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Truck Carrying Frozen Food Tips Over on I-95


A tractor-trailer carrying frozen food tipped over on Interstate 95 North in Groton on Wednesday morning and police closed two lanes of the highway during the morning commute.

Crews from the state Department of Consumer Protection also responded to the scene, which has since cleared.

While the lanes have reopened, crews from the state Department of Transportation are repairing the guardrail.

No injuries are reported, according to state police.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Crashes Slow Commute on I-84


Three crashes within two miles on Interstate 84 West have turned the commute into a mess.

Police said the crashes are between exits 17 and 16 and there are delays between Waterbury and Middlebury.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation

Girl Chases Thief for Mom's Wallet


A 10-year-old girl fought off a thief who tried to take off with her mother's wallet — then snapped a cellphone picture of the man's license plate for police before he fled in a minivan from the Santa Ana 7-Eleven.

The girl named Genesis was in the back seat of a car with her sister Monday morning while their mother was inside the convenience store getting cash from the ATM. The man was also inside - police said he was stealing batteries and candy.

"I told my sister that he seemed pretty shady," Genesis said.

When the man came out of the store, he noticed a wallet in the front seat of the car. Then opened the door and took it.

"He just grabs it, so I started panicking and I walked out the car," she said. "He was really close to closing (his car) door but I yanked it back open."

The 80-pound girl struggled with the man's door, pulling on the handle and yelling at him.

"Then he gave up and gave me the wallet," she said.

The thief took off in the silver minivan, but not before the quick-thinking girl took out her cellphone and snapped a picture of the rear of the vehicle, capturing the license plate number.

"She's so brave - I'm so scared when I think about that," said the girl's mother, Grace Ramos. "Anything could happen, but thank God everything came out good."

Police are still looking for the man, who was captured on surveillance video in a blue denim shirt. Thanks to the photo the girl took, they're closer to finding him. They say he's a store regular.

While police and the mother are grateful for what Genesis did, she knows she's lucky she's safe.

"I was brave but (mom) said next time to not do that, to let him go because my life is worth more than her wallet," Genesis said.

Photo Credit: KNBC

Experimental Surgery Lets Boy Hear


The mother of a deaf boy says he can now hear the "birds sing" following experimental brain surgery performed in Southern California.

Four-year-old Auguste Gareau was the first child to receive an auditory brain implant in California, as part of a clinical trial being conducted at the Huntington Medical Research Institute.

The day NBC4 visited with Auguste, he was going for a nine-month check-up. He is in many ways a typical little boy, fascinated by his computer games and delighted at the sneaky chance to run through the long hallways at the doctor’s office.

"He is vibrant. Very illuminated. And he is a charmer," said Auguste’s mom, Sophie Gareau.
Auguste was born profoundly deaf. Before he was two years old, he underwent two cochlear implant surgeries. Neither surgery was successful, because Auguste is missing the nerve that connects the ear to the brain.

"When you have a child with a disability, you have to embrace them the way that they are. He was just perfect," Gareau said.

Then came an invitation from the House Clinic in Los Angeles, for Auguste to participate in a five-year clinical trial.

"Historically there was not a treatment option for these patients," said ear surgeon Dr. Eric Wilkinson.

Sophie was hesitant at first. This was not only an experimental surgery; it was experimental brain surgery on a little boy. Still, she and her husband travelled from their home in Canada to California to meet with the doctors.

"We went to Hollywood Boulevard, and we were sitting in front of Starbucks with this blasting music, and Auguste was sleeping, of course, because he couldn’t hear anything. And I just had this heat wave and it came up and the tears came to my eyes, and I am very intuitive and I said, 'We have to do this,'" said Gareau.

Until now, auditory brain implants, or ABIs, had only been done on adults, and only when there was a medical need to go into the brain, like to remove a tumor.

"We are replacing the natural cable, which they are missing, with an electronic cable that takes the sound from the external environment and sends it directly to the brain stem," said Dr. Wilkinson.

Wilkinson is not only a researcher at Huntington Medical Research Institutes and an otologist with the House Clinic, but also a father. He appreciates that this is a difficult decision for families. “It’s really humbling to have someone come from across the country and put baby’s life in our hands. They are amazing people.”

Almost a year after the surgery, Auguste has been hearing sounds, recognizing some of the world around him and even, dancing.

Sophie admits the surgery was “emotionally intense,” but in many ways the hard work has just begun.

"It’s not like you put it on and ‘It’s a miracle! He can hear, oh my God, it’s a miracle.' The work starts here," said Gareau.

Auguste spends several hours a week in therapy learning to process all the new sounds, all the new information coming to him.

"His progress is really taking off," Dr. Wilkinson said.

While Auguste can now distinguish the sound of his own name, and other sounds, it is unlikely he will ever be able to hear fully.

"We are all learning sign in the family," said Gareau.

The ABI has improved his ability to read lips, and hear important social cues, like honking horns and cheering.

"It’s amazing. Crazy. Just crazy. It is crazy magic. Science and technology," said Gareau.

Car Hits Pole in Enfield, Sparking Fire


A car hit pole and caused fire in Enfield this morning, which led to some road closures during the morning commute.

Police said the intersections of North Maple and Shaker and Bacon and Shaker will be closed through the morning commute so crews can repair the pole.

Power was out for more than 500 Eversource customers after the crash and fire, but it is back on for all but three customers as of 8:45 a.m.

Minor injuries are reported.

Photo Credit: NBCconnecticut.com

Thief Steals Car from South Windsor Gym


Someone broke into a gym locker in South Windsor on Tuesday, took car keys and stole the victim’s car, police said.

Police said the black 2010 Lexus ES350 sedan was stolen from the parking lot of LA Fitness on Buckland Road between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Anyone with information should call South Windsor Police, at 860-644-2551 or the confidential tipline at 860-648-NABM (6226).

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Southington Man Dies After Hitting Tree


A man who crashed a car into a mailbox and a tree in Southington on Tuesday has died, according to police.

Bruce Belanger, 52, of Southington, was in a 2003 Chevrolet Impala and driving north on Mount Vernon Road when he went off the road, hit a mail box in the front yard of 845 Mount Vernon Road, crossed through the front yard of 855 Mount Vernon Road, then hit a tree in the front yard of 865 Mount Vernon Road, where the car stopped, police said.

Police received reports of the crash at 4:54 p.m. , responded to the scene and began investigating.

The Southington Fire Department also responded and began medical treatment, but Belanger was later pronounced dead at the Hospital of Central Connecticut at Bradley Memorial.

Police are asking people who witnessed the crash to call Officer Matthew Vose at 860-621-0101 or e-mail him at vose@southingtonpolice.org.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Stevenson Dam to Be Closed to Traffic


The Stevenson Dam will be closed in both directions at the Oxford-Monroe line between June 27 and July 1 for maintenance work on a gate.

It will be closed between 6 a.m. on Saturday, June 27 and midnight on Wednesday, July 1 for maintenance work on the tainter gates, or radial gates, according to FirstLight Hydro Generating Company.

Crews will work throughout the weekend to reduce the impact to the public, but this could affect the morning and afternoon rush hours on Monday June 29 and Tuesday June 30.

Detour signs will direct drivers to take Route 111, Route 110, and Bridge Street in Shelton, while people traveling long distance should take Route 8 and Interstate 84 to avoid the Stevenson Dam.

Police Warn Residents After Naugatuck Bear Sighting


A bear is roaming in Naugatuck this morning and police are urging residents to keep pets inside, keep house doors closed and refrain from approaching the bear.

Naugatuck police said they received a report of a bear near Birch Lane, on the west side of Naugatuck, at 9:20 a.m.

When officer went to the area to try and find the bear, it went into the woods near Deepwood Road.

Police are asking anyone who sees a bear to call authorities at 203-729-5221 or 203-729-5222 so they can continue to reach out to residents on where it was seen.

You can also report a bear sighting on the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Web site.

There have been 4,414 reported bear sightings in Connecticut in the last year, including three in Naugatuck.

Photo Credit: Naugatuck Police

78 Puppies Survive Pa. Van Crash


Seventy-eight puppies in a van en route to pet stores in New Jersey and Pennsylvania survived a crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike on Wednesday morning, but two perished.

The two-vehicle crash, which left five people injured, happened around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday in the eastbound lanes of the Turnpike between the Willow Grove and Bensalem exits near mile-marker 346 in Lower Moreland Township, said Pennsylvania State Police.

The puppies were being transported from Ohio to various pet stores in New Jersey when the Ford E250 van they were in crashed into a Ford F350 pickup. Two pups died, but 78 survived, some with minor injuries and one with a broken leg.

Volunteers from the Southampton and Willow Grove fire companies responded for the auto rescue. They found much more.

"When we got on the scene that's when we realized there were so many puppies," said Southampton Fire Company No. 1 Chief Glenn McKenney.

Crews got all the puppies -- a handful that were running around -- off the road and got the people out of the damaged vehicles.

McKenney said once firefighters wrangled all the pups they put them on a flatbed trailer and played with the dogs to keep them occupied as they waited for the Bucks County SPCA to arrive. Most of the dogs went to the SPCA while 12 were released to the Puppy Hut pet store in New Jersey, said police.

Bucks County SPCA spokeswoman Annie Irwin, calling the situation a first in her 40 years with the agency, complemented firefighters for their hard work in wrangling the pups.

"I was so impressed with the firemen who responded to the call at 4:30 in the morning and rescued the puppies from the van and from the road," said Irwin.

A Pennsylvania state dog law enforcement officer issued violations for transporting underage puppies. The dogs' owner arrived from Ohio to claim the dogs and get them onto their final destinations. The pets were not immediately available for adoption.

Van driver Ronald Stephenson, 25, and his passenger, Forrest Sowards suffered minor injuries while the driver and passengers of the pickup suffered minor injuries, said police. The crash left traffic backed up on the Turnpike for some time.

Stephenson was cited for failing to maintain a safe distance when the pickup suddenly slowed in front of him.

Photo Credit: Bucks County SPCA
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Boys Rescue Infants From Fiery Mobile Home


Authorities say two boys rescued two young children from a burning mobile home in central Florida.

Ten-year-old Isiah Francis and 11-year-old Jeremiah Grimes rushed in to a neighbor's home around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday in Orange County after a fire broke out and rescued a 1-year-old and an 8-month-old.

Isiah and Jeremiah say the smoke inside the home was so thick they could barely see.

Fire officials say two other children, ages 2 and 5, who live in the home were injured. One was taken to the hospital via medical helicopter. They were both in critical but stable condition at Arnold Palmer Hospital.

Orange County Fire Rescue says a total of four children and one adult were in the home when the fire broke out.

The cause of the blaze hasn't been determined. 

Parks Doused in RoundUp in Drought


A drought-mitigation plan that involved killing off grass at a park has some residents at odds with their Southern California city, as communities search for ways to address state-ordered cutbacks amid the state's four-year dry spell.

The residents are concerned about a chemical used to remove the grass, much of which will be replaced with wood chips. The herbicide RoundUp, a chemical the Conejo Recreation and Park District is using to kill off grass at Russell Park in Thousand Oaks, produced a strong odor.

"Everybody around here could smell it. It was terrible," said Linda Spencer, recalling the day in late May when she brought her dog to the park.

Parks officials said the chemical does not pose a health threat to park visitors.

"It is deemed safe, by our EPA, to walk on immediately after it's been sprayed," said Jim Freidl, general manager of the recreation and parks district.

Residents also are upset about what will replace giant areas of grass under the park’s shady trees, where parents watch sports and kids picnic. About 185,000 square feet of turf will be removed at the park, according to the parks district website.

"To tear this all out and replace it with wood chips, would be criminal," said Spencer.

Thousand Oaks resident John Wilcox and others started looking into drought mitigation at other parks in the district and discovered that some won't be getting any chemical spray.

"We went through every park in the whole city," Wilcox said. "Why should we be penalized?"

Conejo's general manager said desperate times call for desperate measures, and the state's water board ordered a 36 percent cut for the city's parks across the board. The parks district has turned off water for parts of nearly every park.

"This is not what we preferred to do, either," Freidl said.

Friedl said parks that were mostly sports parks were taking bigger hits, but he said he will meet with residents to consider alternatives to the wood chips.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story indicated Russell Park is in the San Fernando Valley. The park is located in the Conejo Valley.

Photo Credit: KNBC

AT&T Hit With $100M Fine Over Misleading Plans


AT&T Mobility LLC has been hit with a $100 million fine for offering consumers "unlimited" data, but then slowing their Internet speeds after they hit a certain amount.

The Federal Communications Commission said Wednesday that the company misled consumers into buying plans they believed would give them unlimited ability to send and receive data, including Web browsing, GPS navigation and streaming videos. But the FCC said that once the consumer receached a certain level, that data would be slowed down significantly, at speeds lower than advertised.

AT&T said it will "vigorously dispute" the allegations.

"The FCC has specifically identified this practice as a legitimate and reasonable way to manage network resources for the benefit of all customers, and has known for years that all of the major carriers use it," the company said in a statement released to reporters. "We have been fully transparent with our customers, providing notice in multiple ways and going well beyond the FCC's disclosure requirements."

The hefty fine by the FCC comes on the heels of a federal lawsuit filed against the company last fall. The Federal Trade Commission, which enforces rules against deceptive advertising, said it wants to refund customers who were offered the unlimited data packages, only to be given slower data speeds than advertised. That lawsuit is still working its way through a federal court in California.

Earlier this year, the FTC accused TracFone Wireless of similar tactics. TracFone agreed to settle the case for $40 million.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

3 State Beaches Closed Due to Bacteria in Water


Three Connecticut beaches are closed to swimmers because of heightened bacteria levels in the water, according to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Sherwood Island in Westport, Silver Sands in Milford and Kettletown in Southbury are the three  beaches where swimming is currently prohibited.

Indian Well in Shelton was closed, but it has reopened.

DEEP officials are taking new samples of the water and they will review the results the following day. If the bacteria levels have diminished to the point where it's safe to go in the water, the beaches will be reopened, according to Dennis Schain, spokesperson for DEEP.

You can view the full water quality report for Connecticut's state beaches on the state website.

Photo Credit: msqrd/Instagram

Man, 21, Accused in Terror Plot, Kitchen Knife Attack on FBI Agent: Docs


The FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested a 21-year-old Staten Island man who allegedly repeatedly tried to stab an FBI agent with a kitchen knife Wednesday as officers attempted to search his home in connection with an ongoing ISIS-related investigation involving a Queens college student arrested over the weekend, according to court documents.

Fareed Mumuni was charged Wednesday with attempting to murder an FBI agent, though no serious injuries were reported in the scuffle, conspiring to provide material support to ISIS and trying to assist the terror group in carrying out an attack in the New York area, according to the complaint.

After his arrest, Mumuni allegedly told investigators he had pledged his allegiance to ISIS and that he planned to travel overseas to join the group. If he wasn't able to join ISIS overseas, he allegedly planned to attack law enforcement officers at home, and was coordinating that plan with others. 

Mumuni's alleged conspirators include Munther Omar Saleh, the 20-year-old college student from Queens arrested over the weekend for allegedly scouting possible targets for an ISIS-inspired attack. Court documents say Saleh also charged law enforcement officers with a knife when he saw them conducting surveillance of him and another alleged conspirator Saturday. No one was hurt.

Saleh allegedly named Mumuni as a co-conspirator when he agreed to speak with investigators following his arrest, court documents indicate. Investigators began reviewing cellphone records between the duo, and found discussions about attacking law enforcement.

In one conversation, Saleh allegedly told Mumuni to use a bomb, then to fight, later clarifying he should detonate an explosive, then run over law enforcement officers with a vehicle, gather up their weapons and use them to shoot at other victims, court papers say.   

Court documents indicate Saleh allegedly emailed himself information about how to build a pressure cooker bomb like the ones used in the 2013 Boston Marathon attack; he and another man also allegedly searched for items like an LED light, lava lamp, chemistry model, propane and other components that authorities say could be used in the creation of explosive devices. While Saleh allegedly was running the "op," as he described it to a confidential informant, authorities allege Mumuni helped him in his alleged efforts to carry out an attack on behalf of ISIS.

The two were seen meeting on several occasions since May; during one meeting, Saleh contacted Mumuni to tell him he had money and wanted to meet, stating that he had money that "talks," possibly referring to funding for an illegal transaction, the complaint alleges. Saleh eluded surveillance teams on the way to a meeting with Mumuni on Staten Island.

Saleh and Mumuni also met in lower Manhattan late last month. On June 1, Saleh and another alleged co-conspirator allegedly talked about how the meeting with Mumuni went. Saleh allegedly said it was "awesome" and "motivating."

When Saleh told Mumuni 11 days later, "I decided to tell my parents 'i will be gone in much less than a year, in sha Allah, you have two choices, either you let me go to Darul Islam or you watch me kill nonMuslims here," Mumuni replied, "May Allah make it easy for you," court documents say. 

Authorities went to Mumuni's home Wednesday to execute a search warrant in the case when Mumuni allegedly attacked them. Court papers say the suspect's mother and sister opened the door to let law enforcement officers in, and when they entered, Mumuni walked down the main staircase.

Officers ordered him to move to a couch in the living room and Mumuni refused, then allegedly lunged at the agents with a kitchen knife. He repeatedly tried to stab one officer as others attempted to restrain him, court papers say. None of the stabs penetrated the agent's body armor. 

After Mumuni's arrest, his mother allowed agents to search his car, where investigators found a bag containing another large kitchen knife, court papers say. After his arrest, he allegedly told FBI agents Wednesday's attack on the officers was premeditated and that he kept the knife used to attack the agent wrapped in a T-shirt in his bed for just such an occasion. He said he also stowed the knife found in his mother's car for a potential encounter with law enforcement, the complaint says.

Court papers say Mumuni also admitted to talking about building a pressure cooker bomb with Saleh.

Mumuni appeared briefly in federal court in Brooklyn; he was appointed an attorney, Anthony Ricco, who denied his client pledged allegiance to ISIS. Ricco said Mumuni would plead not guilty at an appropriate time. He said Mumuni is a religious man who had a job before Wednesday. The lawyer also said Mumuni and Saleh know each other, but he declined to elaborate on their relationship.

Ricco said Mumuni's mother and cousins, who were in court Wednesday, were surprised by the charges. They did not comment as they left court. The young man's uncle, who was also in court, said he didn't believe the charges. He said Mumuni attends the College of Staten Island and works as a home health aide on the weekends. The uncle described Mumuni as a good kid.

A neighbor who witnessed the arrest was Mumuni was cooperative when he was arrested by authorities; he was led out of his home wearing a bathrobe and shackles. The neighbor reiterated the uncle's statements that Mumuni is a good kid, saying he was always offering to shovel and carry groceries. The neighbor said he doesn't believe the allegations "for a minute." 

Mumuni was held without bail. He faces 20 years in prison if convicted of the charge of attempting to murder a federal officer.

Saleh appeared in court Saturday when the complaint against him was unsealed. The name of his attorney wasn't available, but his family denied the allegations Wednesday. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

Statue of Liberty Celebrates 130th Anniversary of Arrival in NYC


Lady Liberty is celebrating a big anniversary.

On June 17, 1885 -- 130 years ago -- the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York harbor. A gift of friendship from France to commemorate the ideals shared by French and American governments, the statue arrived in New York harbor in more than 300 pieces, according to the National Parks Service.

The copper statue was assembled over the course of several months on what was then called Bedloe’s Island, according to the National Parks Service, before being commemorated on October 28, 1886.

The artist who designed the statue, Auguste Bartholdi, said he chose to put the statue on what is now known as Liberty island because of its location in the busy harbor.

“It is, indeed, the New World, which appears in its majestic expanse, with ardor of its glowing life. Yes, in this very place shall be raised the Statue of Liberty,” he wrote.

In the 129 years since its dedication the statue has been dedicated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a National Monument and a New York City landmark. It’s visited by millions of people worldwide every year and is one of the most iconic and symbolic sites in the nation.

It was closed for more than a year after being damaged by Sandy in 2012, but has since reopened.

Google commemorated the anniversary Wednesday by replacing its logo with a doodle of the statue arriving in the harbor.

Photo Credit: AP

Brazen Burglars Slam Car Into Gun Shop


People crashed a stolen car into a gun store in Woodbridge early Wednesday morning and stole several guns, according to police.

Police responded to the Woodbridge Firearms Trading Post on Selden Street just after 3 a.m. when an alarm went off and found an empty car inside the store.

As they investigated, they learned the car had been stolen from New Haven and now believe four to five people were involved in the burglary, stole less than five guns and got away in a dark colored sedan waiting in a nearby parking lot.

Part of the investigation will include checking the 16 surveillance cameras the store installed.

New Haven Police are assisting Woodbridge Police in the search for the driver and any passengers. A police K-9 is also being used in the search.

Police are also investigating whether this burglar is connected to a car fire on the Ansonia-Seymour line minutes before the burglary.

Crash Causes Congestion on I-84 West in West Hartford


One lane of Interstate 84 West are blocked in West Hartford and a fire truck and ambulance responded.

The incident is between exits 40 and 41, according to the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation

Case Moved for Man Charged in Crash That Killed Boy


A 23-year-old Hartford man who was charged with negligent homicide in connection with a crash in East Hartford in April that killed an 8-year-old boy appeared in court on Wednesday and his case has been moved.

Police said two cars crashed near 285 Burnside Avenue in East Hartford at 5:55 p.m. on Thursday, April 16 and 8-year-old Carlos Hernandez was struck by a car. He later died at Connecticut Children's Medical Center.

In May, police arrested Joel Oviedo-Garcia, 23, of Hartford, in connection with the two-car crash and charged him with negligent homicide and traveling too fast for conditions.

Another driver involved in the two-car crash, Hawa Pabai, was charged with evading responsibility in connection to the crash, police said.

Pabai pleaded not guilty and is due back in court on July 27.

Photo Credit: East Hartford Police Department

Hero NJ Police Officer Arrested


A veteran New Jersey police officer awarded earlier this year for saving people from a burning building has been arrested for allegedly killing a 23-year-old father in a hit-and-run when he was off-duty Tuesday, authorities say. 

Jose Urena, a seven-year officer with the Paterson Police Department, was charged with leaving the scene of Tuesday's accident near North Fourth and Temple streets in the city. 

Police say they got a call about the accident around 8:25 p.m. and found Jaquill Fields, of Paterson, in the street. He was taken to a hospital, where he later died of his injuries, authorities said. 

Accident reconstruction crews and officials with the prosecutor's homicide unit investigated, and Urena was arrested. He has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the investigation. 

Fields' family described him as a "great guy" who loved to laugh and adored his 2-year-old son. They said they want justice for his death, and that they hoped the officer wouldn't get special treatment because of his standing in the community. 

"I just hope he gets no slack because he's an officer," said Fields' aunt, Kim Mottley. "He's still a human being." 

"It hurts. And to know there was an off-duty officer and he couldn't even stop," she said. 

Urena pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday and bail was set at $50,000. His attorney, Patrick Casserta, said he had no comment on the charges at this time. 

Fields' brother Yason Fields attended the arraignment to face the man accused of leaving his brother to die on the sidewalk.

"I hope he rots in hell," he said. "He's going to pay for his actions."  

In January, Urena received a life-saving award from the Paterson Police Department for saving several people from a burning building in the city last June. 

Photo Credit: Mitsu Yasukawa / The Record Staff Photographer
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