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2 Hurt Falling From Collapsed Roof in Bethel


Two people suffered minor injuries when the roof they were clearing snow from in Bethel collapsed on Wednesday afternoon.

The roof of a storage unit at 13 Francis J. Clarke Circle in Bethel gave way just after noon, according to Scott Murphy, first assistant chief, of the Bethel Volunteer Fire Department.

The two people suffered minor injuries. Medics treated them at the scene and neither needed to be hospitalized.

The building also houses Sky Zone, but the section of the structure that houses the trampoline park was not impacted.

Murphy said the fire department was called out at 12:14 p.m., arrived two minutes later, and the situation was under control as of 1:05 p.m.

The Bethel building inspector has responded and engineers will determine the integrity of the structure.

The Facebook page for Sky Zone includes a “special announcement” posted around noon that says the trampoline park will be closed for the day and they apologize for any inconvenience.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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15-Year-Old Ran Away from Middletown DCF Facility


A 15-year-old girl ran away from a state Department of Children and Families facility in Middletown over the weekend and authorities are asking for help to find her.

Jackie Stec has run away several times in the past while in the custody of DCF, but usually returns on her own, police said.

In the past she has traveled to Meriden and Manhattan, New York, police said.

She is 5-feet-4, weighs around 110 pounds.

No information was immediately available on what Jackie was wearing when she left the DCF facility.

Anyone with information on Jackie’s whereabouts should call the Middletown Police Department at (860) 638-4000.

Photo Credit: Middletown Police-

Driver in New Haven Fatal Pedestrian Accident Won't Be Charged: Police


After a lengthy investigation, New Haven police have decided not to charge a driver who fatally struck an elderly woman crossing the road on Olive Street in the city in October, police said.

Patricia Cofrancesco, of New Haven, was driving her 2001 Audi TT when she hit Dolores Dogolo, 81, of New Haven, who was crossing five feet outside of a sidewalk near Green Street, police said. Dogolo was killed in the accident that happened at 10:32 a.m. on Oct. 30, 2014.

Police seized her vehicle, which had damage to the windshield, front left headlight and " 'A' pillar and hood." In an inspection, investigators determined that there were no mechanical problems that could have caused the crash.

Cofrancesco wasn't using a cell phone or any other device that could have distracted her at the time of the collision and, while she was wearing contacts, her vision was not a factor in the crash, police said.

Witnesses told police that Dogolo "had no walking impairmant," but that she "walked at a slow pace." She was crossing the road diagonally outside of the nearest unmarked crosswalk and was "one pace" over the double yellow line when she was hit, police said.

"The driver would not have perceived the pedestrian as a threat until she stepped over the line," police said.

Cofrancesco was driving at about 24 miles an hour at the time, so police said speed wasn't a factor in the collision. Police didn't find any evidence to suggest that she was driving her vehicle recklessly.

Investigators said "it is unknown" whether an oncoming vehicle or car parking could have obstructed the view of the driver or pedestrian.

State's Attorney David Strollo also reviewed the case and didn't find probable cause to prosecute  Cofrancesco, so she will not be facing any charges.

Roof Collapse Traps Cows at Middlefield Ranch


Three cows were trapped when the roof of a barn collapsed on Jackson Hill Road in Middlefield on Wednesday afternoon.

Firefighters responded to Triangle A Stables, at 327 Jackson Hill Road, at 11:19 a.m. and found that part of a barn roof had collapsed under the weight of snow and ice, according to fire officials.

Three cows were trapped and it took around 45 minutes to get them out.

The incident was under control as of 12:48 p.m.

The building inspector will determine the structural integrity of the barn and the cows will be housed in another barn for the time being.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

2 Drivers Seriously Hurt in Woodbridge Crash


Two drivers were seriously hurt in a crash on Amity Road/Route 63 in Woodbridge on Wednesday morning, according to police.

Police said Robert Johnson, 31, of Hamden, was driving a pickup truck northbound on Amity Road near the intersection of Clark Road around 7 a.m. Wednesday when he crossed over into the southbound lane and struck an oncoming car.

Firefighters had to extricate the other driver, Matthew Casso, 54, of Naugatuck. Both Casso and Johnson were taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital for treatment of serious injuries.

The road was closed for about an hour while police responded to the scene.

Police are investigating the crash.

Photo Credit: Google Maps

3 Arrest Warrants Issued in Hall-Conard Basketball Brawl


In the wake of a brawl at the end of a high school basketball game between two rival West Hartford teams, police have obtained three arrest warrants, served three juvenile summonses and issued four juvenile review board referrals.

Authorities have not identified the people involved.

Officers who were called to the court Feb. 23 found fans fighting, according to police. Video footage posted to social media also shows fans scuffling.

Hall's student section rushed the court after their team scored the winning basket with 2 seconds on the clock.

Players were still finishing the game as several spectators ran out.

No one was hurt during the incident. Authorities asked Hall students to leave the gym so the teams could finish the game. Hall won 43-42, according to the CIAC website.

Photo Credit: @Stephanie_K4444

First Responders Shovel for Heart Attack Victim


Emergency responders in Manchester made every effort to save a man who suffered a heart attack while shoveling Tuesday morning. He didn't make it, so they did the only thing left to do and finished the job.

Manchester Fire Chief David Billings said Miroslaw Dabrowski, 57, collapsed while shoveling his roof on Scott Drive around 9:45 a.m. Tuesday.

Police arrived first and climbed onto the roof to perform CPR. Firefighters took over, using an automatic CPR device to administer chest compressions while they put Dabrowski on a back board and lowered him to the ground, Billings said.

They tried to resuscitate Dabrowski on the way to the hospital, but he couldn't be saved.

Billings said emergency reseponders can feel helpless when a life is lost, so they went back to Scott Drive and did the only thing they could: finished shoveling Dabrowski's roof while his family was at the hospital.

They felt compelled to help and knew it would be the last thing on the family's mind when they returned home, according to Billings.

He said Dabrowski leaves behind a wife and large family.

Photo Credit: Manchester Police Department

Names of Women Killed in Middletown Fire Released


The Middletown Fire Department has released the names of two women who died in an early-morning fire that gutted a home on Saturday.

Kim Crowley, 44, of East Hampton and Cheryl Micale 36, of Middletown, were killed in the fire and a man was injured. His name has not been released.

The fire department was called to 309 Barbara Road just after 2 a.m. Saturday morning. A man walked out of the house on his own and a woman was found in the bedroom. The couple was hospitalized with burns and cardiac problems and the woman later died. The man is still in Bridgeport Hospital recovering.

The other woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

When fire crews arrived, the home was fully engulfed in flames. It took nearly 40 minutes to get the fire under control, but later the hot spots rekindled.

"It took a little while, probably about 40 minutes," said Middletown Fire Chief Robert Kronenberger." It was all exterior attack with what we were presented. Once we rescued the two people we did nothing interior. Everything was from the outside."

Fire officials said a wood insert was used in the fireplace to heat the home.

Dane Johnson couldn't help but tear up as he stared at what's left of the home owned by a friend he's known since childhood. The fire left a gap between what's left of the home and what used to be an attached garage.

"I'm just shocked. I can't believe this even happened," Johnson said. "....They're outgoing, they're caring. They'll take the shirts off their backs for you. That's just the type of people they are. If this happened to any one of us, they would be here to help us rebuild, and that's just the type of people they are."

The couple living at the home was well-liked by neighbors.

"They were great people. They always helped you out. Snowblowed your drive way if you needed it. They were great people," neighbor David Beit said.

Neighbor Virginia LaWbaida said she saw the lights and "noticed all the flame coming from the fireplace."

"You couldn't find anyone better than these people," LaWbaida said. "I thank God to have people like that around me."

Fire officials say that the couple living in the home had a friend staying over. They also have a child who resides there but was not home at the time of the fire. 

The state fire marshal's office is investigating the cause of the fire. Investigators obtained a warrant to gain access to the home and were inside late Saturday morning investigating.

281 Hartford Hospital Patients Exposed to Drug-Resistant E. Coli


Some 281 patients who underwent certain endoscopic procedures at Hartford Hospital have been exposed to a drug-resistant form of E. coli over the past year, according to hospital officials.

Dr. Rocco Orlando, chief medical officer of Hartford HealthCare, said the bacteria was transmitted through a medical device called the endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. The scope is used to diagnose pancreatic and bile duct cancer.

Hospital officials called the strain "drug resistant" in a news release Wednesday afternoon, but Orlando said during a later press conference that certain kinds of antibiotics can be used to treat the bacteria.

He does not believe any patients have been infected. Everone who has been exposed will be asked to come in for a screening and is encouraged to undergo treatment as a precaution.

"We want to assure you that while the process for cleaning our endoscopes was followed, due to the same design flaw we are seeing across the country, there is a section of the scope that is difficult to disinfect," hospital spokesperson Tina Varona said in a statement Wednesday.

According to hospital officials, the scopes in question are no longer being used and have been pulled from all facilities within the Hartford HealthCare system. The equipment is being replaced with an older version of the technology.

Officials emphasized that the strain of E. coli identified at Hartford Hospital is not the same as the "superbug" sickening patients in Los Angeles but appears to be transmitted by the same type of equipment.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Home Health Aide Stole from 84-Year-Old Man: Police


North Haven police have arrested a 30-year-old home health aide who is accused of stealing several thousands of dollars from an elderly patient.

The daughter of an 84-year-old man contacted police in January when she noticed something amiss with her father’s credit card statements.

The daughter, who has power of attorney for her father, told investigators that she started looking through her father’s credit card statements when he was in the hospital and found dozens of unauthorized charges, police said.

Investigators looked into the report and identified the suspect as Latoya Richardson, a 30-year-old New Haven woman who had served as a home health aide for the victim before he was hospitalized.

Police said she was using the victim’s credit card without permission and charged several thousand dollars worth of items over a two-month period.

Police arrested Richardson on March 3 and she was charged with third-degree larceny and illegal use of a credit card.

She is scheduled to appear in Meriden Superior Court on March 19.

Sandy Hook Commission to Release Final Report Friday


The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission will meet for the last time Friday to present the governor with the final copy of a report highlighting school safety, gun violence and mental health recommendations.

The comission released a 256-page draft report last month and made some some final revisions that will be revealed this week. Commissioners voted on the modifications at the panel's final working meeting Feb. 13.

According to a news release from Gov. Dannel Malloy's office, the 16-member panel will meet for the last time at 3:30 p.m. Friday at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

A copy of the full report will be available online following the meeting.

Malloy  commissioned the panel to make recommendations in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre that left 20 children and six educators dead in December 2012.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Woman Killed, 2 Kids Hurt in Norwich Crash


A 31-year-old woman was killed and two children were hurt in a crash on Route 12/Laurel Hill Road in Norwich on Tuesday evening, according to police.

Police said Rosario DeJesus-Delgado, 31, of Preston, was driving southbound on Lauren Hill Avenue near the Preston town line when she lost control and crossed the double yellow line around 5 p.m., colliding with a car driving northbound.

Dejesus-Delgado was pronounced dead at the scene. Two children in the car were taken to William Backus Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. Police said the other driver suffered minor injuries.

The road was closed for about four hours and traffic was detoured to Routes 2 and 32.

It's not clear what caused the crash, but police said weather does not appear to have been a factor.

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call Norwich police Officer Andre Rosedale at 860-886-5561.

Roof Collapses at Vacant Building in New Haven


Emergency responders in New Haven were called to Welton Street on Wednesday afternoon when part of the roof collapsed over a vacant unit.

Fire officials said the back half of the roof at 116-122 collapsed under the weight of heavy, accumulated snow. The unit has been empty for some time.

No one was hurt.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Homeless Man Stole Bridge Light: PD


A homeless man stole aircraft warning lights from Boston's Zakim Bridge and left them at historical sites around the city, state police said Wednesday.

Clifford W. Beckford, 34, who was arrested Tuesday evening, has been charged with breaking and entering, larceny, receiving stolen property, malicious destruction of property, committing injury to a bridge and defacement of property.

Massachusetts State Policesay they began investigating after Beckford stole a red beacon — measuring 18 inches in diameter and 3 feet tall and weighing at least 60 pounds — around 9 p.m. on Feb. 3.

Beckford allegedly walked up a ramp to reach the Zakim Bridge, broke into the bridge's south tower, climbed a ladder to the top and took the beacon. Police say he then came down the ladder and left the beacon in the snow bank on the side of I-93, went to his car parked nearby, drove to the side, put it in his car and drove away.

Beckford, who police say lives out of his car, was arrested near a relative's Melrose home, but police still had to find the beacon.

Authorities say their investigation led them to the Warren Tavern in Charlestown, the state's oldest tavern, which counts famous figures such as George Washington and Paul Revere as past customers.

State troopers went to the tavern and, after speaking with the manager, found the beacon in the establishment's cellar. Beckford had left the beacon outside the tavern recently, and an employee took it inside without knowing what it was, authorities said.

This wasn't Beckford's first time stealing a Zakim Bridge airplane warning beacon, state police say their investigation showed.

He stole another beacon sometime in the early 2000s during the bridge's construction, when the beacon was property of an electrical contractor and was never reported stolen, police said.

As state police investigated further, they found that the beacon stolen in the 2000s was recently left at the office of The Bostonian Society, which currently operates out of the Old State House Museum in Boston, another historical site in the city.

Police say neither the Warren Tavern, The Bostonian Society nor the Old State House Museum knew where the beacons had come from and were not involved in the thefts.

Information on a lawyer for Beckford was not immediately available.

Beckford was arraigned Wednesday and was ordered to undergo a 20-day mental health evaluation. 

Photo Credit: Massachusetts State Police

Del.: Let Kids Sled on Capitol Hill


It offers some of the most tempting sledding in all of the Washington area: hills that are scenic, significant and just steep enough to beckon kids who want to take a ride.

Not to mention, the hill in question — Capitol Hill — is the seat of federal government of the sledders, by the sledders (at least those old enough to vote) and for the sledders.

However, sledding on Capitol Hill is forbidden — banned by the U.S. Capitol Police.

Now, D.C.'s Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton wants to change that. She's asked for a one-time waiver of the ban for the snowstorm expected tomorrow.

"This could be the last snowstorm the D.C. area gets this winter, and may be one of the best for sledding in years," Norton said in a statement. "Children and their parents should able to enjoy sledding on one of the best hills in the city.

"Have a heart, Mr. Larkin," Norton wrote to the U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms. "A kid’s heart, that is.”

Playing on Capitol Hill in the snow is a goal of many kids in the District. During a late February snow, News4's Tom Sherwood got tweets from a skier who managed to hang on the Hill long enough to capture a video. That same skier later tweeted Tom that a "sad boy" had just been turned away from the tempting, pristine powder.

Norton has asked that Capitol police remove the ban altogether, but in her letter sent Wednesday she acknowledges that may take time. So she asked for a temporary sledding amnesty for Thursday through Sunday.

Norton has not gotten a response to her letter yet, a spokesman for her office said shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

More Snow on the Way


After we clear the wintry mix that coated the state between Tuesday night and Wednesday, more snow is on the way.

Southern Connecticut, including the towns along Interstate 95, could get 2 to 5 inches of snow between Wednesday night and Thursday, according to NBC Connecticut meteorologist Bob Maxon. One to three inches are expected for the northern part of the state.

A winter storm watch remains in effect for New London, New Haven, Middlesex and Fairfield counties through Thursday evening.

The wintry mix will develop in the evening and snow and sleet will come to an end midday on Thursday.

Looking ahead to the weekend, the skies are clear.

Miss Porter's Teacher Sentenced in Student Sex Case


The former boarding school teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with an underage student has been sentenced to a total of more than six years in prison.


Joseph Rajkumar, 44, was arrested in March 2013 after allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl during the 2011-2012 school year at Miss Porter's School in Farmington. Federal authorities said he contacted and enticed the student online.

According to federal prosecutors, Rajkumar, a former science teacher and Science Olympiad team adviser, pressured the teen to create an anonymous email account and use it to expose her chest to him through video chat.

A few months later, in November 2011, the two began having a sexual relationship, prosecutors said.

Federal prosecutors said Rajkumar also began to harass other female students both in person and through text message, making comments on their physical appearances and urging them to do "naughty things" in "secret."

According to the U.S. attorney's office, Rajkumar had inappropriate conversations with at least half a dozen female students and had sexual intercourse with one of them.

Rajkumar has been incarcerated since January 2014 and pleaded guilty in federal court last November to one count of attempted receipt of child pornography.

Rajkumar has also pleaded guilty to state charges of second-degree sexual assault and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, suspended after 18 months, followed by 10 years of probation.

He was sentenced to an additional five years in prison and 10 years of supervised release on Wednesday. Between his state and federal sentences, Rajkumar is expected to serve a total of 78 months behind bars.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/Farmington Police Dept.

Waterbury Church Leader Pleads Guilty to Enticing Teen


A Waterbury church leader has pleaded guilty to federal charges after he persuaded a 14-year-old to send him sexually explicit photos and videos, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Miguel Torres, 55, met the girl through his wife's youth group at the Iglesia Cristiana Fuente de Agua Viva Church in Waterbury. According to the warrant for his arrest, Torres told the teen he would be her mentor.

Federal prosecutors said Torres swapped cellphone numbers with the teen and started asking her for sexually explicit photos and videos in June 2013. The conversations turned graphic, and both sent each other sexual images.

Torres told the teen he had "engaged in sexual conduct with other girls" in an effort to make her more comfortable, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

The criminal complaint also alleges the two had sexual contact in church.

"I met him in the hallway," the teen told authorities, according to court paperwork. "Miguel came close to me and started... kissing me."

The teen's mother discovered the text messages in August 2013 and called the police, according to the arrest warrant.

Torres pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to one count of enticing a minor. He will be sentenced May 27 and could face anywhere from 10 years to life in prison. Torres could also be ordered to pay a $250,000 fine.

The church pastor declined to comment on the case at the time of Torres' arrest.

Photo Credit: Waterbury Police Department

New Haven Snow Budget Depleted as Winter Wears On


As winter weather continues into March, New Haven – like many other communities – is scrambling to compensate for a snow budget that has been totally drained.

The city is moving $300,000 from vacancies in the Department of Public Works to cover this week's storms.

Officials hope it will be enough. If it isn't, the city will have to find money elsewhere.

"We don't think that we'll run out, but it will make it difficult to do some of the other things we hope to do in the summer time," said Mayor Toni Harp.

City officials hope they won't have to move money from other departments, which could jeopardize programs like the one to keep school buildings open during spring break.

In the meantime, there's no end in sight for DPW crews. They worked through the day Wednesday to clean up slushy streets and prepare for a re-freeze that could prove dangerous tonight.

"We're worried about flooding. I've seen, as I was coming to work today, I saw a lot of our street corners were flooded," said Harp. "They're out there working really hard, so we can make sure things are as safe as possible."

Newtown-Sandy Hook Foundation to Shut Down in 2025


An organization set up to manage money raised for families affected by the Sandy Hook school shooting will close down in 2025, according to the executive director.

The Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation launched in 2013 to allocate donations that came pouring into the community in the wake of the Dec. 14, 2012 massacre.

Twenty first-grade students and six educators were killed that day when a gunman opened fire in the school.

Executive Director Jennifer Barahona said the foundation was never meant to last forever.

"It has always been the Foundation’s intention to be time-limited," Barahona said in a statement. "The time line was based on the desire to provide continued support to the community and those most impacted for a period of 10-15 years."

The foundation will continue to operate until the youngest students who attended Sandy Hook at the time of the shooting graduate from high school.

Photo Credit: AP
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