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Fans Flock to MSG For UConn's Sweet 16 Game


Midtown Manhattan became UConn Country on Friday night as fans descended on Madison Square Garden for the Huskies' Sweet 16 game against Iowa State.

Many took advantage of Metro-North's extra train to New York.

"U-C-O-N-N," was the chant as fans made their way through Grand Central Terminal hours before the game. UConn garb could be seen on the streets from Times Square to the most famous arena in the world.

School alumni who arrived early, got a chance to hang out and celebrate the team's success at a pre-game gathering at the Affinia Hotel across from MSG. They were joined by Uconn president Susan Herbst and even some former players stopped by, including Jake Voskhul, a member of UConn's 1999 national championship team.

While many had tickets, others tried to find tickets from scalpers around the venue.  Tickets on the secondary market were going for several hundred dollars.

49ers' Culliver Arrested


San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver was arrested Friday, after police say he struck a bicyclist in a hit-and-run crash and then threatened a witness with brass knuckles.

Culliver is charged with suspicion of hit-and-run, reckless driving with injury and weapons possession, San Jose police said.

The 25-year-old was driving a white Ford Mustang Friday morning when he struck a bicyclist and attempted to flee the scene, according to police.

The collision was reported at 10:21 a.m. in the area of Tully road and South 7th Street in San Jose. Police said the bicyclist was struck while crossing the intersection.

A witness followed Culliver to the area of Mekler Drive and Senter Road, and attempted to block the NFL player from leaving, police said.

When he was cornered by the witness, police said, Culliver threatened the witness with brass knuckles before getting back into his car and driving away, striking the eyewitness' vehicle in the process.

When police arrived, they took Culliver into custody without incident.

The 49ers cornerback was booked in Santa Clara County jail for felony hit-and-run, felony reckless driving with injury, felony possession of brass knuckles, misdemeanor hit-and-run and misdemeanor driving on a suspended license.

Culliver posted bail and was released at about 5:30 p.m. Information regarding Culliver’s lawyer was not immediately available.

The bicyclist suffered minor, non-life threatening injuries and was released from the scene.

In a statement, the San Francisco 49ers told NBC Bay Area the team is "aware of the recent matter involving Chris Culliver."

"We will remain in contact with Chris and the local authorities as we continue to gather the facts regarding this situation. As this is an ongoing legal matter, we will reserve further comment at this time.”

Culliver has been with the 49ers since 2011 when he was drafted 80th overall by the team.

Two years ago, he started six games at cornerback. Culliver tore his ACL in training camp last year, missing the entire 2013 season.

Culliver has made headlines before, for anti-gay remarks he made during a media day interview prior to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. He later apologized for those comments and was making strides toward reforming his image by working with LGBT organizations such as the Trevor Project.

Culliver also has been active in promoting animal welfare, and received a “Champion of Compassion” award earlier this month from Critter Lovers at Work (CLAW), a volunteer group that works with the San Francisco SPCA. He’s also scheduled to play host to the ABKC Dog Show on April 5 at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, an event benefiting his “Chris Culliver Foundation,” an organization “helping inner city youth and promoting the welfare of animals.”

The 49er was projected to fight for a starting position at cornerback this season.

Culliver is not the first 49er to run into trouble in San Jose.


His teammate, All-Pro linebacker Aldon Smith, was wounded while breaking up a fight at a party at his home. The incident resulted in police later charging him with three felony counts of  possessing an illegal assault weapon.

Then last September, following a car accident, police arrested Smith on suspicion of DUI and possession of marijuana. The linebacker then entered rehab. Smith faces a court appearance next month.

Thousands Gather for 2nd Annual Sandy Hook Run


 Runners and walkers gathered in Newtown to prove that love runs through everything.

“Love Runs Through,” the theme for the 2nd Annual Sandy Hook Run for Families in Newtown Saturday morning was set forth to remind everyone that love runs through us all.

The run/walk is held to honor the memories of the victims and to support those affected by the December 14, 2013 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 students and six teachers dead.

Last year, 15,000 runners and walkers crossed the finish line at the Capital in Hartford.

The race is being held in Newtown this year. Registration fees from the race and fundraising will be donated to the Newtown Memorial Fund.

Moving the race to Newtown means that less runners will be able to participate. So organizers came up with a “Virtual Runner” option so that all who wanted to could participate.

The option allows individuals to register and run in their own town to honor the victims. “Virtual Runners” received a tee-shirt, , racer’s bib and a certificate.

"The response to last year's event was so overwhelming. We wanted to make sure the meaning behind this event continued on so that the running community could continue to show its support for the families of Newtown," said Katie Blake in a statement.

More information about the Sandy Hook Families can be found at mysandyhookfamily.org.

According to the website the run “is about life: honoring the memory of precious lives lost through tragedy and celebrating the gift of life. It is about uniting in hope for the future. “

Couple Accused of Welfare Fraud


A couple is on the run and  facing felony charges for alleged welfare fraud while living on a luxury yacht in Florida.

Colin Chisholm III, 62 and Andrea Chisholm, 53, were charged with milking public assistance programs, mainly in their home state of Minnesota, for more than $165,000 between January 2005 and March 2012 in that state alone.

The prosecutor in Minnesota that was looking for them isn’t amused.

“Mr. Chisholm is a conman of the first order, he created all sorts of false companies, claimed he was a Scottish heir and Lady Chisholm participated in these frauds,” said Mike Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney.

The criminal case against Chisholm details a lavish lifestyle. Records show they had three million dollars in various bank accounts during that period.

They are also accused of receiving welfare benefits from Florida as well.

The couple lived in a house in Lighthouse Point while they lived in the sunshine state. It has since been demolished but they paid several thousand dollars a month while living there.

They made a few payments on the yacht they bought while in Florida for $1.2 million, but it was repossessed by the Coast Guard.

With no criminal history, people convicted of fraud are typically sentenced to probation but Attorney Mike Freeman hopes this case will be different.

“We will not allow that to happen…I want them to do time, this is abdominal and offensive,” he said.


Illegal Substances Seized From Bristol Store


 Working on a tip, the Bristol Police Department arrested two and seized several illegal items for sale at a local store.  

Police received information that illegal sales of controlled substances was taking place at Discount Tobacco, 123 Farmington Ave. in the Bristol Commons Plaza.

On Friday, March 28th, the Bristol Police along with the Connecticut Revenue Services and the Statewide Narcotics Task Force went to the store to perform an inspection.

After a thorough search of the store, a carton of untaxed Benson and Hedges cigarettes were located. Also located were two plastic bags containing numerous packages of a synthetic substance sold as incense. The packages were labeled “Not for Human Consumption.”

A total of 226 packages totaling 1,181.8 grams of product were seized with a resale value of $3,0604.74

According to narcotic investigators, the product is a substance that is smoked in order to obtain a high and is referred to as synthetic marijuana containing banned substances.

Police say that the packages are labeled with names such as "Mad Hatter", "Bizarro", "GS", "Juicy Herbs", and "Platinum Caution" to name a few. These substances create a euphoric affect when (smoked) by an individual and are illegal to possess.

The owner of the store, Sharjil Khan, told investigators that he had not sold the items since it became illegal. He said that he took the items off of his shelves and kept the remaining supply in the back of the store.

Investigators determined that the store was within 1500 feet of the Heritage Christian School on Lewis Ave and Khan was subsequently arrested.

Khan was charged with Possession Of A Controlled Substance, Possession Of A Controlled Substance With Intent To Sell and Possession Of A Controlled Substance Within 1500 Feet Of A School/Daycare.

He was released on a $5,000 non-surety bond. He is set to appear in Bristol court on April 14.

A total of 226 packages totaling 1,181.8 grams of product were seized with a resale value of $3,0604.74

Some Damage After 5.1 Quake


Dozens of Southern California residents were displaced and hundreds were without power Saturday morning after a magnitude-5.1 earthquake shook La Habra Friday night.

More than 80 Fullerton residents were forced to leave their homes after the strong temblor that was felt as far away as Kern and San Diego counties, according to the Fullerton Police Department.

At least twenty apartment units in the 2700 block of Associated Road and three homes in the 2900 block of Juanita street were red tagged. No injuries were reported as a result of the quake.

Thirty properties were deemed uninhabitable following the quake.

The American Red Cross opened a shelter for La Habra residents at the La Habra Community Center located at 101 W. La Habra Blvd. Thirty-eight people -- many of whom live in the evacuated apartment complex -- spent the night in the shelter.

The shelter was closed Saturday afternoon.

Hundreds of others were affected Saturday morning as Southern California Edison reported that 34 customers in La Habra Heights and 792 customers in Buena Park were without power.

Fire officials reported several small water main breaks and gas leaks in La Habra, Fullerton and La Mirada. Several stores in the area had items fall of the shelves, creating a mess for employees and customers.

Fullerton resident Daniel Taylor told NBC4 via email everything fell down in his home.

"I felt both quakes. The second quake hit really hard, it was a hard and fast quake," he said. "My 100-gallon fish tank went down. Water damage everywhere from the tank. My water pipes under my sink cracked."

Police and firefighters were expected to conduct a citywide damage assessment in Fullerton at 8 a.m. Saturday, officials said.

The temblor was first reported just after 9 p.m. as a magnitude-5.3 but it was downgraded within 30 minutes. More than 100 aftershocks were reported as of Saturday morning, said Paul Caruso, a geophysicist with the United States Geological Survey.

The largest aftershock was a magnitude-3.6 quake that struck around 1:30 a.m. A magnitude-3.4 aftershock struck in La Habra Saturday morning around 9:02 a.m.

No significant damage was reported, but aftershocks were widely felt throughout the Los Angeles area.

The earthquake was probably 10 times larger than the March 17 magnitude-4.4 quake near Encino in terms of energy released, Caltech's Lucy Jones said.

Photo Credit: OnScene.TV

Man Catches Teens Stealing Packages


Tired of having packages stolen from his front door, a resident in San Diego's Chula Vista area caught a group of teenage thieves in the act by hiding in some bushes and jumping out just as the teens were grabbing more loot, police said.

Turns out, the teens had accumulated quite the collection of lifted items – and not just from the man who caught them red-handed.

According to police, Chad Bear set up the sting to bust the teens in front of his home in the 1400-block of Trailwood Avenue on Thursday. One day earlier, Bear learned his neighbor had found some packaging material in his yard with Bear’s address on it.

Bear quickly realized the U.S. Postal Service had been delivering packages to his home, only he wasn’t getting them. Someone had stolen the packages, unwrapped them, taken the items inside and thrown the packing material into his neighbor’s yard.

With another delivery en route, Bear decided to hide in the bushes across the street from his home to see who would take the package.

“I just wanted to make sure the boxes delivered to me Thursday didn’t get stolen too," he told NBC 7.

So, he had it all planned out.

“I was lying down here and basically had my face in the opening [behind this bush] so I could
see," he said.

With a green baseball bat in hand, and his pit bull, Dozer, by his side, Bear staked out the area, waiting for the thieves to strike again.

“The bat was to protect me in case they tried jumping me, if there were a couple of them and they got brave," he said. "The dog was a deterrent so they wouldn’t run because he'll run faster than them.”

After waiting for more than two hours, Bear saw four teenagers – all between 15 and 16 years old – walk past his house and grab the package from his porch. As the teens were nabbing the package, Bear jumped from his hiding place and ordered the teens to stay put while he called 911.

“I came around the corner with the dog and told them get down. I told them, 'Don’t even think about running,'" he recalled.

When police arrived, they took the juveniles into custody.

The Chula Vista Police Department said the teens were found to be in possession of other items believed to be stolen as well, including toy airsoft guns.

Some of those items were stolen from Bear’s neighbors, including Charleston Yambao, who said the incident left him feeling uneasy.

“It’s a little scary because they jumped our fence,” said Yambao.

The teens were questioned by police and charged with possession of stolen property. They were then released to their parents. During the questioning process, officers recovered even more property believed to be stolen by the teens (see gallery to left).

Investigators believe the accused thieves got a hold of other items in a similar way, possibly by stealing packages from front doors.

Their haul included stolen toys, silver Canadian coins, vitamins, Kenneth Cole dress shoes, cell phones, Canon camera accessories and an LED picture light. Officers also discovered a stolen fireproof suit meant to be used while working on motorcycles which also happened to belong to Bear.

He had ordered the $160 suit but had never received it in the mail. It was returned to him by police, along with other belongings.

As for the rest of the stolen goods, the Chula Vista Police Property Crimes Division is now in possession of the items.

Police are asking citizens to call and claim their belongings if they recognize an item they may have ordered in the mail but never received. If that’s the case, contact Det. Joe Page at (619) 409-3875 or the Chula Vista Police Department non-emergency line at (619) 691-5151 and ask for Property Crimes.

Bear hopes they learned their lesson.

"If you're teenage kids and you're doing this kind of stuff, you're going to get caught," he said.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

Man Dead After Apparent Heroin Overdose in Torrington


 A young man is dead after a suspected heroin overdose in Torrington.

Torrington Police responded to 128 Church St. just after midnight on Saturday for a medical emergency.

There they found a 22-year old male. The male was transported to Charlotte Hungerford Hospital where he was later pronounced dead of a suspected heroin overdose.

According to police, Sanden Abrahams, 22 of Granby, sold the victim the heroin prior to his death.

When police searched Abrahams residence at 100 Bushy Hill Road, they discovered five and a half, or 55 bags of heroin.

Abrahams was arrested and charged with Sale Of Heroin, Possession Of Heroin, Possession Of Heroin With Intent To Sell, Possession Of Heroin In A School Zone, Possession Drug Paraphernalia, Risk Of Injury To A Minor, and False Statement 2nd Degree. Abraham is being held on a $75,000 bond.

Taylor Delbene, 21, of Torrington was also arrested and charged with Risk of injury to a minor. Delbene is Abrahams girlfriend. The charge stems from a 2 and a half year old child that was in the apartment at the time.

The identity of the deceased is not being released at this time.

Truck Rollover Causes Oil Spill in Stratford


Crews were busy cleaning up a major mess this afternoon after an oil truck rolled over in Stratford.

Police said it happened around 12:15 p.m. at the intersection of Broadbridge and Second Hill Avenues.

No one was injured, but authorities said about 100 gallons of oil did go down a nearby drain. Fairfield Hazardous Waste team was called in.

Officials said 2,000 gallons of oil needed to be drained from the truck before they can bring it upright and remove it.

The road reopened a few hours later.

San Diegans Unite for Tutu Run


Clad in colorful, frilly tutus, dozens of San Diegans gathered for a group run Saturday in response to a recent blurb published in SELF magazine that slammed the tutu trend by mocking a photo of a San Diego cancer survivor who ran a marathon wearing one of the skirts.

The “Joyful Tutu Run” was organized by Girls on the Run San Diego, a charity that sponsors exercise and confidence-building programs for young girls. Tutu-clad participants gathered at 8 a.m. at Torrey Pines State Beach and ran to take a stand against the negative blurb printed in the magazine.

“We, instead of bringing each other down, want to make the choice to celebrate our differences. What makes us strong, what brings us joy, and this morning, tutus are bringing us all joy,” run organizer Annie Sawyer told NBC 7.

“We are choosing to make a difference and to turn it into something beautiful, instead of something negative,” she added.

Participants were encouraged to snap photos of themselves in tutus during the event and post them to social media using the hashtag #tutusrock. Those who weren’t able to make the run at Torrey Pines were encouraged to run wherever they were, wearing tutus, too.

Amy Jerome, executive director of Girls on the Run San Diego, said runners should be able to wear anything they want, tutus included, without being made fun of.

“I feel really strongly about the fact that we should be able to wear anything we want if it helps us be active and strong. Wear a tutu; wear whatever you want and fell really good about yourself while you’re doing it," said Jerome, as she geared up for Saturday's run.

Bill Best, a Girls on the Run board member, also sported a tutu and ran alongside his daughter.

“We want to make something positive out of this. [I want to set an example for my daughter] and show her that it’s fine to be strong and take a situation and make it positive,” said Best, adding that real men proudly wear tutus.

Read: Magazine Makes Fun of Cancer Survivor's Tutu

Tutus became a hot topic that garnered national attention earlier this week when NBC 7 broke the story about SELF magazine making fun of the fashion trend in the running world.

San Diego runner and cancer survivor Monika Allen told NBC 7 the magazine sent her an email asking to use a photo of her and her friend, Tara Baize, which showed them wearing tutus while running the L.A. Marathon.

Allen gave SELF permission to use the picture, but never imagined it would be used to make fun of tutus.

The photo (see right) was published in the magazine’s April issue, in a section called “The BS Meter,” with a caption that mocks the women’s outfits.

"A racing tutu epidemic has struck NYC's Central Park, and it's all because people think these froufrou skirts make you run faster," the caption reads. "Now, if you told us they made people run from you faster, maybe we would believe it."

Allen said she was “stunned and offended” by the blurb and the manner in which the magazine chose to use her image.

Turns out, that photo was taken during a very difficult moment in her life.

The marathon came right as Allen was in the middle of chemotherapy. She made the tutu herself through her company, Glam Runner, and said the cute outfit gave her motivation to get to the finish line.

“The reason we were wearing those outfits is because this was my first marathon running with brain cancer,” Allen explained.

Allen and Baize make the tutus in their spare time. They donate money from sales of the tutus to Girls on the Run, the charity that organized Saturday’s event. Over the past three years, Allen said she’s raised about $5,600 for the nonprofit by making and selling around 2,000 tutus.

Allen said the snub from the magazine was very frustrating.

"I feel like we were misled in providing the picture. Had I known how the picture was going to be used,
I wouldn't have wanted to send it,” she told NBC 7 earlier this week.

After the story broke, it went viral. Millions of people saw it online and expressed their support for Allen and disappointment in SELF magazine.

On Thursday, amid growing backlash on social media, SELF’s editor-in-chief, Lucy Danziger, offered a personal apology to Allen, releasing this statement to NBC 7:

"In our attempt to be humorous, we were inadvertently insensitive. I have sincerely apologized both directly to Monika and her supporters online. At SELF we support women such as Monika; she is an inspiration and embodies the qualities we admire. We have donated to her charity and would like to cover her good work in a future issue. We wish her all the best in her road to good health."

Danziger also took to her Twitter page to say sorry.

"@glamrunner apologies from me and @selfmagazine. We applaud you for supporting girls & wish Monika speedy recovery: http://t.co/2iq4SAzWA9," she tweeted.

Allen said Danziger’s apology didn’t really address the core issue, which was that she was misled into allowing the magazine to use her photo. She said she wouldn't have said yes to the request if she had known how her photo would have been represented.

“She hasn’t addressed the fact that we were misled in the request for the photo to be used in a snarky post,” Allen said, adding that the magazine didn't ask for the story behind the tutus either.

She said it shouldn’t matter whether or not she’s a cancer survivor. What matters is that the magazine blurb was negative and hurtful, no matter who was on the other end.

Baize agreed and told NBC 7 she was also put off by the magazine’s actions.

“[Monika] is really inspiring and just to turn something we did into something people would laugh at. It was hurtful. And I’m glad that people are really responding positively to us,” said Baize.

And that positive support doesn’t appear to be waning anytime soon.

Before the tutu story made national news, Allen’s Glam Runner Facebook page had about 1,000 likes.

As of Saturday afternoon, the company’s page had nearly 35,000 likes and endless messages of encouragement, such as this post: “You are awesome and inspirational! I love the tutu!”

Other posts include photos of people from around the country proudly wearing their tutus.

Allen attended Saturday's run and got a chance to witness more of that solidarity for tutus. After a group warm-up session, she thanked everyone for coming out and participating.

“This feels amazing. I’m just overwhelmed by all of the support that we’ve received, as Glam Runner and also as part of Girls on the Run. It’s just wonderful to see everyone running out here in tutu, just having fun and being healthy," she said.

Allen said seeing so many people come together was truly touching.

“I can’t believe what this has turned out to be, and it’s just become such a positive thing,” she said, holding back tears. “I just want to thank everybody for turning this into a positive event. The magazine article was a negative thing for us; we were embarrassed. Just to see the outpour of love from everybody is just really touching.”

Allen hopes her story will encourage others to be themselves, no matter what others think of them -- and be nice to others.

"Don't judge people. Be nice people. You don't know what their story is," she said.

Photo Credit: Girls on the Run/Facebook

UConn Beats Iowa St., Headed to Elite 8


This has the feel of something special. Unlike the last time UConn faced Iowa St., when an uninspiring effort led to a one-and-done appearance in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, the 2014 version of this squad reminds a lot of people of what Jim Calhoun, Kemba Walker and company accomplished three years ago: 11 straight wins -- five victories in five days in the Big East Tournament, followed by six more in the Big Dance -- that culminated in a national title.

Walker has been replaced by Shabazz Napier, who was a freshman on that championship squad, and Calhoun paved the way for Kevin Ollie to take over as coach. But this upstart group possesses the very same confidence we saw in the 2010-11 team. And on Friday night against the Cyclones, that manifested itself in a 81-76 win that was never really that close.

The Huskies led by 10 at the break, and were up 63-51 with 5:20 to go before Iowa St. made its patented end-of-game run. But UConn converted 18 of 19 free throws down the stretch and DeAndre Daniels, who has NBA talent oozing out of his pores but can occasionally shrink in big moments, played the game of his life, lighting up the Cyclones for 27 points on 10 of 15 shooting.

After the game, CBS Sports' Allie LaForce asked Daniels, who also had 10 rebounds, if he had ice in his veins.

"This whole team has ice in their veins," he said. "It's starts with Shabazz Napier, he's the leader of this team and he plays hard every night. And we just follow his lead."

And in typical Napier fashion, the senior all-everything point guard played 37 minutes and had 19 points, five rebounds, and five assists.

The other half of one of the nation's best backcourt duos, Ryan Boatright, added 16 points in as solid a game as you'll see him play. And perhaps most impressive, freshman Terrence Samuel played 23 minutes in Ollie's three-guard lineup and added 10 points without a turnover.

But after the game, Ollie lauded the team's consistency at the charity stripe, which ultimately paved the way to the win.

"We practice free throws a lot," Ollie told said. That's mental fortitude and that's what they've got.

"I keep telling you, they're fighters. ... But it's the defense, though. The defense is what's carrying us. We're getting stops and we're taking care of the basketball."

When asked what happened in the final five minutes when Iowa St. cut the lead from 12 to five, Ollie smiled and said, "Oh, I'm not worried about that. We're going to the Elite 8 and they can have that. I'm not worried about that. The spotlight is on [our players]. They've been terrific, they've been through a lot, they're loyal to what UConn is, and we want to keep going on."

The coach also thanked the UConn fans for making Madison Square Garden their home away from Gampel.

"It's definitely an advantage," he said, "but at the end of the day it's a basketball game. We're all about planting seeds, and like I said, there's no better place to plant seeds than in a garden. And we're going to continue to plant seeds and hopefully we can come out of this region and head to Texas."

Next up: The winner of the Michigan St.-Virginia game.

"You know, (whoever we face) it's going to be a great challenge for us, and that's what we're all about," Ollie said. "We have to respect our opponent but we've got to think about us too. We've got to get back to work ... and keep planting seeds, and make sure we take care of business each and every time down because the second hand on the clock doesn't ever go backwards. It always goes forward. We don't want to waste any time."

RHAM Middle School Teacher Struck By Car at School Has Died


A RHAM Middle School teacher who was struck by a car outside the school two weeks ago has died, according to Superintendent Bob Siminiski.

Dawn Mallory-Bushor, of Groton, was a 7th grade math teacher at the middle school in Hebron. She was 65-years-old.

She was critically injured on March 14th, after a parent who was dropping off her children at RHAM High School backed into her in the school lot.

According to the town manager, the woman was leaving the parking lot and drove into the bus lane from the middle school. When she realized she was in the bus lane, she abruptly backed up and hit Mallory-Bushor.

Police identified the driver as a 50-year-old Hebron woman. The crash is under investigation and no charges have been filed.

Just days after the crash, RHAM Middle School increased security and evaluated the traffic pattern on campus .  The superintendent also met with a civil engineer who will study the traffic flow and make recommendations.

A resident state trooper is also stationed in front of the school for security.

Mallory-Bushor, had been a teacher for 31 years, according to a RHAM Middle School Web site. 

Grief counselors will be available at the middle school on Monday.

Motorcyclist Killed After Crashing Into Guardrail


A Danielson man was killed after a motorcycle accident in Killingly Saturday afternoon.

According to state police, Joseph Ouellet, 51, was traveling north on Interstate 395, between exits 90 and 91 when he lost control of his motorcycle and crashed into a guardrail in the center median.

The accident happened around 2:00 p.m.

Police said Ouellet was pronounced dead at the scene.

No other vehicles were involved.

State Police are investigating the crash.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Tens of Thousands Attend Utah Holi Color Festival


Tens of thousands of people gathered Saturday at a Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork for the start of an annual two-day festival of colors.

Revelers danced to music, practiced yoga and threw colored corn starch in the air once every hour during the all-day Holi Festival of Colors.

The large majority of participants are not Hindus, but Mormons, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Thousands of students from nearby Brigham Young University take part in the festival, which is expected to draw 70,000 people.

The event stems from a Hindu tradition celebrating the end of winter and the triumph of good over evil.

"It's an opportunity for young LDS (Mormon) kids to come and celebrate their spirituality without alcohol or drugs," said Caru Das, the temple's priest.

Das said the event feels more like a rock concert than a religious ceremony, particularly with live music. He appeared frequently on stage, exhorting crowd members to give hugs to strangers and not to think of themselves as ordinary.

"Each and every one of you is lovely and brilliant. No exceptions," he said. "This festival is to remind you who you are."

The festival gives participants a chance to gain exposure to Hindu chants and beliefs while plastering others with dust of many vibrant colors that costs $3 per bag or $12 for five bags. The hourly throwing of rainbow-hued corn starch leaves participants drenched in color.

"It's a place for your inner child to come out," Robynn Kirkham, a Pleasant Grove accountant who runs a construction company, told The Tribune.

Ranjan Khurana and his wife, Anu, came from Boise, Idaho, because friends in the Spanish Fork Hindu congregation raved about how electrifying the event has become.

"It's vibrant and everybody is just so cheerful," Anu Khurana said. "It's a blessing that so many people are here celebrating the colors."

Haylee Buchanan, a BYU student, said she has attended the event with friends and likened it to a big party.

"I wish that I could have read information on why and what they are celebrating," she said, "because it was fascinating."

Buchanan said it was enjoyable to immerse herself in a cultural event very different from her own Mormon faith.

Indra Neelameggham, a Hindu who worships at Sri Ganesha Temple in South Jordan, said she doesn't mind if young Mormons partake in the festival.

"This festival has no religious significance. There are no prayers or no special services connected with it," she said. "It has evolved in India — particularly in the south — over the years and now is mostly about tourism and marketing — like Christmas or Halloween."

Das said the event is spiritual and many attendees feel moved, but the heavy presence of young Mormons doesn't dampen the event. The festival unites strangers in a common experience, he said.

Photo Credit: AP

Heavy Rains Lead to Flooding Around State


Flood warnings and watches have been issued after heavy rain swept the state Sunday morning.

Flood warnings remain in effect for Fairfield, Litchfield, New Haven and New London counties. Flood watches have been posted statewide.

A winter weather advisory has also been issued for Litchfield County overnight Sunday into Monday, as dropping temperatures could bring sleet and ice.

Steady rain falling this morning has lightened up and is expected to turn to showers in the afternoon.

Several homes and streets have flooded in Norwich, according to Director of Emergency Management Gene Arters. Boswell Avenue was washed out and has been closed throughout the morning but one lane is now passable.

Kelly Middle School will open at noon to serve as a shelter for those affected by the flooding.

A number of small rivers around the state have jumped their banks. Moderate flooding has been reported at the Yantic River in Norwich, which crested at just over 10 feet, the highest since March 2010.

The Mount Hope River in Ashford, Willimantic River in Coventry and Housatonic River in New Milford and below the Stevenson Dam have seen minor flooding.

A flood warning has also been issued for the Pawcatuck River in Stonington, which is still rising. Minor flooding is expected and will mostly affect the Rhode Island side of the river.

Downpours will resume around dinnertime and could be accompanied by thunder, lightning and even some small hail.

Some parts of the state, including Norwich, North Stonington and Westbrook, have received more than 4 inches of rain since the start of the storm. Check for updated rain totals here.

Along with all the precipitation comes much cooler temperatures. The colder air will filter in later tonight, changing some of the rain to sleet and possibly even some wet snow in the hills.

Expect to wake up Monday morning to chilly temperatures, sleet and some wet snow flakes.

Relief is coming, as the temperatures should be in the 50s once April rolls around on Tuesday.

Send your weather photos to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

Photo Credit: Matt and Ashley Koehler

Bridgeport Woman Dies After Tractor-Trailer Crushes Car


A 27-year-old Bridgeport woman died this morning in a crash on Interstate 95 northbound in Fairfield that wedged her car underneath a tractor-trailer, according to the Fairfield Fire Department.

The collision happened in the area of the exit 22 rest stop around 6:30 a.m. Sunday.

State police said Yvonne Sokol was driving erratically, swerving in and out of the the left and center lanes, when her Passat smashed into the back of a tractor-trailer parked on the side of the road.

Sokol's car ended up underneath the tractor-trailer and was crushed, trapping Sokol and bursting into flames, police and fire officials said.

At least 24 emergency responders helped extricate Sokol, who was found without a pulse, fire officials said. She was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

Firefighters and crews from a towing company worked to lift the tractor-trailer off the woman’s car.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, 50-year-old Brian Quinn, of Dedham, Mass., was not injured.

The Westport Fire Department also responded to the scene.

It’s not clear if the tractor-trailer driver was injured.

Photo Credit: Fairfield Fire Department

Man Dragged Dog Tied to Car: Cops


A dog is being treated at a Monmouth County animal hospital after being tied to a car and dragged down a street.
The dog's owner, 49-year-old Keith Guastamacchia, told authorities he stopped to let the dog use the bathroom along Route 36 in Highlands, tying the dog's leash to the side of his car.
Guastamacchia said he drove away after an upsetting phone call and forgot about the dog, a 1-year-old Chihuahua mix named Roxy.
Police observed the dog being dragged and pulled Guastamacchia over. He was arrested and charged with animal cruelty.

Information on an attorney for Guastamacchia was not immediately available.

Windsor Locks Woman Struck and Killed on Route 9


A 23-year-old woman from Windsor Locks has died after she was struck by a car on Route 9 in Middletown early Sunday morning, according to state police.

Police said Erica Law was driving with her boyfriend on Route 9 northbound just past the exit 11 entrance ramp when she pulled over and got out of the car. Law ended up in the right-hand travel lane and was struck.

The other driver, 49-year-old Carol Canzellarini, of Rocky Hill, pulled over just ahead of the area of impact. She received minor injuries and was treated and released from Middlesex Hospital.

Law was also taken to Middlesex Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Her boyfriend, 28-year-old Manual Rivera, of Hartford, was sitting in the front passenger seat of Law’s car and was not injured, police said.

Authorities are investigating the crash.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Rain Totals in Connecticut


Heavy rains have caused flooding around the state. Here are the rain totals from the start of the storm Saturday up until 2 p.m. Sunday:

  • North Stonington – 4.72 inches
  • Westbrook – 4.71 inches
  • Norwich – 4.46 inches
  • Branford – 3.64 inches
  • Prospect – 3.53 inches
  • Milford – 3.18 inches
  • Columbia – 3.13 inches
  • Dayville – 3.08 inches
  • Westport – 3.05 inches
  • Middletown – 2.85 inches
  • Southington – 2.65 inches
  • Manchester – 2.60 inches
  • West Hartford – 2.39 inches
  • New Hartford – 2.05 inches
  • Litchfield – 1.88 inches
  • Portland – 3.74 inches
  • Clinton – 3.74 inches
  • Coventry – 3.20 inches
  • Bridgeport – 3.15 inches
  • North Haven – 3.03 inches
  • Waterbury – 1.46 inches

Check the full forecast here.

Send your weather photos to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

O'Hare Train Service Resumes


The Chicago Transit Authority restored Blue Line service between the O'Hare and Rosemont stations on Sunday, following a train derailment at O'Hare International Airport on Monday.

Rail service was restored around 2 p.m.

Service at the O'Hare station has been disrupted for almost a week after a train derailed, sending rail cars onto an escalator at the station.

The eight-car train jumped the tracks and landed on the stairs and escalators leading to the airport terminals just before 3 a.m. Monday. The crash left 32 people injured, and three passengers have since filed lawsuits against the CTA.

The National Transportation Safety Board estimates the crash caused about $6 million in equipment damage.

"CTA personnel have worked around the clock in recent days to repair the O'Hare Blue Line Station," CTA said in a statement. 

The NTSB said the operator admitted to dozing off at the controls as the train pulled into the station.

"She did not awake again until the train hit close to the end of the bumper," investigator-in-charge Ted Turpin said.


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