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Oil Tanker Flips Over in Ellington


Emergency crews helped rescue the driver of a tanker carrying heating oil after it tipped over Wednesday afternoon in front of the fire department in the Crystal Lake section of Ellington.

Firefighters cleaned up a small fuel spill after the tanker rolled over outside the station around 2 p.m. at 316 Sandy Beach Road.

"I was just sitting upstairs, hanging out, and it sounded like a plow truck hit the building," explained Shannon Bennett, of the Crystal Like Fire Department.

State police are asking residents to stay off the roads if at all possible.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Tractor-Trailer Crashes Into River Off Route 8 in Beacon Falls


The right lane of Route 8 southbound is closed between exits 24 and 25 in Beacon Falls after a tractor-trailer slid off the road and into the Naugatuck River, according to state police.

Wreckers are at the scene, and police said the entire highway will likely need to be closed when rescue crews pull the truck out of the water. Police said the driver was not hurt.

As of 3:50 p.m., traffic was slow moving but getting by along the southbound shoulder, according to police.

Avoid the area if possible.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Driver Breaks Into Business, Hides in Basement After Crash: Cops


Police have arrested the driver who ran from a rollover crash in Simsbury on Wednesday morning, then broke into a business and hid in the basement.

According to police, Fred Mojica crashed on Hopmeadow Street/Route 10 near the intersection of West Street/Route 167 around 7:30 a.m.

He ran from the scene and broke the window of a commercial building at 10 Mill Pond Lane, half a mile from the crash site, where he hid in the basement, police said.

Employees were evacuated from the building while authorities searched for Mojica.

He was arrested and charged with third-degree burglary, possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia, second-degree criminal mischief, interfering with an officer, evading responsibility and unsafe passing.

Mojica was released after posting $11,500 bond and is due in court Dec. 11.

The 600 block of Hopmeadow Street was closed for a couple hours while authorities investigated.

Photo Credit: Simsbury Police Department

Fire Displaces 10 People in Hartford


Ten people in two families were forced from their homes Wednesday afternoon when fire broke out at 80 Prospect Street in Hartford.

Fire officials said the flames were contained to the basement of the building but the first and second floors suffered smoke damage.

Authorities are investigating to determine the cause of the fire.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Teens Rob Clothing Store at Gunpoint: Cops


Police have arrested two teens accused of robbing a clothing store in New Britain at gunpoint Wednesday morning.

A bystander reported seeing two masked men wearing hooded sweatshirts running into the Rainbow clothing store at 218-220 East Main Street around 9:30 a.m. Moments later, authorities received a call from a store employee saying he had been robbed at gunpoint, according to police.

Police identified the suspects as Terek Lockhart, 18, and Elijah Brown, 19, both of New Britain. Authorities said they stole money from the shop and ran from the scene.

Police tracked down Lockhart and took him into custody near the intersection of Spring and Winter streets. Brown was apprehended near East Main Street and the Truman Overpass.

Authorities searched them to find money stolen from the store, as well as a knife, fake gun and brass knuckles, according to police.

Both teens are charged with first-degree robbery with a firearm, conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery with a firearm, second-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit second-degree larceny.

They were each held on $250,000 bond.

Photo Credit: New Britain Police Department

Officer Kills Suspect After Chase


Lewisville police are investigating an officer involved shooting on Wednesday afternoon.

Investigators said the shooting happened after a series of events.

They said a suspect stole a car from Highland Village, and then went to the Cracker Barrel on Interstate 35 and Fox Avenue, where he apparently had a road rage altercation.

Police started chasing him, and said he then crashed into a car on East Round Grove Road and Rockbrook.

Drivers went over to help the woman whose car was hit, and she had to be taken to the hospital.

Police said the suspect ran from the crash into the parking lot at a RaceTrac gas station, carrying a shotgun.

He allegedly tried unsuccessfully to take one car, and then got into another one, owned by Erica Montes. She had just finished pumping her gas, saw him coming with the gun and hid behind her car.

“I was very scared. I didn’t know if he was going to shoot at me or grab me because the police had already surrounded him,” said Montes.

Other drivers were ducking for cover.

“At one point I was down in my car because I did see him running around with a shot gun, and I didn’t know which way he was going to go,” said Katy Gallagher.

That’s when shots were fired.

Police said the suspect fired, and they shot back. He was taken to the hospital, where he later died.

The name of the suspect has not been released.

2 Teens Charged in New Haven Gun Battle


Police have arrested two teens involved in a New Haven gun battle during which one person was shot.

The 17-year-old victim, who was shot in the knee, told authorities he was heading to a house party on Orchard Street in New Haven when he passed a group of people dressed in black and heard gunfire Nov. 22, according to police.

Police said they found the victim at the Davenport Deli at 200 Davenport Avenue. The teen lives in the city’s Newhallville neighborhood and is currently on parole for drug and weapon charges.

Authorities arrested a 17-year-old from Hamden who admitted to carrying a stolen handgun. He was taken into custody Wednesday morning and charged with first-degree assault, unlawful discharge of a firearm, carrying a pistol without a permit and reckless endangerment.

Police also arrested 18-year-old Tyrence Perry, of New Haven, who they say was walking with the victim at the time of the shooting and returned fire. Perry has been charged with carrying a pistol without a permit, unlawful discharge of a firearm and reckless endangerment.

Stepfather Killed Missing Mom: DA


The search for Jessica Padgett, a missing mother and newlywed from Northampton County, came to a stunning end the day before Thanksgiving when investigators announced she'd been murdered by her stepfather.

District Attorney John Morganelli said Gregory Graf admitted he shot Padgett in his home and disposed of her body. The motive appears to be sexual assault, Morganelli said.

Padgett, a mother of three, was last seen Friday when she left her job at the Duck Duck Goose day care center in Northampton. She told co-workers she was going to run errands, but never returned.

The 33-year-old woman's car was found less than a mile away in the parking lot of a Dollar General store. Her cellphone and keys were inside.

"I just want my sister found," said Jeremy Graf, sobbing just hours before being told her body had been found on their parents' property on Covered Bridge Road in Allen Township.

Padgett had a second job working for Graf's company, Distinctive Fence, located on the same property where he and Padgett’s mother live. Investigators believe Padgett went there Friday to use the fax machine.

"During an interview with the investigators he [Graf] did admit that he intentionally and knowingly caused the death of the victim at his home," Morganelli said, adding the crime may have been premeditated. Surveillance video shows a man prosecutors believe is Graf, dropping his truck off in the Dollar General parking lot Friday morning. Later in the day, Morganelli said Graf returned to the parking lot in Padgett's SUV, parked it and drove off again in his truck.

Family and friends had launched an intense search effort for Padgett, and started a Help Find Jessica Padgett on Facebook which had close to 7-thousand followers on Wednesday. The victim's sister, Kristi Davis, posted this message:

"We are devastated by the loss of Jessica. she was a beautiful, vibrant young woman who was beloved by her family and friends. The world shines less bright today." 

Greg Graf was one of the 7-thousand people following that Facebook page.

The 53-year-old man was in police custody Wednesday night, facing murder charges.

State Seeks Ways to Reduce Traffic on I-95


The Connecticut Department of Transportation is conducting a study to brainstorm ways of easing congestion along the busiest stretch of Interstate 95 from New Haven to New York.

Suggestions include adding E-Z Pass toll lanes to I-95 or creating a paid express lane that would require drivers to pay a fee.

Some drivers suppor any plan to cut back traffic.

“I think that's a good idea just to reduce on the traffic that's not getting off exits and they're just trying to make the straight distance,” said Olivia Palmer, who lives in Bridgeport.

Others wonder how it would work. Right now, the Department of Transportation is considering the suggestions and working to determine the cost. The projected changes would need to be approved through the state legislature.

“There's always the money factor for everybody, but also two, where are they going to put the room for the other express lane,” said Kurt Lauritzen, who lives in Madison.

The study is set to be completed in early 2015.

Firefighter Hurt Battling 2-Alarm Blaze in Waterbury


A firefighter was injured while battling a two-alarm fire at a three-story apartment building on Oakville Avenue in Waterbury, according to police.

The fire broke out this afternoon at the Hilltop Tower at 279 Oakville Avenue, police said.

Everyone made it out of the apartment building safely, according to the fire chief, but a firefighter broke his finger or his hand while responding. 

One apartment unit sustained fire damage and surrounding units suffered smoke damage, according to the fire department.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Manchester Road Race to Be Held as Scheduled


Despite the snow, the Manchester Road Race is a go for Thanksgiving Day.

But the weather is making it more difficult for organizers to get everything ready. Nearly 15,000 people are expected to race starting at 10 a.m.

“The biggest challenge seems to be the number of people that we require to setup our race and those people are going to be pulled away because they have to go and plow snow for the people of Manchester,” said Tris Carta, president of the Manchester Road Race committee.

Public works crews will go straight from snow removal to race setup. Some are expected to work 30 hours straight to get everything ready for runners and spectators.

“We’re going to make sure the road is cleared of snow. The runners are going to have a great experience down here in Manchester. One of the challenges we’re going to have is getting the sidewalks cleared,” said Mark Carlino, director of Manchester Public Works.

Because town workers are tied up dealing with the snow, race organizers expect to now have to pay extra for help with setup. That could impact the amount of money given to charities from the race proceeds.

“If expenses are a little more this year we might not be able to give out so much at the end,” said Carta.

Organizers say the race will only be cancelled if the governor declares a State of Emergency for Thursday. They’re asking people to arrive early, especially because parking might be an issue.

Holiday Shoppers Head Out Despite the Snow


The snow didn't deter some holiday shoppers on Wednesday.

In fact, some used the day to get a head start hoping to beat crowds later this week.

“I wanted to beat all the craziness and I just came to get a few things," said Laura Silvay, who was shopping in Manchester, "and of course I ended up with a ton more.”

That craziness will start even earlier in Manchester this year, with the Shoppes at Buckland Hills slated to open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

“I bought some food for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving and some extras. It’s the first time I’ve been out in the snow,” said Kevin Ritchie.

Westfarms Mall is also opening at 6 p.m. tomorrow.

Winter Weather Causes Holiday Traffic Jams on I-95


Interstate 95 was jammed up Wednesday with drivers hitting the road to get to their holiday destinations on what is typically the busiest travel day of the year.

“I'm going up to Manhattan to pick up my daughter from school for the holidays,” said Joe Desrosiers, who was traveling from Coventry, Rhode Island.

Along the shoreline, the earlier people got on the road, the better. Lori Ireland tried to head out as early as possible Wednesday while traveling from Hyannis, Massachusetts, to New York.

“I took the very first ferry off of Nantucket, but I don't think it was early enough. I wish I had another hour,” said Ireland.

Conditions deteriorated as the day wore on and the winter weather moved south. Roads became slushy and slick, and it wasn't long before the backups started along I-95.

Those who needed to be on the road Wednesday had a piece of advice for their fellow drivers.

“It hasn't been bad at all, just take your time and just stay off the phone,” said Kurt Lauritzen, who was driving to Bridgeport from Madison.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Bank Robber Caught While Driving With Child: Cops


Police have arrested the man accused of robbing a bank in Willington and said he had a child in the car when they caught him.

According to police, the suspect wore a scarf over his face while robbing the First Niagara Bank at 11 Phelps Way on Wednesday afternoon.

He demanded money from a bank teller, then ran to a nearby parking lot and got into a pickup truck that headed toward Interstate 84, police said.

Just 15 minutes later, troopers received the report of a truck matching the description of the getaway car. They tracked the car to I-84 near exit 68 in Tolland, where a detective stopped the truck and took the suspect into custody at gunpoint, according to police.

Police said an underage girl was in the car with the suspect and was turned over to her mother.

The suspect has not been publicly identified. He was formally charged at State Police Troop C barracks and was held on bond.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

20 Thieves in Chicago Robbery


Thieves made off with shoes and jeans after smashing a vehicle into a business in Chicago's West Garfield Park neighborhood early Wednesday, police said.

Officers responded to a report of a burglar alarm at a business in the 4000 block of West Madison and found a vehicle crashed into it. From NBC Chicago's helicopter, a red Dodge Caravan could be seen completely inside the building.

Police later said the vehicle had been used in a smash-and-grab style burglary, with thieves getting away with merchandise from the "Cisco NYC" store. Surveillance video recorded during the heist showed about 20 people taking part in the raid.

No one was at the scene when officers arrived, and no injuries were reported, police department spokeswoman Ana Pacheco said.

No arrests were reported as of 10 a.m.

Police on Tuesday released surveillance video recorded during last week's smash-and-grab burglary at the Louis Vuitton store at an upscale mall in Northbrook.

Three high-end retailers were targeted in September, at Luxury Garage Sale in Old Town, Moncler on Oak Street and Louis Vuitton at a mall in Oak Brook. Investigators said earlier they believe the break-in at the Moncler store is connected to the heist at Louis Vuitton in Oak Brook.

Earlier this month a stolen minivan was crashed into the Salvatore Ferragamo in the Chicago Premium Outlets Mall in Aurora, causing more than $20,000 in damage.

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Two-Alarm Fire Reported in Orange


Emergency crews are responding to a second-alarm fire at 129 Russell Avenue in Orange, according to police.

It's not clear if anyone was inside at the time the fire broke out.

Police said the road is currently open to traffic.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Conditions Deteriorate as State Sees Second Round of Snow


Winter weather spanning most of the state has caused countless crashes on Connecticut roads and thousands of power outages on what's typically one of the busiest travel days of the year.

Snow that turned rain in parts of central Connecticut and south of the I-84 corridor this afternoon is changing back as temperatures drop. Expect snow across most of the state through midnight, when flurries will begin to taper off.

By the time the storm is over, the northern and western parts of the state could receive up 12 inches of snow or more. Parts of the northwest corner, including Norfolk, Hartland, Barkhamsted and West Granby, will see snow totals in the double digits.

A band of 4 to 8 inches is expected inland along the Interstate 84 corridor, and although rain will turn to snow in the south, minimal accumulation is expected along the shoreline.

The roads will ice up overnight as temperatures dip into the upper 20s inland and hover around 30 degrees along the shoreline. Icy conditions could impact Thursday morning travel and provide slippery footing for Thanksgiving Day road races.

Driving conditions have continued to deteriorate throughout the day, and numerous crashes and spin-outs have been reported across the state.

Shortly before 3 p.m., a tractor-trailer driving on Route 8 in Beacon Falls crashed down an embankment and into the Naugatuck River. Around the same time, a driver was hospitalized for treatment of an arm injury after losing control of his car on North Sterling Road in Moosup.

Emergency crews addressed a major gas leak after a car struck a gas line in Portland earlier today, and in Torrington, a fire truck got stuck on Burr Mountain Road.


Thousands of power outages have been reported around the state, primarily in the northwest hills, where heavy, wet snow is weighing down trees. According to the Connecticut Light and Power outage map, 78 percent of the town of Sharon lost power for a time this afternoon.

State offices closed at 12:30 p.m. and the governor ordered all second-shift state employees who are designated as "nonessential" not to report to work Wednesday. The state Department of Transportation also canceled all scheduled roadwork for the day, according to the governor's office.

Before the snow started to fall, several schools canceled classes for the day, while others, such as the University of Connecticut, decided to close early. University of Connecticut campuses, with the exception of the health center, closed at 12:30 p.m. The Connecticut College admissions office closed at 4 p.m.

Some schools have also gone so far as to postpone football games scheduled for Thanksgiving Day, including the game between Shelton and Derby high schools, which has been postponed to Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Shelton High.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo closed I-84 to commercial vehicles between the Connecticut.

During a news conference on Tuesday, Malloy urged people to stay off the roads through the height of the storm. If you have to travel, Malloy advised using mass transit, such as Metro-North, if possible. The railroad began adding service as of 1 p.m. today.

Flying is another option, but you should check with your airlines, because nearly two dozen flights at Bradley International Airport have already delayed or canceled.

Winter storm warnings are in effect for the northern part of the state, including Hartford, Litchfield, Tolland and Windham counties, through 7 a.m. Thursday.

The National Weather Service has cancelled warnings issued of the northern portions of Fairfield, Middlesex and New Haven counties, which remain under a winter weather advisory.

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Slushy Conditions Raise Concerns About Icy Roads in Waterbury


The city of Waterbury is most concerned about ice on Thanksgiving after a day of sleet, snow and rain on Wednesday.

"The trucks will be out there to sand and treat the roads, plow off anything they might have to plow off," said David Simpson, director of the Waterbury Department of Public Works.

Simpson said the department sent out 35 pieces of city equipment after 9 a.m. Wednesday and pre-treated the roads before the snow started up around 10 a.m.

The department ramped up that effort to 48 trucks around midday and is monitoring the forecast into Friday to see what the weather brings.

"Anything that's covered is slushy, and that slush, when it gets between your feet or the tires, will become slick," Simpson added.

That slush is coating every surface in the city, including Samantha Wilson's driveway on Oak Street. Wilson said she just wants to be able to get out in the morning.

"Either that or it's all ice by the time I get up," she said. "I don't mind the cold. I just hate the snow and the rain."

Neighbors down on Oak Street also spent the evening shoveling sidewalks to ensure they didn't freeze up as Thanksgiving rolls around.

"My husband is out there," said Mary Fischer, of Wolcott, who is spending the holiday at her sister's house. "He was out there a few times today shoveling. We're keeping a good eye on it because we're expecting our family to come tomorrow."

Waterbury officials said they're grateful schools are closed Thursday and Friday so they can finish their cleanup in time.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.

Heavy Snow Across Litchfield Hills


Cities and towns across the Litchfield Hills found themselves with a Thanksgiving Eve snow day. As it packed the ground and piled up high in Colebrook, neighbors saw 10 inches of snow with flakes continuing to fall.

In North Canaan it looked more like late December than November as reindeer lit up the white ground. Snow packed roads and trees, gathering nine inches there. A few people ventured out including Richard Crump who found himself without power and in need of gas.

"Tree came down in East Canaan and looks like the lights are out so got to get the generator fired up," said Crump.

The heavy snow has tree branches bending down low with some even breaking, which is an important reminder to look up for hazards too.

"I heard something snap, and I thought it was above me. I ran from the tree. And it was actually the next tree, and it caught me in the back," said Crump.

Snow piled up high in East Hartland. As night closed in, residents found themselves counting up a total of nine inches of snow.

Over in Barkhamsted, Eric Landi was out late snow blowing his driveway for Thanksgiving guests arriving on Thursday.

"It's typical New England. This is nothing unusual for us," said Landi. "It's just another day. It happens to fall the day before Thanksgiving, but what are you going to do?"

In Barkhamsted residents saw ten inches of wintry weather.

The place that hit the jackpot was the "icebox of Connecticut" in Norfolk, which welcomed just under a foot of cold, wet snow.

Toddler Inspires Disney Petition


A San Francisco family traveled to Disney's Southern California Headquarters Wednesday to deliver a petition with more than 75,000 signatures calling on Disney to create characters with Down syndrome and other disabilities.

Keston Ott-Dahl created the petition in honor of her 15-month-old daughter Delaney, who has Down syndrome.

"I want the world to change," Ott-Dahl said. "I want Delaney to grow up in a society where she knows there’s a place for her and she’s part of society and she’s loved and appreciated."

Ott-Dahl's Care2 petition asks Disney to fight back against stigmas by representing children with disabilities in their animated films.

Ott-Dahl's partner and two daughters — both dressed as Disney Princesses — joined her in Burbank to deliver the petition that has drawn media coverage across the country.

Disney has responded to the petition, saying the studio is "committed to continuing to create characters that are easily accessible and relatable to all children."

While the Ott-Dahl family believes Disney does a good job of teaching children moral lessons, they hope the company will realize "every little girl wants to feel like a princess" and will give the family a "firm commitment" to represent children with disabilities.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV
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