S. history."

A federal prosecutor previously said Susumo Azano had hoped that local politicians, including former Mayor Bob Filner, would help him in his quest to build up the San Diego bayfront, at the foot of Broadway.

Susumo Azano is the fourth person charged in the investigation into recent San Diego's mayoral and Congressional campaigns.

Lobbyist Marco Polo Cortes, former San Diego police detective Ernesto Encinas and D.C.-based campaign services executive Ravneet Singh also face charges in connection with the case.

NBC 7 has learned Cortes met with both Mayor-elect Kevin Faulconer and City Councilman David Alvarez who ran for mayor within the last three years.

Key Players in the Campaign Finance Scandal

Susumo Azano owns a surveillance software company in Mexico and maintains a villa in Coronado.

If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Photo Credit: Krentz Johnson, Courtroom Artist

7-Day-Old Panther Kitten Rescued


A one-pound Florida panther kitten was rescued by wildlife officials at the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge in Immokalee, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Thursday.

The kitten was found unresponsive with a very low body temperature when he was only 7 days old, officials said.

Biologists took the kitten to the Animal Specialty Hospital of Florida, where the animal received life-saving procedures.

The panther is now getting 24-hour care at Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa.

“Our goal is always return to the wild whenever possible, but because this kitten was so young at the time of rescue, he will not learn survival skills from his mother and therefore cannot be released into the wild,” the FWC said in a Facebook post.

Once the kitten is old enough, he will be put on display at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.

Photo Credit: FWC

Scout Sells Cookies at Pot Clinic


What's cooler than a Girl Scout selling cookies?

A business-savvy Girl Scout who sets up shop outside a cannabis clinic to rev up her sales skills.

Thirteen-year-old Girl Scout Danielle Lei did brisk business last Monday selling Dulce de Leches and other flavors outside The Green Cross medical marijuana clinic in San Francisco, Mashable reported.

Danielle was able to sell 117 boxes within two hours outside the cannabis clinic -- 37 more than what she sold within the same time frame at a local Safeway the next day, according to Mashable.

"It's no secret that cannabis is an appetite stimulant -- so it's not shocking that a lot of our patients came and purchased cannabis, and then saw the cookies and purchased them," said Holli Bert, a spokesperson for The Green Cross. "But it wasn't just patients, staff members and neighbors also bought the cookies. I personally bought five boxes. It turned out to be a big success."

Bert said that Danielle's mother had contacted The Green Cross to set up the sale outside the store.

"We were happy to have her (Danielle) come -- she is extremely business savvy," Bert said.

Danielle's mother Carol takes her two daughters to different places around San Francisco to sell cookies so that "they can learn about different environments," Mashable reported.

Carol told NBC Bay Area that the family is not doing any interviews.

Green Cross is so happy with the outcome that they have invited Danielle back to their store on Saturday, Feb. 22, from 4 to 6 p.m. for a repeat performance.

The Green Cross posted about Danielle's visit on its Facebook page, including a link to an external poll, which asks people whether Girl Scouts should sell cookies outside legal marijuana shops.

The Girl Scouts of Northern California don't have a problem with this business strategy.

Dana Allen, the organization's marketing and communications director, told Mashable that "the mom decided this was a place she was comfortable with her daughter being at."

"We're not telling people where they can and can't go if it's a legitimate business," she said.


Photo Credit: The Green Cross

Power Outage Affecting Residents in Branford


Residents who live on Red Rock Road and Brushy Plain Road have been affected by a power outage Thursday night.

Branford Police said they received multiple calls from residents who say they heard a loud boom.

According to Connecticut Light and Power, 1,814 customers are without power because of a transformer fire that pulled down some power lines. 

There is no estimate on when power will be restored.

CL& P crews are working to fix the problem.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

3 Things to Watch: U.S. vs. Canada


Since Russia was knocked out of the tournament, this turns into the rematch we've all be waiting for: the U.S. vs. Canada in the Olympic semifinals.

The U.S. wanted another shot at Canada after the heartbreaking overtime loss in the gold-medal game in 2010 in Vancouver, and they're going to get it. The winner of this game will be guaranteed a medal and will play either Finland or Sweden in the finals.

Here are three things to keep an eye on as you're avoiding your boss and watching the game at noon ET/9 a.m. PT on the NBC Sports Network or on nbcolympics.com.

1. Will Canada Click?

There has been some concern in the Great White North about Team Canada. Sure, the team hasn't lost in the tourney, but Canadian fans expect blowouts and domination, especially against teams like Latvia and Norway.

That hasn't happened.

Team Canada's coaching staff has used the early rounds of the tournament to experiment with line combinations and systems, which has led to uneasiness and a bit of confusion among the players.

Is there real cause for concern, or is head coach Mike Babcock just playing possum? There's a good chance Babcock has been biding his time, waiting until when the games really count to show off the full capabilities of his all-star squad.

Think of Babcock as Darth Vader and the Death Star as Team Canada: You may fire when ready.

2. Can the U.S. Maintain Its Sochi Success

Team Canada's issues may be real, or they may be a game of rope-a-dope. But Team USA, on the other hand, has yet to truly struggle in the tournament.

Sure, they went to a shootout with Russia, but that was a fierce game on the Russians' home ice.

The team has looked solid from the get-go in Sochi, which is not only surprising, but could bring a false sense of security heading into this matchup with Canada.

Is the U.S. really this good? Or perhaps their opponents in the early rounds were really that bad? Intriguing questions to ponder, for sure.

And if the U.S. is really this good, how long will the good times last? The worst thing that can happen is the high-powered U.S. offense suddenly goes cold.

Luckily for coach Dan Bylsma, he's installed a good defensive system, as well, which the team can fall back on if Canada stymies the offensive attack. Oh, and he's got Jonathan Quick in goal, too, if all else fails. No offense to Carey Price and Roberto Luongo, but I'd put my money on Quick when the game is on the line.

3. Who Will Be the Hero?

Take your pick. The obvious hero on the Canadian side is Sidney Crosby, who scored the game-winner in the gold medal game four years ago. But Sid the Kid has yet to light the lamp in four games in Sochi. It's not very often that Crosby doesn't score in five straight games. He may be due.

On the U.S. side, T.J. Oshie has already played the role of hero in the shootout against Russia. And if you remember the Vancouver Games, Zach Parise tied the gold-medal game with a goal with just 24 seconds left in regulation. Captain America could have some more heroics in store in Sochi.

But if you're looking for a surprise pick for both teams, how about Matt Duchene for Team Canada? He's going to get a lot more playing time now that John Tavares is done for the Olympics (and the rest of the NHL season) with a knee injury. Duchene will be looking to take advantage of his new role, and to prove he can be counted on with regular ice time in a winner-takes-all game.

On the U.S. side, keep an eye on Blake Wheeler. He hasn't received a ton of ice time yet in Sochi, but the coaching staff loves the way he plays. Could he be the answer to Canada's Death Star approach?

In any case, this should be one heck of a game. So sit back, grab a sandwich (or a breakfast sandwich depending on where you live) and enjoy.

Bonus: Paul Martin Out

Word came out just hours before the game that Team USA defenseman Paul Martin will not play in the game.  Some reports have it being an illness, while others suggest that it could be a hand/wrist injury.

In any case, this is a huge blow to the U.S. defense. While not a well-known name on the squad, he is a steady, methodical defenseman who can log a ton of minutes and play in all situations.

Justin Falk will be added to the lineup to take his place. Keep an eye on how much ice time he gets and how Canada will look to exploit Martin's absence.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Mill Street in East Windsor Closing Due to Icy Conditions


Police are closing Mill Street in the Broad Brook section of East Windsor near Church Street because of icy conditions.

Several cars, including a school bus carrying children, went off the road. No injuries are reported. 

View Larger Map

Fired Windsor Locks Officer Getting Job Back


A Windsor Locks police sergeant who was fired after being accused of hindering an investigation into his son's involvement in a fatal accident will get his job back.

The Connecticut State Board of Mediation and Arbitration Labor Department ruled on Wednesday that Windsor Locks did not have just cause to fire Sgt. Robert Koistinen in January 2012.

Koistinen was charged with hindering the probe of an October 2010 accident involving his son, Michael Koistinen, who was also a police officer. He was found not guilty of the hindering charges in October 2012.

The Board of Mediation and Arbitration ruled on Wednesday that the appropriate discipline for Robert Koistinen is a one-year suspension without pay. The board determined he should be reinstated to his position with back pay and benefits for the time beyond the one-year suspension. That suspension period would have been up in January 2013.

Michael Koistinen was off-duty and had been drinking the night of the crash that killed 15-year-old Henry Dang, who was on a bicycle, according to state police. The younger Koistinen was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to five years in prison for the crime.

Sgt. Robert Koistinen was one of the first officers at the scene of the crash and was accused of taking his son away from the scene of the crash. Michael Koistinen was never given a breathalyzer or blood alcohol test after the crash.

Witnesses said Sgt. Koistinen did not search for an object that his son had thrown from the vehicle just after the crash. It turned out to be a broken beer glass with beer still in it.

"The arbitration award speaks for itself," Kevin Brace, chairman of the Windsor Locks Police Commission, said in a statement on Thursday.

The commission will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday to discuss the ruling and the possibility of pending litigation, Brace said.

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