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Woman Grabbed While Making ATM Withdrawal


Police are searching for the man who grabbed a woman while she was making an ATM withdrawal outside a Bank of America in Branford and demanded money.

According to police, Michael Jensen, 48, approached the 37-year-old victim from behind while she was taking out money from the Bank of America ATM at 1081 West Main Street in Branford just after 2:30 p.m. Friday.

Jensen ordered the woman to hand over her cash, but she hadn't taken any money out yet, so he drove off in a gray 2000 Honda Accord with Connecticut license plates reading 145-7CU, according to police.

Police said the woman was not hurt and Jensen did not appear to have a weapon.

Jensen will be charged with attempted robbery and unlawful restraint.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to call Branford police at 203-481-4241.

Photo Credit: Branford Police Department

DA: Caretaker Stole $128K From Disabled Vet


An employee of the Boston Police Department is accused of stealing over $100,000 from a Vietnam veteran over three years while she was working as his personal care assistant.

Forty-eight-year-old Michelle Allix of South Boston was indicted Thursday on larceny charges. Prosecutors say she stole $128,472 while she was working part-time as the veteran's caretaker between September 2010 and October 2013.

Allix, a Boston Police civilian employee, was given unsupervised access to the victim's bank account.

"These indictments reflect evidence of a heartless betrayal," said Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley. "A caretaker entrusted to act in the victim's best interests should not be siphoning his bank account for her personal benefit. As a disabled older adult, this victim was particularly vulnerable, which makes the allegations even more disturbing."

According to prosecutors, Allix withdrew more than $120,000, including some withdrawals from ATMs at casinos, that was not related to her position as the man's caretaker. She also allegedly wrote checks from the victim's account to pay off her own bills, and wrote out a $4,000 check to herself.

Stay with necn as this story develops.

Crash Closes Route 171 in Union


Route 171 is closed between Cemetery Road and Bigalow Hollow Road in Union while authorities respond to a crash, according to state police.

The Department of Transportation reports a tractor-trailer drove down an embankment in the area. It's not clear if anyone has been hurt.

State police are investigating.

No additional information was immediately available.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Suffield Firemen's Carnival Canceled After 50 Years


After more than 50 years of rides, games, and fireworks, the Suffield Firemen’s Association has decided to cancel the town’s beloved summertime carnival.

A lack of volunteers, equipment repair expenses, and diminishing carnival attendance were among the factors that affected their final decision, according to the fire department.

Nonetheless, the Suffield Firemen’s Association wants the community to know it remains committed to its mission as the civic, social and charitable organization of the Suffield Fire Department.

The association plans to redirect its efforts to other fundraising activities while continuing its involvement in the community by providing fire prevention education, supporting local youth athletic teams and the Suffield Emergency Aid Association, and offering high school scholarships, according to the fire department.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Stole Speaker From BJ's Store in Waterford


Waterford police are looking for the person who burglarized the BJ’s Club on Cross Road on Friday.

Police say security footage showed a man fleeing the store after stealing a BOSE Solo 10 Speaker.

According to police, the subject got away in a light blue car which was missing the rear bumper. The first three characters of the Connecticut license plate are either QAE or 0AE.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Waterford Police Officer Bunce at 860-442-9451 or email jbunce@waterfordct.org.

Photo Credit: Waterford Police Department

Boston Police Officer, Suspect Shot


A Boston Police officer is in critical condition after a shootout that followed a traffic stop in the city's Roxbury neighborhood Friday evening, police said.

The suspect was killed in the shooting on Humboldt Avenue after police returned fire. Police say two other suspects are in custody "on unrelated matters."

Officer John T. Moynihan, a 34-year-old who has been with the department since 2008, was transported to Boston Medical Center.

"One of the occupants of the pulled over motor vehicle came out, he turned, he fired, he shot one of our officers under the right eye," Boston Police Commissioner William Evans told reporters Friday.

The commissioner said Moynihan is a decorated military veteran and active in the department's Youth Violence Task Force.

MBTA officer Dic Donohue, who was injured in the manhunt after Boston Marathon bombings, confirms to necn that Moynihan helped rescue him back in 2013.

"The doctors are working hard on him," said Evans, who added that Moynihan is fighting for his life. "All our prayers are going out for him. I just ask for everyone's support in helping him pull through.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the officer injured tonight, his family and friends and the entire Boston Police Department during this difficult time," said Mayor Marty Walsh in a statement. "These acts of violence have no place in our neighborhoods. Our community is stronger than ever, and tonight, we are thankful for all of those who put their lives on the line every day to protect our city."

A woman who was apparently caught in the crossfire suffered a flesh wound.

"She's fine," said Evans, who went to visit her. "She's in good spirits, thank God."

Evans added that three officers were taken to Brigham and Women's Hospital for stress.

Anyone with information is asked to call 1 (800) 494-TIPS.

This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.

Photo Credit: necn

Dead Dogs Found in Garbage Bags Under I-84 in Middlebury


A maintenance worker cleaning a culvert on Interstate 84 in Middlebury found two dead dogs stuffed in garbage bags, according to the Department of Transportation.

A spokesperson for the DOT said the worker was part of a bridge maintenance crew clearing out a culvert under I-84 near exit 17 in Middlebury.

The dogs, two bull mastiffs, did not have tags or collars.

The crew notified the DOT, which contacted animal control and state police.

It's not clear who left them there or how the dogs died.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Southington Woman Sues Town After Crash on Icy Road


A Southington resident is suing the town over allegations that an icy, untreated road prompted a head-on collision that left her with multiple injuries and “severe emotional distress.”

According to a notice of intent to sue filed with the Southington town clerk on March 20, Cindy Costello was involved in a serious crash the afternoon of Jan. 3 on Laning Street near the intersection of Doral Lane.

Costello was pulled over to the side of the road “due to excessive icy conditions on the roadway which had not been treated by the Town” when an oncoming car spun out and skidded across the center line, slamming head-on into Costello’s vehicle, according to the document. Costello suffered multiple fractures to her leg and ribs, soft tissue neck and back injuries and emotional distress.

“The cause of the accident was extremely icy conditions on Laning Street,” the document alleges.

Costello, who is being represented by Howard, Kohn, Sprague & FitzGerald of Hartford, is suing for unspecified damages.

West Hartford Students Support Boy With Rare Disorder


Elementary school students in West Hartford joined a national campaign Friday to support a 5-year-old boy living with a rare disorder.

Seth Lane was born in England with severe combined immunodeficiency disorder (SCID) and his spent most of his life in and out of hospitals, isolated from others in a self-contained, germ-free plastic bubble.

His family posted a YouTube video asking people to wear yellow, Seth’s favorite color, to show support Friday as Seth underwent his second bone marrow transplant.

The viral video extended its reach across the ocean to West Hartford’s Saint Brigid School, a Catholic school for students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.

“As a Christian community Saint Brigid School is committed to making a difference in the lives of young people everywhere,” Principal Shevon Hickey said in a statement. “It is our hope that the awareness raised by the #WearYellowForSeth campaign will help other young people around the world and bring attention this dreadful disease.”

The only cure to date for SCID is a successful bone marrow transplant.

Photo Credit: Saint Brigid School

Middletown City Worker Charged With Animal Cruelty


A Middletown city employee is facing animal cruelty charges after allegedly neglecting her dog, a pit bull who was found severely malnourished, according to the mayor.

Middletown Mayor Dan Drew said Jacqueline Carraway, who is listed online as working with the city's Youth Services Bureau, turned herself in to police on March 20.

According to Middletown Animal Control, Carraway's pit bull, Channing, was emaciated and unable to walk when authorities found him. He was nursed back to help and is now up for adoption.

"It was the worst case the police department or Animal Control Office had ever seen," Middletown police spokesman Lt. Heather Desmond told The Middletown Press. "The vet said he probably wouldn't have made it another day or two."

Carraway, however, told The Middletown Press that Channing lost weight because he was eating bad food: Purina Beneful, which is facing a lawsuit for allegedly making animals sick.

Carraway has been charged with cruelty to animals, failure to vaccinate her dog for rabies and failure to comply with dog ownership requisites, according to her arrest record on the state Department of Criminal Justice website.

Photo Credit: Middletown Animal Control

CTfastrak Begins Operations


Gov. Dannel Malloy joined New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart and Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra in New Britain today to celebrate the launch of the new CTfastrak busway.

After 20 years of planning, debate and construction, the Hartford-to-New Britain busway is officially open for business and will begin servicing the public tomorrow, March 28.

Malloy, whose top priority this year is improving the state's transportation system, acknowledged that although it has been a bumpy ride to get here, the shiny new buses and bus stops are signs of good things to come.

"This is in some senses the first four years of our administration's down payment on improving transportation here in Connecticut for ourselves, for our economy, for our children and future generations," Malloy said as he stepped off the green bus at Friday's kickoff event.

Stewart and Segarra shared their support for the bus line, saying the link between the two cities will only help them and the region.

The federal government funded 80 percent of the $567 million mass transit system, but even with the project settled, critics say there will be more empty than filled seats along the way.

State Sen. Joe Markley is among those who doubt the system.

"Five years from now, 10 years from now, what do you think we're going to be saying about CTfastrak? I think it will be known as Malloy's folly," he said.

The first rides on CTfastrak will start Saturday morning at 5:02 am.

Off-Duty Firefighter in Explosion


Off-duty FDNY firefighter Mike Shepherd didn't need to be in uniform to be a hero in the aftermath of the fiery East Village building explosion Thursday that leveled three buildings, injured about two dozen people and left two people missing. 

The Squad 41 firefighter is the man seen in widely viewed videos of the scene climbing up a fire escape to check for any possibly trapped residents inside 121 Second Ave. after the blast Thursday afternoon.

"I heard a loud explosion and I look down the block and I just started running toward the corner," he told reporters at an FDNY briefing Friday.

He helped to direct a woman down from the second-floor apartment on the fire escape.

Then "I just climbed it, started searching my way up from the second floor. Opened the window and looked in and the floor was collapsed," said Shepherd. He continued up to the third floor.

He didn't come down until he'd gotten all the way up to the top floor, and the danger to himself became all too real.

"I could feel the heat and the smoke, and I said, 'I gotta get outta here now,'" he said. "And I looked and I could see 9-truck coming and 33-engine, so I said, 'Worst case scenario, they'll have to put the bucket up and grab me."

Witness Troy Hinson recorded Shepherd climbing up the fire escape and told NBC News the crowd below was terrified as they watched. 

"You're kind of in awe at what this guy's doing but you're also kind of holding your breath and you're like, I don't want to see this guy die in front of me, but that was definitely going through my mind," he said. 

"Some people just react a certain way, and he just instinctively reacted to climb up there, and that guy is truly the hero," said Hinson. 

Shepherd said he thought of his family, his wife, son daughters and granddaughter -- but the third-generation firefighter knew he couldn't walk away without helping.

"Maybe it's just in your blood," he said. "But being a New Yorker, you're always willing to go out and help somebody, you know."

"Hero" School Bus Driver


A school bus driver helped about 35 students safely exit a burning bus Friday morning in front of an Orange County, California, school after flames spread from its engine area.

Two students were treated by firefighter-paramedics at the scene, but they did not suffer serious injuries, according to the Orange County Fire Authority.

The full size school bus' engine bay caught fire in front of Rancho Santa Margarita Intermediate School at about 8:15 a.m. Firefighters, who initially thought it might be a wildfire due to the amount of smoke, extinguished the fire about 15 minutes later.

A thick column of black smoke could be seen from around the school campus and in the surrounding neighborhood. Explosions were heard as the bus tires burst due to the heat and fire.

Daniel Grantham had just dropped his son off at the school when he looked in his rearview mirror and saw the smoke.

"I saw (smoke) coming from the direction of the school and that was my first worry," Grantham said. "I flipped around and pulled up right in front of the school where the bus was. It was burning when I got there.

"I've got to give kudos to the bus driver. The bus driver is the real hero."

The driver, who declined an on-camera interview, was identified as a 20-year employee with First Student Bus Company, which contracts with the school district.  She did "an excellent job" of getting all the students off the bus safely, according to the OCFA.

The driver noticed smoke coming out of the engine area as she pulled up in front of the school, said Steve Concialdi, of the Orange County Fire Authority. She calmly helped the children, ages 12 to 14, off the bus before using a fire extinguisher to fight the fire.

"These are her kids -- she takes them to school every day," said Concialdi

The front of the bus sustained significant damage. A location manager for the bus company told NBC4 the buses are inspected every 45 days, but did not have information regarding information specific to the bus that burned.

"Our students were safely evacuated to the PE school area when the school bus fire was reported," Principal Rick Jameson said in a statement. "This is our normal evacuation procedure. We take school safety when it comes to the safety of students as well as staff. Three kids had some emotional suffering, mostly just panicking and hyperventilating, but nobody was injured. Those three students were released to their parents. We will continue with regular school schedule for today."

Photo Credit: Daniel Grantham

Taraji Henson Apologizes


After Glendale, California, police released a dashcam video that appeared to contradict claims by "Empire" star Taraji Henson that her son was racially profiled during a traffic stop, the actress apologized to the department on her Instagram account.

The dashcam video released by the Glendale Police Department seemed to contradict statements from Henson that her son was racially profiled by police during the Oct. 18 stop. She also said her son had been profiled by police at USC.

"I would like to publicly apologize to the officer and the Glendale Police Department," said the statement on Henson's Instagram. "A mother's job is not easy and neither is a police officer's. Sometimes as humans we overreact without gathering all of the facts. As a mother in this case I overreacted and for that I apologize. Thank you to that officer for being kind to my son. Love, Taraji P. Henson."

Henson's publicist called the department and confirmed that they post came from her, according to Glendale police.

Henson, an Emmy and Academy-award nominated actress, said in an interview with Uptown magazine released this week that her son was racially profiled by police in two different incidents, one in Glendale and one at USC.

The 40-minute video shows Henson’s son, Marcell Johnson, driving through a lit and flashing crosswalk with a woman walking in it. The officer pulls Johnson over and explains why he was stopped.

During the initial interaction, Johnson is asked if he has ever been arrested and if there is anything illegal in the car. Johnson discloses that there is marijuana in his backpack, and tells the officer that he has a medical marijuana prescription.

"I appreciate you being honest with me about the weed. I do appreciate that because I do smell weed," the officer said.

Later during the stop, Johnson also tells the office that he has Ritalin pills that he obtained from a friend in the car. Those are never found during a search of the car.

In the end, the officer issues Johnson a citation for the marijuana, and advises him that he can go to court with his proof of prescription and will then likely only have to pay a fine.

He tells Johnson that the marijuana citation is better than a ticket for illegally running through the crosswalk because it won’t have a lasting effect on his driving record.

"I am not going to give you a citation for running that yellow because that would actually put a moving violation on your driving license, and you are going to have to go to traffic school and all that stuff, so I am helping you by not giving you a violation on it. All I am going to do is take the weed from you," he said.

Johnson was also asked to take a field sobriety test because he admitted he had smoked marijuana two hours before the traffic stop. He passed the sobriety test.

Henson told Uptown magazine that her son was slated to attend USC but that he would now be attending Howard University in Washington, D.C. because she was concerned about the profiling.

The chief of USC's Department of Public Safety said in a statement Tuesday he was racially profiled as a teenager and was “deeply disturbed” to learn that Henson's son felt profiled because of his race.

"As someone who personally experienced racial profiling as a teenager, I have a stake in learning more about this incident and doing all I can to reach a just resolution," he said.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Glendale Police Department

Boy Battling Rare Disease Becomes Honorary Police Officer


A 9-year-old boy battling a rare, debilitating disease has become the newest member of the North Haven Police Department.

Hunter Pageau, who is one of only about 80 people worldwide living with spinal muscular atrophy with respiratory distress, or SMARD, was sworn in Tuesday night as an honorary youth officer, according to the police department.

Photos from the ceremony show Hunter flanked by officers, wearing a police cap and grinning from ear to ear.

The boy spends his days dependent on a ventilator, wheelchair and life support. Although there is no known treatment or cure for SMARD, Italian researchers have made an apparent breakthrough and hope to begin human trials in the near future.

Hunter is raising money through a GoFundMe page to fund a trip to Italy so he can participate in those trials when they become available.

"Always have hope, love and never give up," he said earlier this week.

Photo Credit: North Haven Police Department

Man Robs Dunkin' Donuts in New Haven


Officers responded to the Dunkin’ Donuts on 1350 Whalley Avenue in New Haven late Wednesday night after a clerk reported the shop had been robbed, according to police.

A masked man in his late teens or early 20s entered into the Dunkin’ Donuts sometime around 11:30 p.m., displayed a black handgun to the clerk, then left on foot, police said.

Police said he stood about 5 feet 5 inches tall and wore a black North Face jacket, light denim jeans and white sneakers.

Anyone with information is urged to call New Haven police.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Protests Erupt After New Haven Police Exonerate Officer


What began with the New Haven mayor and police chief announcing the exoneration of an officer captured on camera making a forceful arrest ended with a face-off between city leaders and supporters of the police union.

Those in support of the union are upset that just days earlier, Mayor Toni Harp placed Officer Joshua Smereczynsky on desk duty after protestors marched to her door.

"There's such a thing as due process, and we didn't have it. We weren't treated fairly, and that's why we're here today," said Louis Cavaliere Jr. with the Elm City Local New Haven Police Union.

"It seems to me any police officer would understand the need to diffuse a potentially and increasingly volatile circumstance," said Harp.

Tensions escalated after a video surfaced showing Smereczynsky forcing a handcuffed 15-year-old to the ground during the city's St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Police Chief Dean Esserman said the officer responded to a fight involving weapons at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant. While taking the teen into custody, he noticed a weapon in her bag and took her down, fearing for his safety.

"A police officer made his arrest and followed the training he received," said Esserman.

The police chief called the arrest "tragic." He said the department will not allow the city to become divided and will support the teen's family.

"A police department needs the trust and support of its community and a community needs its police department," said Esserman. "This is a family that needs the help and has asked for the help of the New Haven Police Department, and they're going to get it, today, tonight, all weekend and forever, if so need be."

But inside and outside City Hall, it was clear to see the lines had been drawn.

Chaos erupted as the police union clashed with supporters of the teen. The two sides screamed and chanted at each other. Despite the results of the internal affairs investigation, protestors still believe the officer used unnecessary force.

While the internal affairs investigation may be done, it's going to take a lot more to calm the storm.

Smereczynsky will be back out on the streets starting Monday.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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15K Race to be Held on CTfastrak Busway


CTfastrak is giving runners the chance to race on the brand new busway during an upcoming 15K road race in May.

The race will get underway May 3 at the New Britain bus station. The busway, along with roads in Newington, West Hartford and Hartford, will be closed on race day to accommodate runners.

"The pristine, freshly paved CTfastrak roadway provides an optimal surface for road runners and the unique opportunity to enjoy a point-to-point course with convenient transportation to accommodate all participants," said Beth Shluger, executive director and CEO of the Hartford Marathon Foundation, in a statement.

The race will end in Bushnell Park, where participants will return to Union Station for a post-race party and awards.

Registration is now open and will be capped at 1,200 entries. To register for the race, visit www.hartfordmarathon.com.

The Hartford Marathon Foundation joined the Department of Transportation to celebrate the opening of the CTfastrak busway on Friday. Buses will begin running Saturday morning.

Man Wounded in Shooting Outside Waterbury Store


Waterbury police are investigating a shooting outside a store on Willow Street that left a man with serious injuries.

The 38-year-old victim was shot in the leg after an argument around 9:30pm Friday, according to police.  He suffered non-life threaning injuries and is recovering at Waterbury Hospital.

Police shut down Willow Street near Hillside Avenue to gather evidence. It's unclear if any arrests have been made.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: Viewer Photo

Man Caught "Behaving Inappropriately" in CCSU Bathrooms


Police at Central Connecticut State University are alerting students after a 27-year-old man who has previously been banned from campus was spotted "behaving inappropriately" in women's bathrooms on multiple occasions.

According to an email notification sent from the university, former student Louis Card, 27, has been recently seen "loitering near and behaving inappropriately in women's bathrooms." 

"I think she got followed into the bathroom," CCSU student Brandon Rochester said of a friend who may have had a run-in with Card. "So she called the police and made a report, and I guess they did something about it, which is good."

Card had been previously banned from campus and served with a "persona non grata." He stands 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighs 140 pounds and has hazel eyes and brown hair.

Students are urged to be on the lookout and contact police immediately at 860-832-2375 if they see Card on campus.

He could not be reached for comment Friday.

Photo Credit: Central Connecticut State University
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