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Fallen Tree Closes Route 167 in Avon


A portion of Route 167 (West Avon Road) in Avon is closed due to a fallen tree.

Route 167  is closed between Woodmont and Dale roads.

It's not clear at this time how long the road will be closed.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com

Water Main Break Closes Route 4 in Torrington


A large water main break has closed Route 4/Migeon Avenue at Riverside Avenue in Torrington and although the main has been fixed, crews are still working to patch the road.

The break occurred around 5 a.m. Tuesday at the highly traveled intersection.

Water from the 10-inch main spurted into the parking lot and basement of the First Congregational Church on Riverside Avenue.

"I pulled around the side of the building, and when I pulled in, our parking lot was just covered in mud," explained pastor Rev. Steven Darr.

Darr said the basement was flooded with six inches of water, and the fire department was called to help pump it out.

Crews were on scene making repairs through the morning and into the afternoon.

The break had been fixed by the afternoon rush, and workers used an excavator to fill a gaping hole left behind in Goshen Road.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Teens Recorded Sex Assault of Drunk Girl on iPhone: DA


Three New Jersey teenagers are facing sexual assault, child endangerment and child pornography charges for allegedly assaulting a girl while she was heavily intoxicated and recording it on an iPhone, prosecutors say. 

The 15-year-old victim was found unconscious on her parents' front lawn in Elmwood Park on June 21, according to Bergen County prosecutors.

She was taken to St. Joseph's Medical Center and found to have a blood alcohol content of .27 percent. The girl later told police she had no memory of what happened that night. 

It wasn't until July 7 that a friend of the victim told her she had seen a video on one of the suspects' iPhones showing the victim engaging in sexual activity with several men while she appeared to be highly intoxicated, according to prosecutors.

The next day, a 17-year-old male acquaintance told the girl that they had engaged in sexual activity in the backyard of a home where two of the other suspects reside, according to the authorities.

She went to Elmwood Park police with her parents and the friend who saw the video, and detectives recovered the video from the suspect who'd allegedly recorded it. 

Two 18-year-old men were arrested July 9 on charges of aggravated sexual assault and remanded to Bergen County Jail, each on $150,000 bail.

Another 18-year-old suspect was arrested July 10 on charges of manufacturing child pornography, endangering the welfare of a child, invasion of privacy and possessing child pornography. He remains in Bergen County Jail on $200,000 bail. 

The 17-year-old suspect was also arrested on a juvenile complaint of aggravated sexual assault, assault on a police officer and resisting arrest. 

All of the suspects have additionally been ordered to stay away from the victim and her family. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Chick-fil-A Breaks Ground on First Connecticut Restaurant


Chick-fil-A broke ground on its first Connecticut restaurant Tuesday.

The chicken fast food chain, most popular in southern states, plans to open first in Brookfield in September, followed by three other locations in Wallingford, Danbury and Enfield. Currently, the closest locations are in Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey.

Brookfield officials joined owner Devon Scanlon, of Brookfield, at the 140 Federal Road restaurant site on Tuesday morning to kick off the countdown to the grand opening.

“Chick-fil-A provides the ideal opportunity to own my own business and have a positive impact on my hometown,” Scanlon said in a statement. “I couldn’t be more excited to bring Chick-fil-A’s freshly prepared food and signature customer service to Connecticut.”

The Brookfield Chick-fil-A will seat 109 people inside, also offering outdoor seating, and patrons can also get take-out orders from the drive-thru. The new location, which is expected to create at least 60 jobs, will also feature free Wi-Fi and an indoor play area that is toddler-friendly.

The first 100 adults to line up for Chick-fil-A on the day of the grand opening will be awarded with one free meal a week for a year in their First 100 celebration. A meal includes a Chick-fil-A sandwich, waffle fries and a medium beverage. More information is available on the Chick-fil-A website. At past First 100 celebrations, patrons have been known to camp out a day in advance with tents and electronics to pass the time.

Scanlon is a Brookfield High School graduate with a bachelor's degree in sports management from Elon University and a master of business administration degree from North Carolina State University. After a career in the hospitality industry, Scanlon decided that opening the first Connecticut Chick-fil-A would by a "good fit for her" after encouragement from her brother-in-law who owns a Tennessee Chick-fil-A, according to a news release.

The Connecticut location will be one of 88 stand-alone locations nationwide. In 2013, many new Chick-fil-A locations reported more than $5 million in annual sales.

Consumer Reports readers voted Chick-fil-A's signature chicken sandwich "tastiest chicken sandwich" in 2014.

You can stay up to date on construction progress and grand opening festivities on the Brookfield Chick-fil-A's Facebook page.

Rain Floods Holding Area, Basement of New Haven Court


Crews are cleaning up at the Elm Street Courthouse in New Haven on Tuesday after heavy rains flooded the basement and holding area. 

The head court marshal said that they have about 4 to 6 inches of water and they are not holding people in the cells because of it.  

ServePro is cleaning it up. There is no health threat to the rest of the building, court officials said. 

Storms, high winds and rain are expected to continue on Tuesday, possibly bringing flash flooding, severe storms and a small chance of a tornado.

If there is severe weather where you are, send photos to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Flooding Closes Ella T. Grasso Boulevard in New Haven


Flooding on Ella T. Grasso Boulevard (Route 10) in New Haven has closed the major road at Interstate 95.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Photo Credit: NBCConencticut.com

Man Charged in Hamden Home Break-In


Hamden police have arrested a man who they said broke into a home and hid in the closet of the master bedroom. 

Police responded to a home on Malcolm Street in Hamden around 11:30 a.m. on Monday after receiving a report of a burglary in progress. 
Moments after police arrived, they noticed damage to a rear window and determined that someone had broken in, police said. 
Officer Michael Nawrocki and K-9 “Hank,” as well as several other officers, searched the home and found Cory Bernardo, 25, of Hamden, hiding in the master bedroom closet, police said. 
Police said Bernardo had rummaged through the resident’s belongings. 
He was arrested and charged with burglary in the third degree, criminal mischief in the third degree, criminal impersonation and interfering with a police officer.

Fairfield, Westport Beaches Closed


The weather is not ideal for a day at the beach.

Compo Beach and Burying Hill Beach in Westport are closed on Tuesday at the direction of the Westport-Weston Health Department because of heavy rains on Monday night.

All public beaches in Fairfield are also closed to swimmers Tuesday. Lake Mohegan will be closed today and tomorrow as heavy storms move in, according to the Fairfield Health Department.

The Westport and Fairfield beaches are expected to reopen on Wednesday. 

Photo Credit: Sam Sagnella

WATCH: Derek Jeter Ad Creates A Buzz


Fans, celebrities, and rivals alike, are tipping their hats to departing New York Yankee Derek Jeter in a new star-studded ad creating a buzz online.
The commerical honoring the all-star shortstop, who will take his final walk off the field this year after 20 seasons with MLB, debuted online Monday, part of Nike's Jordan Brand. The two minute clip has racked up more than 2 million views ahead of its scheduled on-air debut during tonight's All-Star Game in Minneapolis. 
The Jordan Brand ad features Jeter’s wide fan base from sports stars like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan, to entertainers including Jay-Z and Billy Crystal - all paying homage to the award-winning captain. Even Boston Red Sox die-hards and New York Mets’ fanatics cannot deny their admiration for him. 
Jeter is respected not only for his talent, but also his character. “You try to carry yourself the right way. I’ve always tried to do that,” Jeter told NBC 4 New York. “I am who I am. I don’t try to be any different.”
The 40-year-old signed with the company in 1999, and became the first Jordan Brand-endorsed baseball player. He is one of Nike’s longest sponsored athletes, according to the Bleacher Report. The world famous brand also awarded Jeter his own RE2SPECT collection.  
The RE2PECT ad will debut tonight on TV during Jeter’s 14th and final All-Star game. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

007 Is License to Win in Connecticut


Lottery. Connecticut Lottery. Some James Bond fans in Connecticut had a bit of luck on Tuesday afternoon when 007 became the winning number in the Play 3 Day.

According to the payout information in the Connecticut State Lottery Web site, it was a license to win $250 for 171 people.

It's not enough for an Aston Martin, but it will help fill out the wallet.

Three hundred and 20 people won $83.50 for picking the ID number for Ian Fleming’s fictional British super spy.

This is not the first time 007 has been a winner. It’s the sixth time someone has won with this combination since 2003.

Community Helps Thomaston Family Devastated by Fire


A Thomaston family that lost everything in a house fire Saturday is getting a break from community members contributing to a crowdfunding page set up to benefit them.

Fast-moving fire destroyed the home on Hill Road, and although the family of three made it out safely, all their belongings are gone.

"It's just devastating for a family to lose everything," said Daniela Ouellette, who intends to contribute to the fund. "They left with the shirt on their back."

As a member of EMS in Thomaston she was at the fire that destroyed the home of Frank and Mary Mitchell.

"They're alive and well, and that's great," she said. "But to lose everything you have in existence - people want to contribute, they want to help."

The page, at GoFundMe.com, is organized by Lindsey Wiggins. She's dubbed it "A Mitchell Heart Makes a Home," and raised more than $3,400 the first day, more than doubling that the second day.

Hamden Police Search for Driver Who Struck Disabled Woman


Police are searching for the man who struck a disabled woman while driving on State Street in Hamden, then fled the scene.

According to police, a 47-year-old disabled resident was crossing the street Friday morning when she was hit by a Nissan traveling through the area.

The victim suffered a fractured vertebra and several cuts, police said. She was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital for treatment.

Police said the driver, a man, got out of the car and spoke briefly with the victim, then drove off.

Authorities are asking for the public’s help in identifying the driver and said the victim couldn’t provide any additional information about him.

If you know something about the crash call Hamden police Officer Peter Conti at 203-230-4000.

"6 Californias" Bid Aims for Ballot


A campaign to put a measure that would turn California into six distinct states on the ballot has collected 1.3 million signatures, proponents said Tuesday — more than enough to put it on the 2016 ballot if they are all valid.

The news on the controversial idea came via media conference in Sacramento on Tuesday, and on the group's Twitter page. The signatures will need to be verified and certified by the secretary of state. Slightly more than 800,000 valid signatures are needed to place the measure on the ballot in two years.

Venture capitalist Tim Draper and his supporters shave been working hard to take this idea straight to California voters because the plan would require a constitutional amendment.

With California home to 38 million people and the nation's most populated state, Draper said the state has become ungovernable and can no longer meet the needs of its citizens.

Draper has invested $5 million into his efforts to get California split into six states. And while many people have signed on to the idea, most political experts think the chance of it actually becoming reality are unlikely. The latest Field Poll showed that 59 percent of those surveyed opposed the idea.

"I think it's crazy," Linda Parent of San Francisco said early Tuesday morning.

And speaking from Washington, D.C., U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Orange County) said she didn't like the idea either.

“I’ll be voting against that ballot iniative in California," she said. "One of the great things about having a state like ours, is it’s so diverse in people, different industries and economies. I think together we’re the sum of the parts is so more than breaking up the state.”

But John Lane, also of San Francisco, didn't completely write off the idea. "It's a complex issue but an interesting one."

NBC Bay Area political consultant Larry Gerston questions the many potential pitfalls of the plan. How would water be shared among the six new states? Would the state prisons be relocated? How would students who attend University of California schools pay tuition - would they pay out-of-state rates? And would Congress really approve a plan that gave the region 12 senators instead of the current two?

Still, Gerston added, the idea isn't dead on arrival either.

"You wonder if it might pass because so many people are so fed up with government," he told NBC Bay Area in a previous interview. "And even if it only qualifies for the ballot, it still speaks volumes."

Here is how the proposal would divide the state:

  • Northern, rural California would become the State of Jefferson
  • Area from Wine Country and Sacramento to Lake Tahoe would become North California
  • The State of Silicon Valley would run from San Francisco to Santa Clara County
  • Much of the state's Central Valley would become Central California
  • The Los Angeles County basin would be called West California
  • The area from San Diego to the desert in the east would become South California

 NBC Universal's Jennifer Vasquez contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Getty

Groton Considers Developing Airport Area


Groton Town Manager Mark Oefinger knows airports are generally viewed as a positive thing when it comes to economic standing, which is why the town is looking to enhance the space around theirs.

“We look at this as another tool in our tool belt,” said Oefinger.

The town is pursuing the possibility of an airport development zone, aimed at providing tax incentives for businesses to come build in the area.

According to Oefinger, such zones can already be seen across the state at Bradley International Airport and more recently Oxford-Waterbury. When they learned they received the same designation, Groton decide to push the plan further.

Oefinger says the town council was briefed on the idea last week and the response was extremely positive. He says they are now trying to better understand the request process and if it would truly make sense for the Groton-New London Airport.

According to Ofeinger, the potential airport development zone would start from the airport and stretch two miles in all directions, bringing the zone just north of Interstate 95.

“The benefits, the incentive we could offer to a business to locate into these areas would be enhanced,” he said.

While the next steps are still being worked out, tonight the town council is set to vote on bringing in an outside economic development consultant to assist in evaluating the zone and if and how it will boost business in Groton.

Crews Respond to Gas Leak at Tolland Home


Crews from Connecticut Light & Power are responding to a home on Sugar Hill Road after a valve was left on in the house, causing a gas leak, Tolland County Dispatch said.

Sugar Hill Road was closed between Bakos Road and Kendall Mountain but has since been reopened, according to dispatch.

No injuries have been reported and dispatch said the leak is minor.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Google Maps

Crash on I-95 in Stamford Brings Down Tree, Pole


Emergency crews are responding to a crash on Interstate 95 southbound near exit 6 in Stamford that brought down a tree and utility pole, according to police.

The exit 6 off-ramp was briefly closed while authorities responded to the scene, according to the state Department of Transportation.

There has been no word on injuries.

No additional information was immediately available.

Man Throws Sharp Post at Cop: DA


Police shot a 25-year-old New Jersey man who allegedly threw a 6-foot-long sharpened fence post at a police officer's head after he and another officer asked him to put it down, authorities say.

Prosecutors say two Jersey City police officers from the Emergency Services Unit were on patrol near Martin Luther King Drive around 2:30 a.m. when they saw the fence post-wielding man in front of a house.

The officers pulled up next to the man and ordered him to drop the post, but prosecutors say the man allegedly starting hitting their truck with it instead, then threw it through the passenger window, hitting one of the officers in the head. 

The man then allegedly reached into the truck through the passenger window, grabbed the barrel of one of the officer's rifles and tried to pull the gun out of the window. A struggle ensued, and the gun discharged into the passenger side door, prosecutors said.

Authorities say it is believed that the rounds went through the passenger side door and hit the suspect. Both officers got out of the car and ordered him to the ground, but he allegedly refused to comply and hid his hand in his waistband as if he had a gun. 

When the man wouldn't show his hands, one of the officers shot him. He was taken into custody and transported to a nearby hospital, where he was to undergo surgery. Authorities say the man is expected to survive. 

The two police officers were also being treated, one of them for a head injury suffered when the fence post was thrown through the truck window.

Any pending charges against the suspect weren't immediately clear.

SWAT teams were on hand to assist in the investigation.

Jersey City has been on edge since the fatal shooting of a rookie police officer at a Walgreens over the weekend. Melvin Santiago was shot and killed by a 23-year-old man as he responded to a call about an armed robbery at the drugstore. His funeral is scheduled for Friday.

Police shot and killed the suspect.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

Woman Arrested After Stealing Son's Ashes: Police


Bridgeport police have arrested the 21-year-old woman accused of stealing her son's ashes from a city funeral home earlier this year.

Raisa Gonzalez is accused of stealing an urn containing the ashes of her 7-month-old son, who passed away in Puerto Rico in October 2013 and was returned to Bridgeport for cremation.

Police said Gonzalez allegedly stole the ashes from the secretary's desk at the Luz de Paz funeral home on East Washington Avenue.

According to police, Gonzalez asked to speak with the funeral home director and made off with the urn while the secretary was looking for him.

The funeral home filed a larceny complaint in March. Police said Gonzalez had not paid in full at the time she took her son's ashes.

Police obtained a warrant for her arrest at the beginning of April. She was taken into custody at July 13 at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville and charged with conspiracy to commit fifth-degree larceny, according to police.

Bridgeport police said Gonzalez had several outstanding warrants from the Mohegan Sun Tribal Police but did not elaborate on the charges.

Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police Department

8 Bodies Found in Evicted Mortuary


Eight bodies were found in varying stages of decay at a Fort Worth funeral home whose operator was being evicted, police said.

The bodies found in the Johnson Family Mortuary belong to people ranging in age from infant to adult, police said. It is not clear how long they were in the funeral home.

The building's landlord had evicted the business' owners two weeks ago, but when the landlord checked on the building Tuesday morning, he found the unattended bodies inside, police told NBC 5.

The landlord contacted police, who then began investigating possible felony abuse of corpse.
Police said the facility did not have any refrigerated rooms, but the building did have working electricity. State regulations require refrigeration for bodies kept longer than 24 hours.

The bodies were removed later Tuesday by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office, which will identify the remains and notify the families.

The Johnson Family Mortuary's owner, Dondre Johnson, maintains he did nothing wrong.

"Business as usual, until our landlord came today and said he wanted to put us out," he said.

Yvonne Stewart said her family hired the funeral home in April when her aunt, Helen Jones, 70, died of lung cancer.

“We paid for the cremation so it’s not about the money,” Stewart said. “But now, where is my aunt?”

Stewart said the family was unable to reach anyone at the mortuary in the weeks after the funeral.

“Nobody’s here,” she said. “Nobody’s answering the phone.”

On Tuesday, she said, the Tarrant County medical examiner’s officer informed the family that Jones was possibly one of the bodies found inside.

"It’s sad you could do somebody like that," Stewart said. "That’s wrong. People don’t have any respect for the dead anymore."

Johnson said the bodies were properly cared for, and many people in the community came to the business' defense, saying the owners are good people.

Still, NBC 5 has learned they have several complaints against them from the Texas Funeral Service Commission.

"You can have a complaint and go there and get past that," Johnson said.

Now, some former customers wonder about the care of their loved ones.

"I want to know if my mama is resting in peace, and I really don't know that,” said Malette King.

There have been no arrests or charges in the case, and police say the investigation is continuing.

The Johnson Family Mortuary is located at 1051 South Handley Drive in east Fort Worth.

Anyone who believes they may be the next of kin of one of the eight deceased persons found at the funeral home should call the medical examiner's office at 817-920-5700, extension #5.

Court records show Dondre and Derrick Johnson lost a lawsuit filed in 2010 for not paying $159,730 in rent at another funeral home in south Fort Worth.

NBC 5’s Don Peritz Jr. contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

Girl, 8, Robbed While Selling Candy


An 8-year-old girl selling candy outside a store in San Francisco was assaulted and robbed Monday by a woman who said she needed money for a bus fare, police said.

The girl was selling candy with other children outside a store in the City's Western Addition neighborhood, near Divisadero and Eddy streets, about 1:45 p.m. Monday when the robbery took place.

Surveillance video shot by the store’s security camera shows the young victim and the suspect crossed paths minutes before the attack, according to police. The footage appears to show the girl and two of her friends inside the store holding candy and cash for a school fundraiser while the suspect tried – unsuccessfully – to buy a beer.

“The kids had the money in a clear plastic bag, so you can see all the [$1 bills] in the bag,” SFPD Officer Gordon Shyy said.

Within five minutes of the video being recorded, police say the 8-year-old was robbed outside the store.

“The suspect asked for change for the fare for a bus ride and ended up grabbing the child’s arm and twisting it until she let go of the bag of money,” Shyy said.

The woman grabbed the money and fled on a 24 Muni bus, police said.

The woman, described as being between 40 and 50 years old, was last seen wearing a black skirt and an orange shirt.

The girl was not injured in the robbery, police said.

Neighborhood residents said it’s not unusual to see kids selling fundraiser goodies on the street.

“There are a number of schools around here and the kids are always selling cookies, candy and all of us in the neighborhood try to help them out and support them because they’re great kids and there are good causes,” George Dougherty said. ”So it’s really sad that someone would take advantage of that.”

The suspect had not been found as of Tuesday afternoon, according to police. 

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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