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Car Veers Off I-91 in Cromwell, Down Embankment


A driver veered off I-91 north and down an embankment in Cromwell Wednesday morning, causing delays in the area.

Firefighters helped remove the driver from the car safely after the accident at exit 22, just beyond the Route 9 split.  The driver was not injured.

The crash has since been cleared.

Follow NBC Connecticut traffic reporter Heidi Voight on Twitter (@HeidiVoight) for more updates on the roads and any crashes.

Photo Credit: CT DOT

Overheated Brakes May Have Sparked Truck Fire: FD


A tractor trailer caught fire in Enfield Wednesday morning.

The driver noticed flames just after the truck returned to Advanced Auto Parts on Shaker Road from making deliveries and was able to get out of the vehicle unscathed.

Enfield fire officials are investigating the fire, but said that the rear brakes overheated, so firefighters believe that may sparked the blaze.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Wet, Slushy Roads Cause Problems on Morning Commute


The morning commute has been messy Wednesday morning after a storm left behind slush- and ice-covered roads.

There is a crash on Route 2 eastbound in Bozrah.

A car was facing the wrong way on Interstate 91 south near exit 6 in New Haven after a crash just before 7 a.m. The left lane is closed as a result.

A car crashed into a snowbank on Route 15 northbound at exit 53 just before the Sikorsky Bridge before 7 a.m.

In Tolland, a car rolled over on Buff Cap Road at Chardonnay Lane just after 6:30 a.m. There were no injuries reported.

West Hartford Public Works Director John Phillips reported that a catch basin overflowed on North Main Street in town. The southbound lanes are closed at Wyndwood Drive, but he expects that will be cleared soon.

A breakdown on the exit 13 ramp on I-95 south in Darien was blocking traffic just after 6:15 a.m.

In Cromwell, a car veered down a snowy embankment on I-91 north at exit 22, causing delays earlier in the morning, but that was cleared just after 6 a.m.

In Enfield, the exit 49 ramp on I-91 north was closed due to a rollover crash.

There was also a crash on Rt. 72 east at exit 7 to Corbin Avenue in New Britain just after 6 a.m.

At about 5 a.m., crews responded to a crash on I-91 north at exit 8.

A car crashed into a snowbank on I-91 south in Windsor at exit 38A/B at about 5 a.m.

There was another crash in Trumbull on Rt. 25 near where it meets with Rt. 8 north at exit 7.

Leave extra time for your morning commute and drive slower to adjust to the slushy, wet road conditions.

Follow NBC Connecticut traffic reporter Heidi Voight on Twitter (@HeidiVoight) for more updates on the Wednesday commute.

Photo Credit: CT DOT

6 Displaced After House Fire in Waterbury


Six people are displaced after a house fire on Wilkenda Avenue in Waterbury on Wednesday morning.

Officials said the fire started in basement and moved up. The cause is still under investigation, but it might have started with the dryer as the family was drying a child's clothing.

Five adults and one child have been displaced, according to family members. They were all able to get out of the house and no on was hurt.

The American Red Cross is assisting with emergency housing, food and clothing.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Merritt Parkway North Reopens in Fairfield


Police closed the northbound side of the Merritt Parkway at exit 44 in Fairfield after a crash this morning, which led to major delays both directions.

State Police shut down the road to allow fire crews onto the highway, but it has since reopened.

Boston Bombing Trial: What to Know


Nearly two years after bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring more than 260 others, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is going on trial in the city, accused of making the bombs with his brother and detonating them in a crowd of spectators cheering on the runners.

Tsarnaev, who has pleaded not guilty, faces the death penalty if found guilty of some of the charges.

Who is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev?
Tsarnaev, 21, is an ethnic Chechen who came to the United States about a decade ago. His family, parents Anzor and Zubeidat, his brother, Tamerlan, and two sisters settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

He was well liked at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, where he was captain of the wrestling team and took honors classes, and he was enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed after the bombings during a shootout with police, after he received gunshot wounds and was apparently run over by his brother.

The charges he faces

Tsarnaev faces a 30-count indictment that includes 17 charges that carry the death penalty. He is accused of improvising bombs from pressure cookers, explosive power and shrapnel, and detonating them at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Among the charges: conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, possession and use of firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence resulting in death and malicious destruction of property resulting in personal injury and death.

Dodging the death penalty?

A prominent addition to Tsarnaev’s defense lawyer is Judy Clarke, a defense attorney noted for keeping her clients off death row.

Her infamous clients have included Ted Kaczynski, known as the Unabomber; Susan Smith, the mother who drowned her two children; Jared Loughner, responsible for killing six people and injuring then-U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords; and Eric Rudolph, the Olympic Park bomber. All received life sentences.

Clark, a staunch opponent of the death penalty, knew at a young age that she wanted to be a lawyer, according to a profile by The Associated Press. She told an audience at Loyola Law School in 2013 that many people charged with capital crimes have suffered severe trauma.

"They're looking into the lens of life in prison in a box," she said. "Our job is to provide them with a reason to live."

Courthouse protests

Supporters of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could be outside the federal courthouse in Boston protesting throughout the trial — over the objections of his lawyers. Tsarnaev’s defense team had argued that he would be unfairly associated with their outrageous conspiracy theories and wanted them kept a reasonable distance away.

“Survivors, jurors, witnesses, and members of the public must be able to attend court without being assaulted by inflammatory accusations from any source,” the lawyers wrote. “If they cannot, the fairness of the defendant’s trial is likely to be gravely harmed.’’

But U.S. District Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. ruled against them, though he gave no written explanation for his decision.

Tsarnaev's supporters include the mother-in-law of Ibragim Todashev, a friend of Tsarnaev’s brother, Tamerlan, who was shot and killed in Florida while being questioned by law enforcement officials. Elena Teyer traveled to Boston in December to shout encouragement to Tsarnaev during one of his court appearances.

Some of the protestors insist that the bombings were the result of a government conspiracy, and that Tsarnaev was framed with flimsy evidence.

Unhappy in Boston

Tsarnaev’s lawyers have tried repeatedly to move the trial out of Boston, arguing that it would be impossible to find an impartial jury in a city so affected by the bombings, but O’Toole has rejected all of their requests.

The lawyers appealed to a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, but on Feb. 28, a divided panel rejected their petition.

The majority wrote that Tsarnaev had not met the well-established standards for the court to intervene. The dissenting judge wrote that the media coverage had been unparalleled in American legal history, making the idea that Tsarnaev would receive a fair and impartial trial absurd.

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Police Seek 2 Men Who Robbed Dunkin Donuts: PD


West Haven police are looking for two bank robbers who held up a Dunkin Donuts at gunpoint on Sunday night, police said.

Two men robbed the Dunkin Donuts at 470 Derby Avenue at 6:38 p.m. on March 1, according to police. One was wielding a gun.

In surveillance footage police released, one of the suspects was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt.

The men possibly left in a grey Nissan sedan.

Police ask anyone with information to contact Det. Faughnan at 203-937-3907.

Photo Credit: West Haven Police Department

Water Back on After Main Break in West Hartford


Water was out for 19 West Hartford homes after a water main break on Fern Street between Clifton Avenue and North Main Street on Wednesday, but service has since been restored.

The eight-inch main installed in 1948 was shut down from 10:05 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., affecting homes from 494 Fern Street to Clifton Avenue, according to MDC. 

West Hartford Public Works Director John Phillips advised drivers to avoid Fern Street in the area earlier today and to instead take Farmington Avenue.

More information will be provided when it becomes available. Follow NBC Connecticut traffic reporter Heidi Voight on Twitter (@HeidiVoight) for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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Fire Department Called Out to Flanders Road, Bethlehem


The fire department was called out to Flanders Road in Bethlehem on Wednesday.

An NBC Connecticut crew responded to the scene, but no emergency vehicles were on the street.

A message to the Bethehem Fire Department has not been returned.

Protesters Few, Crush of Media as Trial Begins


The trial of the Boston bombing suspect got underway Wednesday morning with a crush of media and a lone protester outside the Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston.

Joe Kebartas stood before the proceedings began with a sign reading “Death penalty is murder.”

“The government should not be in the business of putting people to death,” he said before slipping away.

Security was tight with a blockade on Northern Avenue and a bomb-sniffing police dog along the barricade holding back journalists from as far as Russia and France. The U.S. Coast Guard was patrolling Boston Harbor behind the courthouse.

Survivors of the April 2013 bombings arrived by Massport buses, normally used to shuttle travelers to Logan International Airport, and were taken into the courthouse through the back.

The federal death penalty trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, begins nearly two years after two bombs exploded seconds apart at the finish of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring more than 260 others. He is accused of detonating them with his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed afterward in a shoot-out with police. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was later found hiding in a boat.

The courtroom was crowded with relatives of victims and of Tsarnaev and others. When Tsarnaev walked across the courtroom shortly after 9 a.m. some of the survivors stared intently.

Jury selection took nearly two months, with Tsarnaev’s legal team arguing repeatedly that it would be impossible for their client to receive a fair trial in Boston.

In opening statements, his lawyers are expected to portray him as an impressionable 21-year-old in the sway of his older, radicalized brother. He followed the 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s lead, the lawyers hope to show.

The prosecution counters that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was as much a participant as his brother.

Alysha Palumbo contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Kaitlin Flanigan
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Felon Fled After Crash, Knocked on Madison Doors: Cops


A man accused of fleeing the scene of a crash on Interstate 95 North in Madison was arrested on Tuesday night after knocking on doors in Madison and asking residents to use the phone, according to police.

Police said Richard Robert Pommer, 30, of New Haven, is a convicted felon and had drugs and weapons on him when police took him into custody.

The crash Pommer fled from happened on Interstate 95 north near exit 60 in Madison, according to police.

Officers found Pommer in a residential Madison neighborhood at 8:43 p.m. after receiving reports that he was knocking on doors, asking to use a telephone, police said.

He was taken into custody and taken to the Madison Police Department, where police found 54 folds of heroin marked “FOXY,” a Glock® Model 26 9mm pistol and 55 9mm bullets.

Pommer was wanted for escape in the first degree, as well as a parole re-arrest warrant and state police arrest warrant, police said.

Pommer was charged with criminal possession of a firearm, carrying a firearm without a permit, theft of a firearm, larceny in the fifth degree and illegal possession with intent to sell.

He was held on a $100,000 bond and a remand order from the Connecticut Department of Corrections and is scheduled to appear at G.A. 23 today.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Arrested in Motel Scuffle Pees on Police Station Floor: PD


A Gary, Indiana man urinated on the floor in the Milford Police Department while he was being processed on charges stemming from a scuffle with his wife in a local motel on Tuesday night that caused property damage, police said.

Police arrested Gabriel Brooks after responding to a complaint about a disturbance at 10 Rowe Avenue in the motel room he was staying in with his wife in Milford at about 8 p.m. on Tuesday. That is the address of the Red Roof Inn.

His wife banged her head after Brooks threw her to the ground, police said. Brooks also damaged her cell phone and threw some of his wife's belongings at the wall, causing damage, according to police.

While police were booking him, Brooks urinated twice on the floor at the police station and he also refused to be fingerprinted, police said.

Police charged Brooks with third-degree assault, three counts of disorderly conduct, interfering with an emergency call, third-degree criminal mischief and failure to comply with fingerprint requirements. He is being held in police custody in lieu of a $5,000 bond.

Power Outages at Waterbury City Hall, Library


The Waterbury mayor's office is reporting outages at Waterbury City Hall and the Silas Bronson Library.

The power was still out in both places at 11:30 p.m., according to Mayor Neil M. O'Leary.

Eversource, formerly known as Connecticut Light & Power, has crews working on restoring the power.

As of 11:44 a.m., 31 Eversource customers were without power in Waterbury. There were also 138 power outages reported in Stonington and 32 in Enfield, according to the outage map.

The power company has not released information on the cause of the power outages.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Photo Credit: Eversource

North Main Street Reopens in West Hartford After Flooding


North Main Street in West Hartford has reopened after a flooding situation on the road Wednesday morning.

West Hartford police and Metropolitan District Commission officials responded to initial reports of a possible water main break at the Wyndwood road intersection in town. However, West Hartford Public Works Director John Phillips said that the flooding was due to an overflowing catch basin, causing ponding on the road.

Public works crews opened the catch basin in the area to alleviate the flooding on the roadway, he said. 

North Main Street was closed in the southbound direction temporarily and drivers were advised to use Trout Brook Drive as a detour.

West Hartford public works crews clearing snow are seeing ponding issues on other local roads, including Farmington Avenue, according to Phillips.

Follow NBC Connecticut traffic reporter Heidi Voight on Twitter (@HeidiVoight) for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Race On to Clear Storm Drains Before Deep Freeze


The race is on to clear storm drains before the wintry mix that fell between Tuesday night and Wednesday floods home or freezes back up.

Crews in West Hartford dealt with flooding problems on Wyndwood Road on Wednesday morning, so they had to open a catch basin and that is just one community where crews or residents are working on clearing the drains.

On Marlin Road in New Britain, Richard Picerno was trying to locate the storm drain under all the snow.

“See where that big puddle is? That huge puddle over there? That’s a storm drain,” he said. “I want to see my drain!”

Experts said Picerno is smart to try and clear the drain now before it freezes up again and city leaders across the state said public works crews have been out between the storms doing their best to clear every catch basin.

In Bridgeport, public works crews are out clearing storm drains, but they are also asking residents who can safely clear them to do so.

“Crews currently are out working to clear snow-covered catch basins, and we’re also asking residents, if at all possible and if they can do it safely, to clear storm drains in front of their homes,” said Jorge Garcia, Bridgeport's director of public facilities. “It would be an enormous help. We are experiencing some minor roadway flooding with the rain overnight and melting snow.” 

City officials said they can also use help to clear out fire hydrants.

Wolcott Freezes Spending Amid All the Storms


A spending freeze is in effect in Wolcott and departments have been ordered to cut spending until winter is over because of the drain storm after storm has had on the budget.

Wolcott Mayor Thomas Dunn sent a letter to officials last month announcing a town spending freeze and said the cost of snow removal after this year’s brutal winter continues to put a big strain on the town’s $18 million budget.

Many of the storms moved in overnight and on weekends, requiring town officials to pay workers overtime, which has made this winter even more costly.

“We just wanted to make sure that we have enough money to take care of the winter and the safety of the town and the roads,” Dunn said. “As the winter progressed, we made it through January and then February hit. It was just one after another … a couple storms a week.”

During the spending freeze, the town won’t be approving any discretionary spending, but they’ll be moving money around in the budget to cover the cost of more winter cleanup if needed.

“We’re working within our budget. The letter was for departments just to be cautious to know that they may not be able to spend everything that they have,” Dunn said.

He hopes to lift the freeze by the end of the month, as long as there are no more major storms.

“Every department is running. There’s not going to be any safety issues,” Dunn said. “I’m hoping it’s over. I think our town crews are hoping it’s over.”

Man Arrested in Norwalk Bagel Shop Burglary


Norwalk police arrested a man Tuesday suspected in a burglary at Village Bagels in a Norwalk from Oct. 18.

Angel Rodriguez, 47, of Bridgeport is accused of forcing entry into the bagel shop at 3 a.m. that day with an accomplice, police said. He and the other person ran from the store when an employee confronted him.

Investigators discovered a DNA match between Rodriguez and evidence found on scene and obtained an arrest warrant.

Rodriguez was charged with third-degree burglary, sixth-degree larceny, possession of burglary tools and first-degree criminal mischief. Police held him in custody in lieu of a $75,000 bond.

Photo Credit: Norwalk Police Department

PD Seeks Walmart Thieves Who Stole from Elderly Woman


Norwalk police are looking for two female thieves who stole a wallet from an elderly woman at the Connecticut Avenue Walmart on Feb. 7 and made purchases, police said.

The women stole the wallet from the woman's purse while she was in the store and used her credit card to buy items at the Norwalk Best Buy and the Trumbull Target, police said.

Detectives are asking for the public's help in identifying two women caught on surveillance footage who police believe are the women who stole from the elderly woman.

Police ask anyone with information to call Det. Fitzmaurice at 203-854-3180.

Photo Credit: Norwalk Police Department

Man Sexually Assaulted 9-Year-Old Girl: Police


Police have arrested a 42-year-old New Britain man who’s accused of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl for a year-long period of time between 2013 and 2014.

Roberto Cepeda was arrested on March 3 and charged with first-degree sex assault; fourth-degree sexual assault; risk of injury to a minor, sexual contact; risk of injury to a minor, impairing morals; cruelty to persons; and disorderly conduct.

Police said the girl is familiar with Cepeda, who is currently in prison for a separate incident, but no other information was released because the warrant is sealed.

He is being represented by a public defender and is due in court on these charges on April 21, according to the online docket.

No mug shot is available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Road Damage Prompts Trout Brook Drive Lane Closure


The right northbound lane on Trout Brook Drive in West Hartford near Kingswood Oxford will be closed for at least 24 hours due to damage on the roadway, according to West Hartford public works officials.

Crews need to excavate the pavement in the area to temporarily repair it due to a "road failure," West Hartford public works officials said. The project preparation is needed, but the town is first giving crews time to rest after the last 30 hours of work in the last storm before more snow possibly moves in Wednesday night, West Hartford officials said.

"It is not our preference to close a lane on an important street however circumstances leave us with no other option,"  West Hartford public works officials said in a statement.


Photo Credit: West Hartford Public Works Department
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