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"He Left Me for Dead": Victim Says Son-in-Law Attacked Her


A Portland man is facing charges in connection with the brutal attack that left his mother-in-law clinging to life at her farm in East Hampton last September.

Matthew M. Frick, 24, of Portland, was arrested on Thursday after a lengthy investigation. Court documents identified Frick as a relative of victim Lisa Rader.

Rader, 58, said Frick is her son-in-law and believes he tried to kill her at her farm on White Birch Road. Police initially thought Rader may have been kicked by one of her horses.

"I was asleep, kicked the door open, came in started hitting me. I jumped up out of the bed, tripped over the foot of the bed, was cowered on the floor between the bed and the wood stove. I had my hands over my head. I said, 'OK, that’s enough, you can stop,' and I woke up in St. Francis," she recalled. "He left me for dead."

Rader said she was hit with a cast-iron pot and struck 41 times with a fireplace stoker, causing nerve damage to the left side of her face. Although the nerve damage should heal, Rader said scars serve as painful reminders of that night, along with screws implanted in her left arm and hand.

Rader told NBC Connecticut she believes the attack was part of an ongoing dispute with her daughter, who runs a farm in Portland. The properties share a name: White Birch Farm.

"I guess, in her mind, she figured they would have a happier life if I was dead," Rader said, adding that she thinks her daughter wanted to cash in by selling her parents' farm.

NBC Connecticut crews were turned away from White Birch Farm in Portland on Friday.

Court records show Frick has been ordered to stay away from Rader. He's charged with aiding and abetting first-degree assault, aiding and abetting to commit home invasion and aiding and abetting to commit first-degree burglary.

Frick was taken into custody Thursday evening at his home in Portland and brought to State Police Troop K barracks in Colchester, where he was held bond ahead of his court appearance Friday.

He avoided the cameras outside Middletown Superior Court.

"My client has no comment to make and no message," his attorney said.

Detectives are continuing to investigate and expect to make additional arrests.

"Detectives are continuing their investigation and as the investigation continues there’s the potential for more arrests," State police spokesperson Trooper Kelly Grant said Friday.

Frick has been released on bond and is due back in court in June.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Metro-North Branches Back on Schedule


The New Canaan Branch of Metro-North's New Haven Line was delayed up to 50 minutes, while the Danbury Branch was delayed by 20 minutes Friday afternoon and into the evening, according to the railroad.

A service alert issued by the the railroad said a circuit problem caused delays of 45-50 minutes along the New Canaan Branch. Passengers taking the 7:28 p.m. train out of New Canaan boarded a bus to Stamford, according to Metro-North.

The Danbury Branch was experiencing residual delays of up to 20 minutes after a tree came down in the Branchville section of Ridgefield earlier Friday, according to the railroad.

Both branches were back on schedule as of about 9 p.m.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Boaters Urged to Look Out for Belugas in Long Island Sound


Mystic Aquarium is keeping tabs on a trio of Beluga whales spotted several times in Long Island Sound and asking residents to respect them and help keep them safe.

The three young whales, less than 8 feet long, were first seen near Rhode Island on May 10. A group of local college students encountered them Wednesday while fishing off the coast of Fairfield.

Most recently, a bay constable caught sight of the whales in Manhasset Bay, according to the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation. The whales were spotted around 9 a.m. swimming toward Long Island Sound.

Riverhead spokeswoman Rachel Bosworth said the whales were very curious and swam right up to the bay constable's boat.

As the holiday weekend rolls around, officials with both Riverhead and Mystic are urging boaters to keep an eye out for the whales and avoid getting too close. Federal guidelines mandate boaters to stay at least 100 feet away, according to a spokesperson for Mystic.

"At Mystic Aquarium, our first priority is the safety and well-being of these animals," a spokesperson said in a public service announcement released Friday. "We ask residents up and down the shoreline to share in our desire to keep these animals safe, especially during this busy holiday weekend."

Boaters should avoid following the whales or interfering with their movements. Slow down if you see them and put the boat in neutral if they approach. Make sure the area is clear before starting your engine and avoid interacting with or feeding the whales.

Mystic is asking boaters to report whale sightings to the NOAA Fisheries Stranding and Entanglement Hotline at 866-755-6622 and the Mystic Aquarium Animal Rescue Hotline at 860-572-5955 ext. 107.

If you see someone harassing the whales, call the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement Hotline at 800-853-1964.

Photo Credit: Mystic Aquarium

Cops Trained to Interact With Vets


Behind a humble facade in the middle of White Plains, New York, lives are being changed for returning combat veterans, thanks to one idea hatched by a former first responder six years ago. 

"Education has been my best weapon, I think, to help veterans coming home fight their way back," said veteran readjustment counselor Liz Ianelli, who has developed a program teaching police how to interact with veterans.

"It's encouraging them to think differently and have a raised level of awareness that veterans are a special population, and they do have distinct needs," she said. 

From traffic stops to chance meetings, the training equips police with tools to recognize if a veteran is struggling with readjustment, depression and even PTSD.

White Plains Police Commissioner David Chong heard about Ianelli's program and immediately had her teach his entire department.

"We can't forget the service that these young men and women have done for our country," he said. "We're a service department. We're out there to help them." 

It's not just about lectures in a classroom. Ianelli and the officers take the classroom out into the field. At a traffic stop training demonstration, an officer practiced telling the driver: "I see on here you're actually a vet." 

The driver said she'd just returned from deployment, and the officers offered to escort her back to the Vet Center in that training session. 

"For that officer reaching out in that moment, it can profoundly change the direction of someone's life," said Ianelli.

The officers can identify how to problem-solve, defuse a situation, or even direct vets to the Vet Center for more help. 

"Veterans want to know that you care," said White Plains police officer Michael Cheeks, who was a Marine serving in the Persian Gulf before he joined the police department. He has seen the positive impact the First Responder Initiative is making.

"It actually helps us do our job better," he said. 

In just six years, Ianelli's idea has spread across Westchester with dozens of police departments receiving the training, and every new recruit going through the class.

Now first responders across the country are starting to take notice of what began in a humble office in White Plains, and on this Memorial Day weekend, Ianelli says listening and offering help is the least we can do for veterans.

"This country is big on the phrase, 'We'll never forget,' but I'd say, we'll never stop learning," said Ianelli. "If you see a need, what are you going to do about it?" 

Only the Fittest: CrossFit Games By the Numbers


It’s the quest to find the "Fittest on Earth": The 2015 CrossFit Regionals are underway across the globe during the month of May, and this weekend, the Eastern regional competition comes to the XL Center in Hartford.

Competitors will vie for a spot at the worldwide CrossFit Games this summer in Carson, California.

The CrossFit Games are a three-stage journey, beginning with the Open, a five-week competition held in early spring in CrossFit gyms around the world. Anyone can enter, and this year, more than 270,000 athletes put themselves to the test.

Although the increasingly popular sport of CrossFit attracts people of all fitness abilities, the road to the worldwide CrossFit Games is only for the elite. Less than one percent – only 660 people – qualified to advance from the Opens to the next step: Regionals.

Hartford is hosting the Eastern regional, where 40 individual men, 40 individual women and 30 teams from the Northeastern United States and East Canada will compete over three days. Only the top five individual men and women will advance to the Crossfit Games. Three teams will advance to the CrossFit Games Affiliate Cup.

Connecticut’s Contenders
Connecticut’s entries to the Eastern regional include six individual athletes – three men, three women – and two teams.

NBC Connecticut’s Heidi Voight will be covering the CrossFit Regionals. Follow Heidi on Twitter or Facebook for updates and athlete interviews throughout the weekend.

Megin Oczkowski, Shoreline CrossFit
Kaleena Ladeairous, CrossFit Milford
Sarah Scholl, CrossFit Stamford

Craig Kenney, Branford CrossFit
Kurt Garceau, North Haven CrossFit
Zachary Moran, Columbia CrossFit

CrossFit Brickyard, South Windsor
CrossFit Milford, Milford

Man Convicted in '70 Murder Free


A man convicted in a fatal robbery of a ice cream truck driver in Coconut Grove, Florida, more than 40 years ago when he was just a teen is a free man.

Prince Johnson has been in prison since he was 16, following his 1971 trial for first-degree murder in the death of Marta Roman.

At a hearing Friday, a Miami-Dade judge furloughed the sentence. Johnson thanked his family after he was set free.

"My family, for all the moral support they gave me, standing by me," he said.

Prosecutors accused Johnson and another teenager of shooting Roman during a robbery of her ice cream truck in July 1970. Two 6-year-old girls told investigators they heard the shots and saw the teens running away from the ice-cream truck.

At first, prosecutors were seeking the death penalty for Johnson, but a judge sentence him to life in prison instead.

"The State knew that there was another person involved, they couldn't connect it. Prince was never alleged to be the shooter in this case, he was a kid who possibly got swept into this incident," public defender Gail Lewis said.

"I'm so happy and I want everybody to know there is a God up above," family member Olive Johnson-Coley said. "He missed his whole life, he was only 16."

"He wouldn't take anything from people, he was different but today is my day, I can't wait to kiss him," aunt Kathleen Basten said.

Three years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that all juvenile offenders sentenced to death or to life in prison must be re-sentenced. The court deemed it a cruel and unusual punishment otherwise, and now the courts are seeing more cases like Johnson's.

Memorial Day Parades and Ceremonies Around Connecticut


Cities and towns around the state are holding Memorial Day parades and ceremonies to honor Connecticut's veterans and fallen troops.

Danbury Memorial Day Parade

The Danbury Memorial Day Parade will step off at 9:30 a.m. Monday, May 25 at Kennedy Park. The parade will proceed to Rogers Park. After the parade, parachutists will land on the baseball field and a ceremonial service will take place at the Rose Memorial Garden.

East Hartford Veteran's Memorial Remembrance Ceremony

The ceremony will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. Sunday, May 24 at Bicentennial Park. The park is located at the corner of Forbes Street and Scotland Road. The ceremony will feature the East Hartford Police Department color guard and guest speakers, along with Taps and a roll call for fallen service members.

East Hartford Memorial Day Parade

The parade steps off at 10:30 a.m. at East Hartford Middle School at 777 Burnside Avenue. The parade turns west on Burnside Avenue, south on Hillside Street and ends at Hillside Cemetery.

East Lyme Memorial Day Parade

The parade will step off Monday at 2 p.m. Route 156/Main Street will close to traffic at 1 p.m. between Columbus Avenue and Route 161/Pennsylvania Avenue. Traffic will be diverted to East Pattagansett Road, then to Hope Street and onto Route 161.

Fairfield Memorial Day Parade

The Memorial Day parade will begin at 10 a.m. in downtown Fairfield and will be held rain or shine. The parade kicks off on South Pine Creek Road and will travel east to Post Road and the library, then south along Old Post Road to Flint's Corner, east past the town green along Old Post Road and beyond South Benson Road.

A full list of Memorial Day events in Fairfield is available here.

Hamden Memorial Day Parade

The 79th annual Hamden Memorial Day Parade kicks off at 10 a.m. Monday at Hamden High School. The parade will travel northbound along Dixwell Avenue to the Memorial Town Hall. A wreath ceremony will be held after the parade at the Veterans' Memoorial in front of Hamden Middle School. The mayor and parade marshal will deliver remarks and wreaths will be laid at the memorial.

Madison Memorial Day Parade

The parade, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., will march from downtown Madison to West Cemetery. A ceremony at the town green flagpole will be held at 10:15 a.m.

Mansfield Memorial Day Parade

The parade will step off at 9 a.m. Monday at the intersection of Route 195/Storrs Road and Bassetts Bridge Road in Mansfield Center. The route proceeds northbound on Route 195 and down Cemetery Road before ending at the new Mansfield Center Cemetery, where a ceremony will be held.

The Mansfield Middle School Band and E.O. Smith Regional High School Band will perform, three volleys will be fired and Taps will be played to honor fallen service members. The parade then returns to Bassetts Bridge Road.

In the event of inclement weather, an abbreviated ceremony will be held at Mansfield Middle School's gymnasium at 9 a.m. Monday.

Middletown Memorial Day Parade

Middletown's Memorial Day parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. Monday on Main Street. The parade will proceed down Main Street from St. John's Square to Union Street.

Washington Street/Route 66 will be closed between High Street and DeKoven Drive starting at 9:30 a.m. Traffic from the Arrigoni Bridge will be diverted down Hartford Avenue to Route 9. Police expect Main Street to reopen to traffic around noon Monday.

North Stonington Memorial Day Parade

The North Stonington Memorial Day Parade will kick off at 10 a.m. at the North Stonington Fairgrounds at 21 Wyassup Road.

Norwalk Memorial Day Parade

The Norwalk Memorial Day Parade will begin at 10 a.m. Veterans Park in East Norwalk and proceed east on Van Zant Street and northbound on East Avenue. The parade will end at Norwalk Green.

Van Zant Street, East Avenue south of Route 1 and the Interstate 95 ramps at exit 16 will be closed from 10 a.m. through 12:30 p.m. Monday in light of the parade.

Old Saybrook Memorial Day Parade

A dockside naval ceremony with a rifle salute and wreath-laying ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. Monday, preceding the parade. The parade will kick off at 10 a.m. on Elm Street and will march to the Veterans Memorial Monuments. A memorial program will take place on the town green following the parade.

Suffield Memorial Day Parade

The parade will kick off at 9 a.m. at the Veterans' Memorial next to the Kent Memorial Library. The parade will march down Bridge and Main streets and will end at 10:30 a.m. A ceremony will take place afterward at the Veterans' Memorial.

West Hartford Memorial Day Parade

The West Hartofrd Memorial Parade will kick off at 10 a.m. Monday on Farmington Avenue at the intersection of Woodrow Street. The parade will then march east on Farmington Avenue, turn south onto South Main Street, then continue to Goodman Green, Burr Street and into the town hall parking lot.

A memorial service will follow the parade at the West Hartford Veterans Memorial at the corner of Farmington Avenue and North Main Street.

West Haven Memorial Day Parade

The procession will step off at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Captain Thomas Boulevard. The parade will then proceed up Campbell Avenue to Center Street.

The following roads will be closed during the parade: Campbell Avenue from Captain Thomas Boulevard to Center Street, Savin Avenue between Center and Main streets, Main Street between Savin and Campbell avenues, Center Street between Campbell and Savin avenues and Captain Thomas Boulevard between Washington Avenue and Altschuler Boulevard.

Westport Memorial Day Parade

The parade kicks off at 9 a.m. at the Saugatuck Elementary School on Riverside Avenue and ends at Parker-Harding Plaza. Memorial services will take place on Veterans Green after the parade.

If the parade is canceled due to weather conditions, memorial services will take place at the Westport Town Hall auditorium at 10 a.m. To find out if the parade has been canceled, call the Parks & Recreation Cancellation Line at 203-341-5074 or go to www.westportrecreation.com.

Wethersfield Memorial Day Parade

The Wethersfield Memorial Day Parade will step off on State Street at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 23. A ceremony will take place after the parade at the Village Cemetery on Marsh Street. Hartford Avenue to State Street will be closed to non-parade traffic beginning at 8:30 p.m. State Street will be close in both directions shortly before the parade begins. See the full parade route here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

More Than 1 Involved in DC Murders


Three members of a D.C. family — and their housekeeper — were held overnight by more than one person before they were slain in their home last week, according to new court documents filed Friday afternoon.

The youngest of the victims, 10-year-old Philip Savopoulos, died from "thermal injuries" and stab wounds. He was found in a bedroom consumed by fire, the documents say.

There was a strong smell of gasoline permeating the house, and a K-9 officer detected an "ignitable liquid." A matchbox and several matches were found at the top of the stairs.

The court documents reveal new details in the murders of Savvas Savopoulos, 46; his wife, Amy Savopoulos, 47; their son, Philip, and housekeeper Veralicia "Vera" Figueroa, 57, on May 14. 

Quadruple+murder+suspect+Darron+Wint+in+custody+May+21%2C+2015Darron Dellon Dennis Wint, 34, is the only person charged in the murders so far, though the documents say Wint "and others" held the family hostage until $40,000 in cash was delivered Thursday. The deed “required the presence and assistance of more than one person," the documents say.

Wint's name was spelled "Daron Dylon Wint" in previous filings in the case, though today's filing says Darron Dellon Dennis Wint is his "true name." He has also used his brother's name: Steffon. 

Court documents also indicate more than one person knew of the delivery of the $40,000 to the Savopoulos family's home in the hours before the victims died.

In fact, one of those witnesses changed his story about critical details of the case while police were interviewing him, changing his claims of when the request to deliver money was made, how he received the package and where it was left.

The person the documents call "W-1" said that he received a text from Savvas Savopoulos Wednesday evening, instructing Savopoulos' assistant to meet another employee Thursday morning to pick up a package.

Initially, W-1 said the request to pick up a package was made Thursday morning.

The employee took four bundles out of his or her pockets and put the cash in a red bag belonging to W-1.

W-1 drove the assistant to the Savopoulos home, and called Savopoulos 10 minutes before arriving. According to the witness, Savopoulos instructed W-1 to leave the money in a red car inside the garage.

The assistant put the money inside a manila envelope and left it on the driver's seat. Police did not find the envelope in the car during their search of the home.

Police said at Wint's court hearing Friday that they are still looking for a red car missing from the mansion's garage. It was not immediately clear whether this was the same vehicle.

Wint appeared in court Friday afternoon in a prison jumpsuit, his hands and legs shackled. He is charged with first-degree murder while armed. 

In court Friday, Wint was ordered held without bond and ordered to submit to a DNA swab. He did not enter a plea, and is due back in court June 23.

Police said during the hearing that they are looking at a plastic water bottle with fingerprints on it that was found at the crime scene.

On Friday, D.C. and Prince George's County authorities searched a motel in College Park where Wint and and others were seen the previous night. Investigators carried bags of evidence from the motel shortly after 4 p.m. Friday.

Wint was arrested late Thursday while in a two-vehicle caravan including a box truck in northeast D.C.

The white Chevrolet Cruze Wint was in was followed from the Howard Johnson motel in College Park by members of the fugitive task force. A Prince George’s County Police helicopter also Tracked the car for several miles as it headed south on Route 1 into the district, providing the exact location to officers on the ground.

Officers at the scene described Wint as stoic.

A court document said U.S. marshals saw "a large stack" of what appeared to be $100 bills in the truck. This denomination is consistent with what was delivered to the victims' home.

NBC News has confirmed that at least $10,000 was found in the truck.

The marshals also saw several money orders.

An occupant of Wint's vehicle admitted to authorities that he or she had purchased money orders "under the direction of an identified person who was providing [him or her] with money," according to the document. The person providing the money was not named in the document.

The occupant of the vehicle also told authorities he or she believed the total amount of money orders exceeded $10,000.

He had once worked for the company run by one of the victims, and was identified as a suspect after authorities made a DNA match on a partially eaten slice of pizza left behind in the Savopoulos' home.

Investigators found two Domino's pizza boxes in the bedroom where the three adult victims were found, according to the court documents obtained Friday.

The pizza boxes were time-stamped May 13 at 9:14 p.m. — the night before the killings — and paid for with the Savopoulos' credit card.

A Domino's employee who took the order told detectives that the caller, believed to be Amy Savopoulos, gave some unusual instructions. She told the Domino's employee that she was caring for a sick child and couldn't come to the door, so the delivery person should leave the pizzas on the front porch, ring the bell and then leave.

The delivery person told detectives that all the lights in the house were off, with just the front porch light illuminated. The delivery person placed the food on the porch as instructed and left.

Photo Credit: AP
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"Victory Parade" Police Pursuit


A bizarre slow-speed chase of a man in a convertible Ford Mustang ended peacefully Friday when a man stepped into traffic and in front of the car and stopped it, forcing the driver to surrender.

The man in the Mustang had a sign on the driver's side door reading, "Victory Parade," as he led police on pursuit at 10 mph with his hazard lights on in the western San Fernando Valley.

The man flashed peace signs, waved and saluted at bystanders on sidewalks as he wove in and out of traffic while police followed along the main Valley drag, Ventura Boulevard.

The pursuit began at 5:45 p.m. in Northridge after an off-duty firefighter called police to report an erratic driver, said LAPD Lt. John Jenal.

It ended when a man stepped into the path of the car. The Mustang driver appeared to try to wave the man away, but he didn't budge.

The driver got out of the car with his hands up and surrendered. He faces a less serious misdemeanor charge of evading arrest. Police said he has a history of mental illness and they believe he was having a "crisis."

The man who stopped the pursuit was detained for questioning. He was later held because he had an outstanding felony warrant, police said.

"We want to determine if there are any mental issues," Jenal said. "Of course, we do not condone someone doing this, endangering themselves, impeding the road."

Newington Police Warn Residents of Car Break-In Spree


Normally quiet and safe Newington neighborhoods have found themselves the target of thieves.

Police say recently they've received several reports of vehicle break-ins occurring during the evening and midnight hours. Some of the areas hit include Vincent Drive, condo complexes by Willard Avenue and Richard Street and roads off busy New Britain Avenue.

"It's a bit unsettling because you usually don't hear about things like that," said neighbor Jeanne Picklesimer.

Police are asking residents to be on the alert and take precautions to avoid becoming the next victim. Along with locking all the doors, authorities advise against leaving valuables in the car and putting items out of sight before reaching your destination. Avoid leaving spare keys, your driver's license or car title in your vehicle.

"You got to have a little bit of common sense. You cannot leave your car unlocked or your house unlocked when you leave," said neighbor Regan Lessard.

If you see any suspicious activity or have any information on the break-ins, call police.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Hamden Calls on Quinnipiac to Help Prevent Party Problems


Town officials in Hamden are calling on Quinnipiac University leadership to take responsibility for an off-campus party problem that has been an issue for years.

Most students are finished with classes for the school year and town leaders say something needs to change before those students return.

“They continuously refuse to take responsibility for the off-campus behavior of their students," said Acting Hamden Mayor James Pascarella.

Pascarella is asking university leaders, including President John Lahey, to take action. Lahey was caught on video at an off-campus "May Weekend" party on a microphone in front of hundreds of college-aged revelers. Days after that video surfaced, Lahey issued an apology.

Pascarella and others had hoped the incident would be a turning point in the often rocky relationship between Hamden residents and the university.

"We just need their leadership to be responsible stakeholders," said Curt Leng, chief administrative officer for the town of Hamden.

Leng, a Democrat, is currently running for mayor of Hamden. A special election is scheduled for next week.

In a news release sent out Friday, detailing plans to add 300 more beds on its York Hill Campus, the university called on Hamden to change its town rules to permanently restrict college students from living in primarily residential neighborhoods.

Pascarella called such a ban "questionable" and "possibly unconstitutional."

"They’re placing the entire onus of disciplining off-campus student behavior on the town of Hamden," said Pascarella. "They’re accepting no responsibility whatsoever themselves."

Town officials said they want to keep the dialogue with the university going in hopes of making some progress on this issue.

A spokesperson from Quinnipiac said there would be no response from the university or its president on this matter.

Photo Credit: YouTube

Missing 2-Year-Old May Be Bound for Bronx: Police


Police are looking for a 2-year-old girl who they believe was taken Thursday from a home on Webb Street in Hamden and may be bound for the Bronx with her mother, against whom the child has an active restraining order.

Authorities issued a Silver Alert for 2-year-old Hailie Sierra on Friday. The child has black and brown eyes. Police said she was last seen wearing a brown hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans and gray Air Jordans sneakers.

Hamden police said they suspect the child's mother, Jasmine Hernandez, 22, took Hailie from her home at 33 Webb Street around 5:45 p.m. Thursday.

Hailie's father has custody of the toddler and has obtained a protective order against Hernandez. Hailie also has a restraining order against her mother, according to police.

Hamden police said Hernandez may be bringing Hailie to the Bronx.

Hernandez stands 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 145 pounds. Police said she has dark red hair and a tattoo on her chest that reads "RIP Carlos." She was last seen wearing black-and-white sneakers, ripped jeans, a black shirt and a black leather jacket.

A 2-year-old child named Hailie Sierra was also reported missing with her mother Jasmine in November 2014 but was later found safe. Police said the two left Hamden following a domestic dispute between Jasmine and the child's father.

Anyone with information on Hailie or Hernandez's whereabouts is urged to call Hamden police at 203-230-4000.

Photo Credit: Hamden Police Department

2 Hurt in Serious Crash on Route 10 in Granby


Two people were injured late Friday afternoon in a serious crash on Route 10/Salmon Brook Street in Granby, according to police.

Police said two cars collided in the area of Route 10 and Rickwood Lane. A LifeStar medical helicopter was requested, but a LifeStar representative said the service did not respond.

It's not clear if the drivers were traveling alone. There has been no word on their conditions, but police described the crash as serious.

Route 10 was closed in the area while police responded to the crash.

No additional information was immediately available.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Vets Rescuing Oil-Soaked Pelicans


There's no guarantee they will survive, but this could be their only shot.

Eight brown pelicans soaked in sludgy crude oil have arrived at the Oiled Bird Care and International Bird Rescue Center in San Pedro, California, where veterinarians and expert are scrambling to help the seabirds survive.

"They have been very heavily oiled," said Dr. Christine Fiorello of the Oiliced Wildlife Care Network based out of UC Davis. "Anywhere from 90 to 100 percent oiled."

So far, eight brown pelicans have been saved, but the bodies of five oil-soaked bodies of pelicans have been recovered, officials told Reuters Friday. Those being cleaned up and washed in San Pedro are expected to have a good prognosis, "based on the fact that they were captured promptly and getting care right away," according to Fiorello. "We’re lucky for that."

Rescuers also saved two sea lions and one elephant seal from the spill zone since the pipeline ruptured on Tuesday, according to a spokesperson for the cleanup and recovery operations.

The cleanup process is tedious. At first, the birds sit for 48 hours, so they can adapt to the stress of being removed from their environment, Fiorello said.

The team then uses various cleaning chemicals to first loosen the oil from the birds’ feathers before using Dawn dishwashing detergent to finally wash out the oil.

The Oiled Bird Care and International Bird Rescue Center is part of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's "Oiled Wildlife Care Network," and the closest to the spill near Santa Barbara.

"We have drills, we are getting ready for a spill every day of the year," said Eric Laughlin of Fish and Wildlife. But he said the whole process will take time.

Once the birds are cleaned, they are cared for medically for up two weeks before they are expected to be released back into the wild.

The release is expected to happen in San Pedro, because pelicans are migratory birds and could be released anywhere along the coast, Laughlin said.

Chicago Cops Escort Girls to Dance


Dozens of girls being raised without fathers weren't left out Friday night when the Chicago Police Department held its first-ever "Daddy Daughter Dance."

The event at the South Shore Cultural Center wasn't intended for officers and their daughters, but rather as a way for all dads to spend a formal evening with their little girls. Still, many of the girls who come from neighborhoods where poverty and violence leave little for celebration got a very special escort: a commander, sergeant or officer who was happy to stand in for their dads.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing because some people don't really associate with their fathers," said 13-year-old Brejay Payne. "So once you come out, dressed up, and dance, eat, and play with your father, it's kind of a nice day."

Girls, dads, and officers were dressed to the nines for the free, formal event. While the girls got an opportunity to enjoy food and refreshments and be the center of attention, officers got a chance to connect with community members and show that policing is more than just walking a beat.

"They actually get to see us to find out that that the police are nothing but people. We just happen to have uniforms on," said Cmdr. Larry Watson.

Chicago police districts 5, 7, and 9, as well as the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, planned the dance. They said they hope to make it an annual event.

Photo Credit: NBC Chicago

Funeral for Dean in Amtrak Wreck


Friends, family and students packed into a Bronx church Friday evening to mourn the CUNY dean who was killed in last week's deadly Amtrak derailment. 

Outside the Community Protestant Church on Gun Hill Road, everyone had a story about how CUNY Medgar Evers College Dean Derrick E. Griffith touched his or her life. 

Jovani Chavys, a dropout student Griffith took under his wing, said, "He gave me the chance to do something with myself. And I wouldn't be here right now if it wasn't for him, honestly." 

The 42-year-old's funeral comes days after Medgar Evers College set up a scholarship fund in his name. Griffith, the school's acting dean of student affairs and enrollment management, was a beloved member of the college's community, and hundreds paid tribute to the man in the days following the derailment. 

A volunteer ambulance corps saluted Griffith outside the service. Commander James Robinson said it was Griffith who asked him to speak to students at Medgar Evers, and it was one of the proudest moments of his life.

"God, I wish I knew how I could bring him back," said Robinson, of Bedford-Stuyvesant. "But he has left a legacy, a real legacy."

Arthur Henderson, a former Amtrak conductor, said he'd never met Griffith but he felt compelled to pay his respects after learning about him.

"When this tragedy happened, I got really kind of emotionally involved, and I really, really made an effort, and thank God I'm here tonight to express my feelings to the family," he said.

Griffith was scheduled to participate in his doctoral commencement ceremony on May 27, and was to be conferred his Ph.D. in urban education from CUNY, which has released his dissertation, "What's Black Got to Do With It? An Analysis of Low-Income Black Students and Educational Outcomes", online. 

He was a father figure to his students, and on Friday, many said the best way they could honor him is try and live up to his expectations.

"It's a sad day, but we're always going to remember him for the things he did for us, as people who had nothing gorwing up," said Chavys. 

Griffith's body will be laid to rest at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. 

Seven other people, including six with ties to the tri-state area, were killed in the May 12 crash, which also injured more than 200 people. Federal investigators are looking into the derailment and have said that the train's engineer was going more than 100 mph when the train derailed on a curved section of track in Philadelphia.

Steven Schwartzapfel, the attorney representing Griffith's family, said earlier this week it appeared that Amtrak was "negligent" in the derailment, though no lawsuit has been filed at this time, given the ongoing nature of the investigation.  

"A lawsuit at the appropriate time will be filed," Schwartzapfel said.

Route 9 Reopened After Crash That Closed Highway Overnight


Route 9 south in New Britain has reopened after a single-car crash that closed the highway overnight.

The Department of Transportation issued a closure notice for Route 9 at 11:42 p.m. on Friday after the accident between exits 29 and 28 near Central Connecticut State University.

The highway has since reopened.

No further information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Car Catches Fire in Route 9 Essex Crash


A car crashed and caught fire on Route 9 south in Essex early Saturday morning.

The crash caused one lane closure near exit 5, but traffic continued to move through the area on the highway.

No further information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Speed a Likely Factor in Crash That Critically Injured Driver: PD


Police are looking into whether drag racing and speed were factors in a rollover crash that sent a driver to the hospital with critical injuries in New Haven early Saturday morning. 

William Rivera Jr., 24, of East Haven, was driving an Acura on Sargent Drive when he was involved in a rollover crash and his car struck a utility pole.

Police and firefighters responded at about 2:19 a.m. to what turned out to be the crash site on Sargent Drive near Hallock Avenue after a 911 caller reported hearing what sounded like a gunshot.

Firefighters used "special equipment" to rescue Rivera, who was trapped in the vehicle and needed to be extricated, police said.

No evidence has been found to support the report of gunfire or that the car or driver were struck, but police said the loud bang the witness heard could have come from one of the tires bursting.

A witness told police that the car, a small, red Acura, was moving at a "high rate of speed" with "another vehicle on the straightaway," police said.

"Drag-racing has not been ruled out as a factor, although there is no evidence yet to support that theory," Officer David B. Hartman, spokesperson for the New Haven Police Department, said.

The driver, the only one in the car at the time of the crash, was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital to be treated for grave injuries. Rivera is listed in critical condition.

Sargent Drive was closed from Long Wharf Drive to Hallock Avenue earlier in the morning.

Police are looking for evidence to determine the cause of the crash, but the initial investigation shows that speed was likely a factor. Officers will review any surveillance footage available.

Photo Credit: New Haven Fire Twitter

West Haven Dedicates Eighth Phase of Veterans Walk of Honor


Members of the West Haven Veterans Council and city officials dedicated the eighth phase of the brick Veterans Walk of Honor project on Saturday night, just days before Memorial Day.

Veterans were invited to be a part of the ceremony at Bradley Point Park, which included a presentation of colors, invocation and wreath-laying. West Haven Mayor Edward M. O'Brien and Dave Ricci, president of the council, gave remarks.

"They come from all services, all branches, all veterans," Ricci said. "It’s not limited to veterans that have been to war. This is for all veterans."

Officials dedicated a granite stone by West Haven's Giordano Bros. Monuments in memory of Lorelee "Lori" Grenfell on the Walk of Honor, the one who came up with the idea of selling the bricks to memorialize veterans. Grenfell was a longtime president of the council and died Feb. 19 at 60 years old. She was a veteran of the U.S. Arma from the Vietnam War era.

The council launched the first of eight campaigns in 2006 to sell bricks for $75 a piece in memory of veterans on the Walk of Honor that spans 100 yards between the William A. Soderman and Vietnam Veterans memorials in town.

Organizers say Grenfell's service, as well as all the other veterans, will not be forgotten.

“It’s a place where you can come down and look at the name and remember," Ricci said. "It’s almost a sacred thing.”

About 105 bricks were dedicated at the ceremony of the 2,000 bricks there are on the walk.

“To see it up front is pretty amazing," Linda Casini, of Derby, said, snapping a picture of a brick with the name of her father, Orlando Sparenzi engraved in it.

Butch, as he was known, served in the Army in World War II.

“He never really talked about it but yeah we’re really proud of him. So, this is a great honor," Casini said.

State Rep. Charles J. Ferraro (R-West Haven) was scheduled to present the Grenfell family with a General Assembly citation that the city's delegation has signed recognizing "Grenfell's devotion to her fellow veterans," according to a news release.

The park is off of Captain Thomas Boulevard and the ceremony started at 5 p.m. West Haven's Memorial Day parade is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Monday, May 25 and will also be dedicated to Grenfell.

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