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Grandpa Was Drunk With Grandson in Car: Cops


A grandfather was drunk and slumped behind the wheel with his 3-year-old grandson in the back seat in Hamden on Sunday night, according to police, and he was arrested after witnesses, including Quinnipiac University students, intervened.

Around 5 p.m. on Sunday, police were alerted to an alleged drunken driver at Dixwell Avenue and Skiff Street and callers said two other cars had “boxed the man in.” Two Quinnipiac University students were in one of those cars.

Prince Hayward, 50, of Goodrich Street in Hamden, was slumped over the steering wheel and his 3-year-old grandson was in the backseat, crying when one of the Quinnipiac students approached the car, police said.

The vehicle was in drive, but Hayward’s foot was on the brake and the car was stopped, so the witness removed the boy and called police, according to a news release from police.

Hayward failed a field sobriety test at the scene, police said, and a standardized sobriety test revealed that Hayward was more than three times the legal limit.

Hayward was arrested, transported to police headquarters and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and risk of injury to a minor.

He was detained on a $5,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court in Meriden on Nov, 13. 

The child is OK and was turned over to the custody of his mother. The Department of Children and Families was contacted, police said.

No attorney is listed on the court docket for Hawyard, no phone number is listed for him and he was not home when NBC Connecticut went to his house.

Photo Credit: Hamden Police

Mystic Aquarium to Release Seal Pup


The Mystic Aquarium is set to release a young harbor seal pup rescued in Maine.

The Connecticut aquarium's Animal Rescue Team and the Marine Mammals of Maine are set to release the pup at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Blue Shutters Beach in Charlestown.

She was rescued from Saco, Maine, on May 30 by Marine Mammals of Maine. She was determined to be an abandoned pup three to five days old and was transferred to Mystic Aquarium for rehabilitation.

She weighed 21.5 pounds when she was admitted and is now nearly double that weight.

Mystic Aquarium invites the public to help celebrate the return of the seal pup to her ocean environment.

Would-Be New Haven Voters Out of Time to Cast Ballots


About 100 would-be voters waiting in line for same-day registration at New Haven City Hall were turned away when the polls closed.

With half an hour left to vote, city officials warned that voters who didn't make it through the registration doors by 8 p.m. may not have the chance to cast their ballots.

Many of those who waited in line Tuesday night are students at nearby Yale University and ended up waiting two and a half hours in vain.

"I'm a little frustrated that time has the ability to disenfranchise me. It's a little ridiculous," said Jake Faber. "We're just so humans, so as long as it's Election Day, we should be able to vote."

Officials traced the line of voters, handing out registration cards in an effort to expedite the process. Volunteers passed out water bottles, apples and sandwiches, and the Yale University men's and women's a cappella groups performed to help pass the time.

Voting in Connecticut has not been a flawless process today. A Hartford judge ruled to extend hours at two polling stations in the city after late delivery of voter registration lists held up ballot casting in the city.

Wolcott also experienced a brief ballot shortage, and voters at one Naugatuck precinct were handed ballots from the 2012 presidential election.

"It was worth it. Exercise your Democratic right. It's OK if it takes a while, but it's an important thing to do," said Yale sophomore Caroline Kuritzkes. "I feel accomplished."

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Naugatuck Voters Receive 2012 Presidential Ballots


A few voters in Naugatuck were surprised to see names like "Barack Obama" and "Linda McMahon" on their ballots Tuesday.

According to a poll moderator, three voters mistakenly received 2012 presidential election ballots as the polling station was opening at Maple Hill Elementary School.

Poll moderator Chris Kuczenski said it didn't take long to catch the error and swap in the correct ballots.

"Not one person cast a vote" using an incorrect ballot, according to Kuczenski, who added that "the ballot would not have gone through the machine."

Kuczenski said it appears two packages of 2012 ballots were not properly recycled and were left in the box where ballots are stored.

She said that in the future, poll workers will arrive 15 minutes earlier to double check the ballots and voters will be kept out until the doors open.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Robbers Steal Cash Register From Convenience Store: Cops


Wethersfield police are investigating a robbery at the Sunoco on the Berlin Turnpike in Wethersfield that happened early Wednesday morning.

Three men robbed the gas station convenience store at 1780 Berlin Turnpike at about 3 a.m., stealing the cash register and fleeing the scene.

Police are on scene.

There was a similar robbery this morning at a Citgo gas station convenience store in Meriden, but it's unknown if the two incidents are connected.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Two Armed Robberies May Be Connected: Cops


Police are investigating whether an armed robbery at a Citgo gas station in Meriden is connected to a similar robbery that happened at a Sunoco in Wethersfield about an hour earlier Wednesday morning.

Two armed men robbed the gas station convenience store at 1015 Broad Street in Meriden just before 4 a.m., police said.

Police are looking for a white Chevy Malibu that may be connected to the robbery, police said.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Esty Re-elected in Fifth District


U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty has been elected to a second term in Congress.

Esty fought a tough battle against Republican Mark Greenberg in the 5th District.

Greenberg called Esty around 10 p.m. to concede.

"I wish him well. I congratulate him, it was a hard-fought race. He's been running a long time, he's deeply committed to this country."

In an email to supporters, Greenberg said he will stay involved, but not as a candidate in the future.

"While my days running for office are over, I will always and forever be an American interested in our country's future, our state's future, and our children's future," he said in the email.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Merrill to File Complaint Over Hartford Polling Problems


After a Hartford judge extended voting hours at two city polling places over early morning snafus, the Secretary of the State's office announced plans to file a complaint with the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

"These were two of the most egregious where people were sent away without any chance to vote," Gov. Dan Malloy said of Districts 1 and 6, which collected ballots through 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. "I'm glad the judge did what he did. I think we've used teh hours that have intervened to use this as a way to drive people back to the polls."

Staff Attorney Ted Bromley notified the SEEC of the impending complaint in an email Tuesday, citing suspected election law violations.

"The situation in Hartford this morning was absolutely unacceptable. Voters in Connecticut rightly expect that when they go to their polling place they should be able to vote without disruption," Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said in a statement Tuesday evening, adding that her office plans to "absolutely invstigate why Hartford was not prepared for Election Day."

"Those found responsible will be held accountable," Merrill said.

Judge Carl Schuman said he decied to extend hours at the two precincts because "it was the ruling of electoral officials, either monitors or registrars, that denied people the opportunity to vote in an alternative fashion when the voting lists were not ready at 6 a.m."

Although at least 10 of the city's 24 polling places were affected by late delivery of registration lists, Schuman said extended voting was not warranted at the eight other locations because poll moderators offered "alternatives," such as checking identification and allowing voters to write their names and addresses on blank sheets of paper.

"Preparing voter lists, printing them out, and distributing them to polling places before the polls open at 6:00 a.m. on Election Day is essential to running an orderly election. Hartford has done this process many times," Merrill said.

"It is unconscionable to our office that the steps were not taken in advance of voters arriving at the polling places this morning, leading some voters to be turned away from the polls and others to leave in frustration. This should never happen in Connecticut or anywhere," she added.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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Governor's Race Still Too Close to Call


The governor's race remains too close to call on Wednesday morning.

But Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy claimed victory in the Connecticut governor's race in a speech to supporters shortly after midnight on Wednesday and GOP challenger Tom Foley responded with a speech that admitted defeat, but was not a concession.

The two candidates alternated the lead back and forth throughout Election Day on Tuesday. As of 6:20 a.m., Malloy was ahead by 3 percent, 23,092 votes.

When Malloy took the stage in Hartford on Tuesday night, he did so amid chants of "four more years."

His campaign said the numbers that had not yet been reported – from largely Democratic-voting cities such as Hartford, New Haven and West Haven – indicated Malloy will officially win re-election within the next 24 hours.

"We don't have the final numbers, but we know what the big numbers are, and we are going to win this thing," the governor said to applause.

The Democratic incumbent faced Republican challenger Tom Foley for the second time this year in one of the country's closest and most personal races of the midterm election.

Minutes after Malloy's victory speech, Foley took the stage in Greenwich to give what he said might have been a concession speech had Malloy given him the opportunity to concede.

"We actually are not sure we've lost the race in the same way he's not sure he's won the race," Foley said, to cheers from the crowd. "Don't get too excited, because we probably have lost this race but I'm not going to confirm that we've lost it until we're sure that we've lost it, and when we've done that, I'll call Gov. Malloy and I'll let him know."

Foley continued on to give what seemed to very closely resemble a concession speech despite saying he has yet to give up.

"Running for office, as you probably know and have witnessed here, is not easy, and I wouldn't recommend it to the thin-skinned or the easily upset," Foley said. "Despite the stresses of running for office and serving in office, I hope that those most qualified to lead will be drawn to run, as I have, and will serve in public office."

Foley thanked his wife, his running mate Heather Somers and the room full of supporters.

“I regret that I will not be able to deliver the change that we have dreamed about and feel would be in the best interest of our great state," Foley said.

He stood alongside Somers and waved to the crowd, who chanted his name.

"We have forecasted the towns and the parts of the cities that haven't yet reported, and it looks to me that if our projections are right, we've probably not won this race, but we're not going to make that final decision until we've confirmed all the numbers," Foley said.

Since some municipalities still have not reported their numbers and Foley has not officially conceded, the race remains too close to call. At 11 p.m., only 7,000 votes separated the candidates, who traded leads throughout the night. As of Wednesday morning, the margin is more than 23,092.

This is the second time the two have done battle in the race for governor. During the 2010 race, voting problems in Bridgeport prompted extended polling hours and days of recounts before Foley conceded to Malloy.

Unaffiliated candidate Joe Visconti suspended his campaign and endorsed Foley during a surprise announcement on Sunday, although his name remained on the ballot. Visconti has garnered about 1 percent of the vote as of Wednesday morning.

Full election results are available here.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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Crews Respond to Vehicle Rollover in Burlington


The Burlington Fire Department is responding to a vehicle rollover at Route 4 and Barnes Hill.

The SUV flipped on its side and officials are urging drivers to avoid the area because of traffic delays. 

Photo Credit: Burlington Fire Department

NYPD Cops Surrender in Teen Attack


Two NYPD officers pleaded not guilty in Brooklyn on assault and official misconduct charges for allegedly punching and hitting a 16-year-old drug suspect in the face with a gun while the teen had his hands up. 

Officers David Afandor and Tyrane Isaac surrendered at the Brooklyn district attorney's office Wednesday, authorities said.

The district attorney's office has been investigating the officers since a video surfaced last month showing them hitting the boy without apparent provocation.

The surveillance footage, which was originally obtained by DNAInfo.com, shows the officers catch up to the teen after a brief chase in Bedford-Stuyvesant. As the suspect stops running one officer throws a punch at his face. Then the other officer hits him with his gun after the teen raises his hands in the air.

The teenager was arrested Aug. 29. Prosecutors said the teen ended up pleading guilty to disorderly conduct and was released.

The teen's lawyer has said officers had no reason to stop him in the first place.

"My client was leaving a friend's apartment, he committed absolutely no crime, he did absolutely nothing wrong, and these officers decided to chase him," said Amy Rameau. "They chased him and they brutalized him."

"You don't get to stop anyone you feel like stopping in the streets when there's no probable cause," she said. 

One of the officers, who are from the 79th Precinct, was suspended without pay last month, and the other was placed on modified duty. The NYPD said Tuesday the matter remains under internal review. 

Attorney for both officers, Stephen Worth, said the video doesn't tell the whole story.

"This is not the first time that police officers have been confronted with so-called damning videotape," Worth said Wednesday. "It's only damning because it lacks the context which the officers and the other evidence will provide."

Photo Credit: DNAInfo.com

Teen Fires BB Gun at Jogger: Cops


A teenager was arrested in Middletown yesterday, accused of shooting a BB gun from a Mercedes at a jogger who he suspected broke into his house, police said. 

The victim told police that that he was running on Westlake Drive on Tuesday when an older-model Mercedes pulled up by him and someone fired from a BB gun,

The jogger was not hit and called police around 7:30 p.m.

Police officers stopped a car in the Highlands neighborhood matching that description and patted down a driver and passenger under 18 and Damien Shavon Dempsey, 18, of Middletown, police said. Dempsey is accused of firing the BB gun from the passengers seat.

When officers asked about the incident, Dempsey told police that he had the BB gun in the car with him during a drive through the area when he spotted the jogger, who he thought had broken into his home earlier. He admitted to police that he fired three shots with his BB gun out the window and told police he wasn't sure if he hit the person.

The two other people in the car weren't "aware of his intent to shoot at the male," Dempsey told police.

Police charged Dempsey with reckless endangerment, carrying a dangerous weapon and having a weapon in a motor vehicle.

Officers seized the BB gun as evidence and held Dempsey on a $25,000 surety bond.

Whisconier Middle School in Brookfield Evacuated


Whisconier Middle School in Brookfield has been evacuated because of an odor of smoke in the building.

The acting superintendent said it does not appear to be anything serious and they are waiting for the fire department to check out the building.

Students are outside the school, waiting for the all clear to be allowed back into the building.

The school is located at 17 West Whisconier Road.

Cheerleader Had Sex With Boy: PD


A former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader and the estranged wife of a prominent Maryland energy executive has been arrested and charged in connection with a sexual relationship involving a 15-year-old boy.

Delaware State Police said Wednesday that 47-year-old Molly Shattuck was indicted Monday on two counts of third-degree rape, four counts of unlawful sexual contact and three counts of providing alcohol to minors.

Shattuck's attorney did not immediately return a call for comment Wednesday and her Baltimore home phone rang unanswered.

Police say a 15-year-old boy reported that Shattuck began an inappropriate relationship with him near Baltimore and that it culminated with sexual activity at a vacation rental home in Bethany Beach, Delaware over Labor Day weekend.

Shattuck is separated from Mayo Shattuck, former CEO of Baltimore-based Constellation Energy Nuclear Group.

Photo Credit: AP/FOX

Animal Heads Found on NY Light Pole


Two skinned animal heads were found dangling from a light pole in Brooklyn's Park Slope Tuesday morning, police said.

The heads, which appeared to belong to a goat or a lamb, were tied to the top of the pole near Ninth Street and Fifth Avenue.

Police got a call about the heads around 11 a.m. They were taken down a short time later

The investigation is ongoing.

Photo Credit: Valeria Gonzalez

Lights Up on Tree on New Haven Green


The holidays appear to be here on the New Haven Green.

The tree is up this morning and city crews began wrapping it with lights.

The annual tree lighting ceremony will happen next month.

It’s set for Thursday, Dec. 4 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., according to the City of New Haven Web site.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

$326M Lottery Ticket Sold in NY


A single $326 million-winning Mega Millions lottery ticket has been sold in New York’s Hudson Valley, officials say.

The jackpot-hitting ticket was sold at a Valero gas station on New York Route 302 in Middletown within the last week, lottery officials say.

The person who bought the ticket has yet to come forward, officials say.

"Whoever purchased this ticket is about to have their life changed forever,” said Gardner Gurney, the New York Lottery's acting director. “Whoever and wherever you are: sign the back of your ticket and keep it in a safe place, and when you’re ready to claim, we look forward to meeting you.”

The winning numbers for Tuesday night's drawing were 9, 15, 34, 39 and 41. The Mega Ball number was 1. 

The initial jackpot was $321 million, but the jackpot was increased because of surging ticket sales in the days leading up to the drawing.

The gas station will receive a $10,000 bonus for selling the ticket.

The lottery purse is short of the record $656 million jackpot that was split between three winners in 2012.

Photo Credit: NBC New York

New Video Out in Abduction Case


UPDATE: Carlesha Freeland-Gaither was found ALIVE in Jessup, Maryland. New details here.

Three days after her abduction off a Philadelphia street, Carlesha Freeland-Gaither's family continued to staple missing posters to poles in the neighborhood where she was taken.

"It's been three days now and nothing. We're just hoping that it doesn't keep going without answers," said Ana Mulero, the woman's grandmother.

"Inside I'm broken. I just want answers," she said.

Answers remain scarce, even as investigators piece together new clues in their search.

The FBI released new surveillance video of the person of interest Wednesday afternoon, as authorities try to find him and the missing 22-year-old victim.

The video was recorded Sunday afternoon, the day of the abduction, at an ACME supermarket in Northeast Philadelphia. Officials went to the store, located at 8200 Roosevelt Boulevard, Wednesday morning and collected the video. They have not said how they were led to the store.

Detectives are asking the public to look at how the man walks with a slight limp, his clothing and shoes and what he purchased. They also plan to run the photos through a facial recognition system in an attempt to identify him.

Local and federal investigators expanded their investigation outside of Philadelphia on Tuesday after learning the man, similar in description to the person captured on surveillance video violently kidnapping Freeland-Gaither, used her ATM card in Aberdeen, Maryland. That happened on Monday less than 8 hours after the abduction and 75 miles south of the scene.

Philadelphia Police named him as a person of interest, FBI agents collected forensic evidence from the bank and a gas station and new surveillance images were released.

Still, his identity remains unclear to authorities and Freeland-Gaither's family.

"Part of me makes me believe that this was random, but part of me when they talked about her ATM card being used in Maryland, it might maybe be somebody that she knows. You know, I'm not really sure," Mulero said.

The person of interest is not familiar to the family, but after watching new video showing the abduction, Freeland-Gaither's mother, Kesha Gaither, believes her daughter somehow knew the man. The video, released Tuesday night, shows the man approach the woman from behind at the corner of Greene and W. Coulter Streets. They appear to shake hands before he lunges and pushes her out of view.

"You see it's clear that, like, she knew him. She had to knew him. It was too calm, he was too calm. Like he timed her. Like he was out to come get her. Like she was his target," Keisha Gaither said.

The original video picks up there. Showing the man pulling Freeland-Gaither down the block and into a waiting gray metallic Ford Taurus. She struggles to get away and busts out the back windows of the car, but can't escape.

Detectives spent several hours Wednesday interviewing Keisha Gaither and other members of the family. They called the interview routine.

Smart, caring and full of life, Freeland-Gaither works as a nursing aide at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center's cancer center, according to her family. They call her a fighter, a trait displayed in the surveillance video of the attack.

"All we want to do is send our granddaughter back. Just send her back," Mulero said.

Mulero and other family members will be back out at the crime scene at 7 p.m. Wednesday to hold a candelight vigil.

The reward for the capture and conviction of her kidnapper has climbed to $47,000 with money put up by the city, FBI, Citizens Crime Commission, Fraternal Order of Police and Philadelphia Federal Credit Union.

Digital billboards with the woman's photo will also be put up along Interstate 95 from Pennsylvania to Virginia with the hope of gleaning some information about her whereabouts, an FBI spokesperson said.

Philadelphia Police are asking for anyone with information to call their tipline at 215.686.TIPS.

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

Photo Credit: FBI
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Plymouth Comptroller Suspended Amid Investigation: Mayor


The Plymouth comptroller has been suspended indefinitely amid an investigation into of “improprieties” in the town finance department, according to Mayor David Merchant.

Merchant, who learned of the issue around 5 pm. Friday, said it dates back to October 2013.

Comptroller David Bertnagel offered an explanation that "did not make sense" when Merchant and town attorney Bill Hamzy confronted him about the allegations the evening of Oct. 31.

Merchant said he suspended Bertnagel indefinitely around 8 o'clock that night.

Town officials are bringing in outside auditors and law enforcement agencies to investigate. Merchant declined to reveal how much money was involved.

"If there's anything I can promise the people of this town, it's that when we emerge from this, we're going to be better and stronger than we were before," Merchant said. "We have policies and procedures that we're changing."

Bertnagel could not be reached for comment.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Arrested While Picking Up Mailed Pot Packages: Cops


A man was arrested when he went to pick up packages containing 12 pounds total of marijuana from his UPS mailbox in Wallingford, police said.

Clifton Knight, 38, of Hartford, was arrested at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday when he got to the store to claim the packages that United States Postal Inspection Services agents had intercepted and deemed suspicious earlier in the day, police said.

Wallingford police responded, as well as a K-9 unit called by state police. Favor, a narcotics detection dog, alerted police to narcotics sensed in both packages, police said.

After obtaining a search warrant, police seized the six pounds of marijuana found in each parcel, as well as $2,000 in cash from Knight's car, according to police.

Police charged Knight with possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and possession of over four ounces of marijuana.

Wallingford police held him in custody on a $250,000. He was scheduled to be arraigned in Meriden Superior Court on Nov. 5.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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