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Longer and Longer Wait Times at VA Facilities


As veteran patients wait longer and longer for health care in Connecticut, at least one senator’s patience is running out.

“I want answers to the questions that I have raised repeatedly,” U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal said Friday in West Haven, moments after meeting with local officials at the VA hospital there.

Blumenthal says he’s written three letters to acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson since June 1 and has received no response.

Indeed, recent statistics from the VA are troubling. From mid-June to July 1, the number of health care appointments made by veterans in Connecticut decreased more than 4 percent. Despite what might appear to be a decreasing case load, the percentage of those who had to wait more than 30 days to be seen actually increased, from 5.26 percent to 6.08 percent.

The trend from the same period among 141 VA facilities audited nationwide is similar. From June 15 to July 1, the case load dropped 2.7 percent while the percent of those waiting more than a month jumped from 10.29 percent to 10.65 percent.

“These wait times are unconscionable and reprehensible,” said Blumenthal, “They are a disservice to our nation’s heroes, our nation’s finest.”

Blumenthal’s meeting and comments came as NBC received exclusive statistics from the VA in Washington, indicating the numbers of “adverse events” at VA facilities nationwide during the fourth quarter of 2012, all of fiscal year 2013, and the first quarter of 2014.

Respectively, those numbers at the West Haven VA hospital were zero, four, and zero.

A Veterans Affairs handbook from 2012 defines adverse events as “untoward incidents, diagnostic or therapeutic misadventures, iatrogenic injuries, or other occurrences of harm or potential harm directly associated with care or services provided within the jurisdiction of the Veterans Healthcare System.”

Republican Florida Congressman Jeff Miller describes “adverse events” in more glib terms: “…anything from a death to serious injury that can occur because of something that VA did or did not do.”

Miller, who also serves as Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, pointed out that there is not enough disclosure from the VA about the nature or details of such events, and that the price is high.

“There are going to be times when things happen, and learning from errors and mistakes is the best way to move forward,” Miller said. “It won’t change the grief a family may have to suffer, but if you don’t learn from those mistakes, you’re bound to repeat them again.”

Like Blumenthal, Miller was unequivocal in voicing his feelings.

“Interestingly enough, this administration has said they want to be the most transparent administration ever, which has been just the reverse,” he said.

For his part, Blumenthal went on to call the scheduling system a mess, and contracting procedures a morass, saying efficiency must start at the top.

“I’m going to go back to Washington and ask that [permanent VA Secretary-nominee Bob McDonald] be confirmed immediately,” Blumenthal said.

He also said it’s crucial that Congress approve better funding to allow veterans access to private doctors, as well as more physicians on staff at VA facilities.

Some of Blumenthal’s most biting words were aimed at “the VA bureaucrats who aren’t doing their jobs or incompetent, or worse,” whom he says should be fired.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Fla. Gay Marriage Ban Overturned


A Miami-Dade judge has struck down Florida's gay marriage ban, becoming the second Florida judge in a week to find it unconstitutional.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel found that the state's ban, approved by a referendum in 2008, "offends basic human dignity" and violates the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection under the law.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a notice of appeal of the ruling within an hour of the ruling being issued.

“Preventing couples from marrying solely on the basis of their sexual orientation serves no governmental interest,” Judge Zabel wrote in her order. “It serves only to hurt, to discriminate, to deprive same-sex couples and their families of equal dignity, to label and treat them as second-class citizens, and to deem them unworthy of participation in one of the fundamental institutions of our society.”

Florida originally enshrined a ban on same-sex marriage in the state constitution in 2008. Voters approved an amendment that year banning same-sex marriage. Since then, the Supreme Court has overturned the Defense of Marriage Act at a national level and lower-level courts have repeatedly overturned state laws as appeals over state bans moves towards the U.S. Supreme Court.

“At its heart, this case is about the right to marry the person of one’s choice. It is about whether the right to marry can be denied to members of a particular group based upon their sexual orientation, and whether couples and families who have members that fall into that group are entitled to the respect, benefits, and protections which marriage brings,” Judge Zabel wrote.

Zabel put an immediate stay on her order pending the outcome of the expected appeals to be filed by the state of Florida.

Judge Zabel’s order came in a motion for summary judgment in the case Catherina Pareto, et al vs. Harvey Ruvin, and the State of Florida. The summary judgment was granted, giving the plaintiffs an immediate victory.

Pareto and Karla Arguello were one of five gay couples who sued in Miami to overturn Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage. The couples claimed the ban on same-sex marriage violated the equal protection and due process clause, which Judge Zabel agreed with.

Pareto and Arguello have been together for 14 years. At the time the lawsuit was filed, Pareto told NBC 6, "Florida is our home, it is where we are raising our child, and where we want to get married," Pareto said. "Karla and I wish for our family the same things that other families want. We want to build our lives together, provide a safe and caring home for our child, and share in the responsibilities and protections of marriage."

Judge Zabel ruling also said that Article I, Section 27 of Florida’s Constitution is “void and unenforceable.” She also declared the Florida Statutes that prohibit the issuance of marriage licenses “unless one party is a male and the other party is a female is similarly void and unenforceable.”

The ruling also said that the Clerk of Courts should not be prosecuted for complying with the order and that the Clerk of Courts should modify marriage licenses to conform to the ruling.

The ruling from the Miami-Dade Court would apply only in Miami-Dade County. It comes just a week after Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia ruled that Florida’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional.

Judge Garcia’s order was immediately stayed when Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a notice of appeal. Garcia later declined to lift the stay while the case is on appeal.


Stay with NBC6.com for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: AP

Bear Cub Orphans Flood Into Rehab


It's been three months since the adorably cute baby bear Tahoe arrived at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care center, capturing the imagination of hundreds across the country.

The story of her survival – she was mysteriously left on a doorstep one night and transported to LTWC – is a happy one, thanks to her caretakers Tom and Cheryl Millham, who bottle-fed her and looked after her every need.

Now, the Millhams have their hands full with eight new bear cubs at LTWC, the only place in California licensed to care for wild bear cubs. (Correction: An earlier version of this story erroneously stated the LTWC is the state's only wildlife rehab organization.)

No one really knows the reason for so many black bear cubs showing up at once. All the cubs are orphans with one exception, Meyers, who was hit by a car at 5 months old.

"Mom was crossing the street with two cubs behind her, and the car swerved to miss the mom and the second cub but didn't see the first cub," Millham said. 'When we got there we thought it was dead. We picked it up, and it kind of opened its eyes and looked at me like, 'What are you doing?'"

Millham hopes that all nine cubs will be ready to go back into the wild in about seven months.

Until then, this is home.

Tucked away inside a leafy residential street on Cherry Hill Circle in South Lake Tahoe, the center is a haven for sick animals: bears, bobcats, fawns, porcupines, birds – Millham even helped rescue a mountain lion once, but didn't bring it back with him.

"We started because there was a need," Millham said. "It's made a world of difference."

LTWC is getting ready to move to a bigger $10 million, 27-acre space nearby and has already raised $3 million towards it.

The center relies entirely on donations, which funds everything from food — it costs about $800 per week to feed growing cubs — to special cages and medicine.

NBC Bay Area caught a glimpse of the cubs this week as they played with each other inside one of the bear enclosures. Missing from most of the action was Tahoe, who decided she'd rather spend the time hiding in the room next door.

And that's not because she doesn't like humans. "It's because she's likes them too much," said Millham, who is trying to limit any human interaction with her and instead make her socialize with the other bears.

"She sometimes make noises out there — it's kinda like a dog in pain — and we know she's not happy and will not associate with other cubs," he said. "They want to play with her, but she doesn't."

Tahoe is sharing her cage with Bieber 1 and Bieber 2, who hail from Bieber, California, population 312 as of the 2010 census. The cubs saw their mother get hit by a car and killed, and California Fish and Wildlife brought them to LTWC on June 29.

Tahoe makes an appearance toward the very end, lured by the fresh trout lying on the floor. The cubs also eat a ton of fruits -- watermelon, canteloupe, grapes -- for their diet.

Also in the bear cage are two cubs from Conway Summit and one of a pair from Paradise, California. His sister is in a different cage by herself, recovering from gum surgery.

"Our volunteers have named her 'Toothless' because she's missing a tooth," Millham says, adding that they are hopeful it will grow back.

Brockway, the newest arrival, is also in a cage by himself until he puts on some weight. At 11 pounds, Millham says he's still too small to socialize with the other bear cubs. He was found next to the body of his dead mother near Lake Tahoe's north shore.

"It's kind of a double-edged sword here, but we hope that a cub is picked up only because the mom is dead," Millham said. "That's obviously a sad situation — but don't pick up a cub just because it's there by itself. The mom may be somewhere nearby."


For more information on Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care or how to donate, visit their Facebook page or website.

To watch the bear cubs on web cam, click here.


Suspect's Mom Arrested in Burglary


The mother of a man charged with murder stemming from the fatal shooting of his alleged accomplice by a homeowner during a Long Beach robbery has been arrested on suspicion of robbery in connection with the case.

Ruby Adams, 49, of Long Beach, was booked into jail on Thursday night. She is the mother of Gus Polly Adams, a suspect in a Tuesday night robbery that ended with his accomplice getting shot by the homeowner.

The accomplice, Andrea Salina Miller, 28, from Long Beach, was killed after telling the homeowner she was pregnant, which coroner's officials said was not true.

The homeowner, Tom Greer, told NBC4 that he shot the woman twice in the back with his .22-caliber Smith and Wesson revolver as she was fleeing with a male accomplice.

Gus Adams, 26, of Long Beach, was booked into jail on charges of robbery, burglary and murder, prosecutors said. He faces a murder charge in Miller's death because he was allegedly involved in a felony that led to a death, authorities said.

He also faces a gun theft charge because he allegedly stole a gun from Greer's home, according to the felony complaint.

It was not immediately clear whether Adams hired an attorney.

"She says, 'Don't shoot me, I'm pregnant -- I'm going to have a baby.' And I shot her anyway," Greer said. "The lady didn't run as fast as the man so I shot her in the back twice, she's dead ... but he got away."

An autopsy completed on Friday concluded Miller was not pregnant, said Lt. Ed Winter, of the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.

Long Beach police said they are investigating whether Greer should face charges for Tuesday night's shooting in the 3900 block of Country Club Drive.

Even though the woman was running away, Greer said he regards what he did as self-defense.

He said he arrived at home Tuesday night to find a couple in the middle of a late-night break-in when they attacked him.

"When I went in there, they tackled me," Greer told NBC4. "Both of them jumped up on top of me."

At one point, Miller stopped hitting Greer to help Adams break into a safe, police said.

While the suspects ransacked his home, Greer got his gun from another room, returned to confront them and fired his gun while they were still inside his house, police said.

Both suspects ran out, making off with items taken during the burglary. Greer followed them as they ran out and fired again.

Miller was struck by gunfire, fell in the alley, and died, authorities said. Adams got away, but was captured later.

Greer told detectives he believes the suspects broke into his home and stole cash and property three times before, police said. Greer's estranged wife, Dorothy, said on Thursday one of the burglaries happened while she was at home. She saw her jewelry stolen.

But she never expected such violence.

"It's scary," she said. "Either way it goes, it's scary. It was just a bad situation, all the way around."

Greer was treated at a hospital Wednesday for a severe shoulder and collarbone injury.

NBC4's Rosa Ordaz and Gordon Tokumatsu contributed to this report.

Pet Rabbit Among Other Things Stolen During Break-In


A rabbit, jewelry, power tools, art supplies and a Wii were stolen from a North Attleboro, Massachusetts, home this week.

Marissa Legay tells us her father recently passed away from cancer and the home at 40 England Road is in probate.

Legay says she received a call from her brother, who went to the house on Tuesday, saying that the locks were switched. Legay found out Wednesday that someone had broken into the house.

The bedroom window was broken.

The long-haired rabbit's name is Pancakes. The animal is between 3 and 4 years old.

Legay had rescued Pancakes after he was found abandoned in an attic in New Bedford.

Man Critically Injured After Crashing Into Wall


A man was critically injured after his car crashed into a retaining wall in Norwich early Friday morning.

Police responded to 348 W. Thames St at 12:05 a.m. on Friday after receiving several 911 called about a crash.

The car, a black 2005 Mercedes Benz CLK500, was badly damaged and members of the Great Plain Volunteer Fire Department pulled the man who was inside out of the vehicle, police said.

He was originally taken to William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich, but LifeStar transported him to Hartford Hospital.

Police said the man is in critical condition. His name has not been released.

West Thames Street traffic was diverted for more than an hour as police investigated. 

Witnesses told police the vehicle might have been speeding and passing vehicles on the left while heading north on West Thames Street before hitting a stone retaining wall, police said.
Police said they expect to file criminal and motor vehicle charges against the driver of the Mercedes. 

Anyone with information about the crash or any other incident is asked to call the Norwich Police Department at (860) 886-5561.

Resident Injured During New Haven Home Invasion


New Haven police are searching for three intruders who committed a home invasion on Friday morning and pistol-whipped a resident.

Police believe one of the three armed men entered the Whittlesey Avenue home around 3 a.m. by dislodging an air conditioner and opened the door for his accomplices.

The men ransacked the victim's room and stole two cell phones, a PlayStation III, a wireless surround-sound system, cash and a couple thousand dollars worth of Gucci & Prada sunglasses, according to police.

A woman living in an upstairs apartment heard the commotion and called another resident to find out what was going on.

He he was not home, but rushed back and arrived as one of the burglars was coming out of the building, according to police.

The burglar dropped the box of stolen items, warned the other two burglars and all three fled, according to police.

One of the burglars grabbed the box from the driveway, got into a gray Nissan and took off.

A resident of another apartment pursued the burglar and caught up to him as he pulled into the driveway at 246 West Elm Street, but the burglar fired a gunshot into the air, ran into a home, came out a minute later without his hooded sweatshirt and jeans, got back into the car and drove off, police said.

Police later recovered the Nissan in Ansonia, but the burglar was not inside.

The burglars are described as young men, possibly teenagers. One was around 5-feet-6 and weighs about 150 pounds. He has short hair and a goatee and had a black handgun.

The second wore a black T-shirt and pants and had a smaller silver handgun. There was no description of the third man.

If you have information that could help police, call 203-946-6304 and speak with a detective.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Meriden Man Uses Stranger's SSN to Collect Unemployment: DCJ


Meriden man is accused of using someone else’s Social Security number to collect unemployment benefits over more than 10 years.

Mauricio Perez, 38, of Meriden, is charged with one count of first-degree defrauding a public community, felony unemployment compensation fraud and first-degree identity theft.

According to the Division of Criminal Justice, Perez used the Social Security number of a California resident to collect about $68,197 in unemployment benefits from September 2002 and January 2013 when he wasn’t legally authorized to work in the U.S.

He was arrested Friday by Unemployment Compensation Fraud Unit inspectors and was arraigned in New Britain Superior Court. Perez’s bond was set at $20,000. He’s due back in court Aug. 14.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice

Groton Firefighter Layoffs "Public Safety Crisis": Fire Captain


Nine Groton firefighters were laid off this morning despite a fire captain's open letter to the mayor asking her to halt the cuts, which he says will pose a "public safety crisis."

The letter, posted on fire news site pipenozzle.com and republished on the Poquonnock Bridge Fire District's Facebook page, says the layoffs will inhibit firefighting efforts and require firefighters to wait up to 10 minutes for mutual aid to arrive before heading into a burning building.

The cuts represent a third of the department, which covers Groton's largest fire district.

"With the exception of a rescue, if we arrive at a structure fire, we would only be able to stretch one hose line and attempt to fight it from the exterior of the building, or protect the exposure buildings UNTIL two more mutual aid firefighters arrive on scene to meet federal law minimum standards for entry into the burning building," Captain Brian Kiely wrote in the letter.

He says the call for mutual aid and subsequent delay in entry "will be normal everyday operation" after the layoffs.

"This is a public safety crisis for the residents of our district," Kiely wrote. "We protect dozens of multistory/multifamily apartments, condos and hotels putting thousands of visitors and residents at high risk of injury or death from fire in these types of occupancies."

He explains that, with four active firefighters on duty at a time, the department will only be able to send out one ladder truck with a 24-foot ladder, "high enough to reach the second floor only."

Kiely also says limited manpower will pose a problem if multiple incients arise at once.

Since the department covers commercial, industrial and municipal properties, he says the town is liable to suffer a financial blow "due to fire and the loss of use and possibly the long term closing of a major property from fire."

Kiely suggests a supplemental tax to fund the positions scheduled to be cut, then seek "legal remedies" against the fire district board if president Alan Ackley doesn't agree.

"Most importantly, this is a manufactured financial crisis orchestrated by Alan Ackley and his fellow board members, and about 150 residents out of roughly 12,000 residents," he wrote. "They have dismantled the department over the last few years, with no regard for public safety."

According to Kiely, ladder trucks have been taken out of service, a fire station has closed and the department staff has been cut by 45 percent.

"The scary part is this happens Friday with no plan in place to make up for the loss of almost half the department," he said.

Kiely closes the letter by asking the mayor to forward his message to town councilors and the town manager.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Kids Caught Riding ATVs Illegally in East Haven


Two juveniles were arrested and three more were issued juvenile summonses for illegally riding dirt bikes and ATVs Thursday night in East Haven, according to police.

The first to be arrested was a 17-year-old who police caught riding an ATV at Michael Street Park off of Foxon Road, police said. Officers responded to the scene around 6 p.m. and arrested the teen. Police said he damaged the property and was charged with third-degree criminal mischief and third-degree criminal trespassing.

The next incident happened about an hour and a half later, when police encountered a group riding scooters and dirt bikes on Main Street. Police said an 11-year-old boy was driving dangerously near a gas station at the intersection of Townsend Avenue. He was issued a juvenile summons for reckless driving, second-degree reckless endangerment and driving without a license.

Police went back to Michael Street Park around 9:30 p.m. after receiving another report of illegal ATVs. They arrived to find three juveniles riding in the park after hours. All three were issued juvenile summonses for trespassing and one was arrested on an outstanding warrant for disorderly conduct.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Motorcycle Officer Struck While Responding to Emergency Call


A Branford motorcycle officer was struck while responding to an emergency call Friday afternoon, according to police.

Police said Officer Richard Kenney had turned on his lights and sirens and was driving eastbound on Route 1/East Main Street just after noon when a car turned left into his path and the two collided.

Kenney’s motorcycle slid across the road and onto a lawn nearby. He was treated at the scene and taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital for evaluation and treatment. Police said Kenney was not seriously hurt.

Police Chief Kevin Halloran said Kenney’s training and experience helped minimize his injuries.

“Officer Kenney was able to avoid a direct hit by the vehicle by evasive maneuvering and then enter into a controlled slide after contact,” Halloran said in a statement Friday.

The offending driver, Cheryl Dombrowski, 69, of Branford, was charged with failure to grant the right of way from a private driveway and disobeying the signal of an officer.

Photo Credit: Branford Police Department

Torrington Amber Alert Dad Accused of Lying to Police


The father of an infant who was the subject of an Amber Alert out of Torrington last month has been arrested for interfering with police after allegedly lying to detectives about the child’s whereabouts when they searched the house looking for the baby girl and her mother.

Police issued an Amber Alert for 1-month-old Shiloh Gilber-Alfar after she and her mother went missing from Torrington in June. According to police, the Department of Children and Families had obtained temporary custody of the baby girl after Alfar tested positive for cocaine and was found to be a frequent drug user.

The mother and child were later found in Prescott, Arizona, and surveillance video from Bradley International Airport shows Alfar pushing a stroller through the terminal with a man who appears to be the father, 31-year-old William Caicedo.

Caicedo has been charged with interfering with an officer and is being held on $10,000 bond, police said. He’s accused of lying to police when they came to search the house and telling them he didn’t know where the mother and child were.

Later, Caicedo admitted to driving them to the airport on July 3, according to the Register Citizen.

Caicedo has a record of prior convictions on assault, larceny and breach of peace charges, online court records show.

Photo Credit: Torrington Police Department

Silver Alert Canceled for 8-Year-Old From New Haven


Police have have canceled a Silver Alert issued for 8-year-old Jeremiah Manick, who went missing from New Haven today.

Jeremiah is described as a black male with black eyes and brown hair. Police said he is 4 feet tall and weighs 75 pounds.

He wearing a red T-shirt, blue checkered shorts and black shoes when he went missing, according to police.

Police have not released any information on the circumstances surrounding the Silver Alert and its cancellation.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police Department

2 Arrested in Norwich Drug Bust


Tips from the public led officers to a home on Oakwood Knoll in Norwich Friday, where they found more than 70 grams of cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana, according to police.

Jordan Edwards, 28, who lives on Oakwood Knoll, and Laura Finley, 29, of East Main Street in Norwich, were arrested and charged with a string of drug offenses, including possession of crack cocaine and heroin.

Edwards was additionally charged with the sale of crack cocaine and heroin; possession of heroin, cocaine and crack within 1500 feet of a housing project; possession of marijuana and operating a drug factory.

A search of the home turned up drugs, packaging materials and cash, according to police.

Edwards was held on $150,000 bond and is due in court July 28. Finley was released on a $2,500 bond and will appear in court Aug. 14.

Photo Credit: Norwich Police Department

Cross-Country Walker Breaks Silence, Heads Home


Greg Hindy is breaking his silence.

The 23-year-old Yale graduate has just completed a year-long trek from New Hampshire to California. As part of a performance art project, he took photos along the way and didn’t speak a word.

Now, just weeks after his June 9 arrival in Murietta, California, Hindy is sharing the lessons learned and insights gained. And he’s walking home.

Given the condition of his feet, it comes as a surprise.

“I can no longer walk barefoot across a hard surface without pain, and this has been the case the entire year,” Hindy said in an email interview with NBC Connecticut. “The pavement hurts.”

But Hindy said the decision to walk back was less a choice and more a compulsion. It came to him while trudging through Washington state. As the wind whipped his face, he turned his attention inward.

“I went deep into the cracks of my mind, where daydreams are more real than senses, and it was there that I found out that I am supposed to walk back,” Hindy explained. “I cannot honestly remember the events that led to my decision to walk back, except that it was so certain and obvious a decision that it did not seem to be a choice.”

So again, he will walk. But this time, he’ll take a more northerly, direct route and will have the help of modern technology. He’s on the road how heading to Denver and his return trip will again be documented on Facebook.

As for his photographs, Hindy said they are more personal.

“I have a lot of work to do,” he said. “I’ve only just started in photography!”

His images depict people, places and whatever else “made [him] stop and take a second look, and then a third, and then a fourth” and then finally drop his gear and press the shutter.

While Hindy has no immediate plans to display them, he’ll develop the photos upon his return and will send prints to people who helped him along the way. Hindy said it’s his way of saying “thank you.”

His walk is the real exhibition, the public art form, along with the “before” and “after” video compilation he released last week, which have been on display to “an audience on the American road,” Hindy said.

“My process is focused as much on shaping the mind behind the lens as the light coming in through the lens,” he explained.

Hindy said his walk was not about the challenges, tests or moments of fear. In a sense, to focus on the magnitude of the task is to miss the point.

“It was not about the difficulty, shock value or long duration, those concepts miss the point and are distracting,” he wrote. “I walked in silence because it was beautiful. … Anybody who can walk, can walk anywhere, and it will be good for them, like medicine you cannot buy.”

He’ll keep his long hair and scruffy beard for the return trip, which his father Carl Hindy says helps him “fit in more with the people of the road.” What happens is to be determined. Greg Hindy said his goals are more internal than anything.

“As I move forward, my goals as an artist are to be more humble, selfless and patient. But I am young, I have time,” he said. “This project has been a good start because it helped me to find those goals in the first place. And it has helped me to begin to work towards them as well.”

When he arrives, Greg Hindy says he’ll spend time with his photographs, remembering and observing, and take the time to figure out his next step.

“This project has taught me that I want for nothing more than to make artwork. And, I want nothing more from my artwork than to have the resources to make more artwork, and to have an [effect] on the way people think (even if tiny),” he said.

Photo Credit: Carl Hindy

Driver Dies in Norwich Crash


A 27-year-old Norwich resident has died of injuries he suffered in a crash on West Thames Street just after midnight Friday, according to police.

Police said Frank Jones, of Spring Street in Norwich, was driving a Mercedes Benz in the area of 348 West Thames Street when he somehow lost control and crashed. Bystanders saw the accident and called 911.

Firefighters had to extricate Jones from the vehicle, which was heavily damaged, and rushed himto Backus Hospital for treatment, police said. From there, he was airlifted to Hartford Hospital, where he later died.

Jones was pronounced dead around 6 p.m. Friday, according to police.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. No other vehicles were involved.

Anyone with information is urged to call Norwich police at 860-886-5561.

Free State Parks Weekend in Connecticut


Connecticut residents can take advantage of all the state park system has to offer this weekend.

Gov. Malloy and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection have announced “Free State Parks Weekend” – waiving parking and museum fees across the state.

There are also various special events planned, such as a live reptile show Sunday at Stratton Brook State Park in Simsbury, or nature and crafting programs at the Goodwin Conservation Center in Hampton and the Kellogg Environmental Center/Osborne Homestead Museum in Derby.

The weekend is part of an ongoing celebration of the state parks centennial. In 1913, the state formed a State Park Commission, which purchased its first five acres of land in Westport in 1914. That land would eventually become Sherwood Island State Park.

Many parks will offer a free brochure on the history of the state park system and historic photos of the parks.

Connecticut boasts over 32,000 acres of land across 107 state parks, all of which are participating. Even so, Malloy warned residents to expect a busy weekend.

“Many of our parks have been at or close to capacity on nice weekend days this summer,” he said at a press conference Wednesday. “I would urge residents to find and explore a park off the beaten path so they can take full advantage of this weekend.”

DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee suggested checking out the Connecticut State Parks Twitter feed for real-time information about parking capacity and special activities. He also cautioned residents to plan ahead.

“We do advise, however, that you arrive early if you plan to visit one of our beaches on Long Island Sound or an inland lake, as parking lots at those locations can reach capacity quickly,” he said.

More information about weekend events and tips on the best locations for activities at each park are available online.

Photo Credit: Friends of Gillette Castle

6 Shot, Boy Fatally, in Chicago


A 13-year-old boy was killed and at least six more people were wounded in a shooting on Chicago's West Side Friday, authorities said.

The shooting took place around 6 p.m. in the 2800 block of West Lexington Street, near the intersection of Lexington Street and California Avenue, according to police spokesperson Veejay Zala.

Two people were taken in serious-to-critical condition to Mount Sinai Hospital, two others were transported to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County and one person was taken to Saint Anthony Hospital in good condition, fire officials said.

One person was pronounced dead at the scene, and another person refused treatment, authorities said.

Police, along with family and friends at the scene, said the victim killed in the shooting was a 13-year-old boy.

Details on circumstances surrounding the shooting were not immediately available.

Witnesses say some of the victims were young teens, but police could not confirm their ages.

The shooting took place less than 2 miles from where an 11-year-old girl was fatally shot while at a sleepover with friends last weekend.

Check back for details on this developing story.

Photo Credit: NBC Chicago

Fire Breaks Out on Orange Street in New Haven


Emergency crews are responding to a building fire on Orange Street in downtown New Haven, according to witnesses at the scene.

According to witnesses, fire broke out near Christy's Irish Pub, which is on the 200 block of Orange Street.

Video captured by NBC Connecticut viewers shows police and firefighters at the scene, with the area of the pub cordoned off.

Authorities have not confirmed details of the fire. No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Casey Marie and JP

Bystanders Catch Violent NY Robber


Bystanders helped capture a violent robber after he allegedly forced a woman into her Bronx apartment, bound her hands and feet, and took off with cash and valuables, police say. 

The victim was walking into her apartment in Bedford Park Friday evening when the suspect pushed her inside and duct-taped her hands and feet, according to police. He ransacked the place and took off with money, jewelry and a cellphone.

"He just pushed her inside, threw her on her bed, tied her arms, her legs. Took her belongings, put a fake gun to her head, said he was going to kill her," said Katheria Gines, the building superintendent who spoke to the victim immediately after the attack. 

As the suspect ran out of the apartment, the victim rushed to the window and called for help, police said. Bystanders outside the building were able to catch the suspect as he came out of the building and held him for police. 

Video shows several men pinning the suspect against a car as a crowd barricaded the suspect. The apparent victim is also seen yelling for help, with her hands still taped. 

The accused robber "tried to resist, but there's about six guys holding him down, so when the cops came, they got him right there," said Gines, who was outside the building and watched as the suspect got caught. 

Witnesses said the suspect pleaded for them to let him go if he returned the stolen items, but the good Samaritans wouldn't budge. 

"Everybody held him down until the cops came and took him in, and he had all her belongings in a bookbag, in his pockets," said Gines. 

The 29-year-old suspect, identified as Bruce Lee, had an imitation pistol, police said. He's facing charges including robbery, harassment and unlawful imprisonment. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.

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