<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Connecticut News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Tue, 31 Mar 2015 07:21:03 -0400 Tue, 31 Mar 2015 07:21:03 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Plainville Crash Causes I-84 Delays]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 07:14:21 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/33115+I+84+Plainville+Crash+edited.jpg

A crash on Interstate 84 east in Plainville is causing delays.

The middle lane is blocked just east of Route 72 and there is also sun glare in the area.

There is no word on injuries.

No further information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: DOT]]>
<![CDATA[Crews Put Out Vehicle Fire in Oxford Commercial Garage]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 06:57:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/fire+truck+generic.jpg

Crews put out a vehicle fire in a garage at a construction company in Oxford early Tuesday morning.

The fire happened at 103 Jacks Hill Road.

No one was injured.

<![CDATA[Teen Charged in Classmate's Murder Opts for Insanity Defense]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 06:20:59 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/MilfordStabbingCourtPIC00000000.jpg

A former Milford, Connecticut, student accused of stabbing and killing a classmate in a high school stairwell last spring is pleading not guilty by reason of insanity at a pretrial hearing on Tuesday, according to his attorney.

Christopher Plaskon, 17, has been charged with murder in the stabbing death of Maren Sanchez at Jonathan Law High School hours before the school prom last April. He could face as many as 60 years in prison.

Although authorities have been tight lipped about a potential motive, classmates speculated that Plaskon might have been angry that Sanchez turned down his invitation to go to prom together and that she was instead going to go with her new boyfriend.

Plaskon, who is being tried as an adult, pleaded not guilty last June despite allegedly telling police, "I did it. Just arrest me." He underwent a psychological evaluation that wrapped up in January.

According to documents released by defense attorney Richard Meehan, Plaskon will "rely on the affirmative defense that at the time of the alleged commission of the offense, he was suffering from a mental disease or defect and/or extreme emotional disturbance."

Plaskon waived a trial by jury and will instead go before a three-judge panel.

A motion filed in court ahead of Tuesday's status proceedings says the defense team plans to "introduce expert testimony relating to the affirmative defense of mental disease or defect and/or extreme emotional disturbance and/or another condition bearing on the issue of whether he had the requisite mental state for the offense charged."

Plaskon is being held on a $3 million bond at the Manson Youth Institute in Cheshire, a correctional facility for boys and young men ages 12 to 19. He is currently taking both anti-psychotic and anti-anxiety medication, according to his attorney.

If he's found not guilty by reason of insanity, Plaskon could be held in a Connecticut mental facility for 60 years, but he could also be released much eawrlier if it's determined he poses no threat to himself or the public.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Police Investigation in Bristol]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 06:10:54 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/bristol+police+generic.jpg

There was police activity on Memorial Boulevard in Bristol early Tuesday morning.

At least one police cruiser was stationed in the area at 2:04 a.m. and a few more cruisers passed through. It's unknown at this time what police were investigating.

Further information wasn't immediately available.

<![CDATA[Fatal Crash Closes Garden Street in Hartford]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 06:51:00 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Garden+Street+Hartford+Crash+edited.jpg

Garden Street is closed in Hartford after a vehicle caught fire in a fatal two-car crash near the Mather Street intersection, police said.

At least one person died in the crash and another passenger in critical condition was transported to St. Francis Hospital in Hartford for treatment.

The road is closed from Mather Street to Albany Avenue and police expect it to be closed throughout the morning.

An accident reconstruction team and major crimes division investigators are responding to the scene.

No further information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Community Mourns Slain Construction Worker]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 04:55:48 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/jose+araujo+vigil.jpg

He's remembered as a kind, loving, peaceful man.

Monday night dozens gathered to honor Jose Araujo, known as the "gentle giant," at the place he died.

"I love you and thanks for always being there when I needed someone," said 15-year-old Milani Gray.

Candles brightened a small corner of Bridgeport at Pond Street and Chopsey Hill Road as friends and family mourned Araujo's death and tried to make sense of the senseless.

Last week, 33-year-old Gregory Weathers asked for a job at a construction site where Araujo was working. According to police, Weathers left when the foreman directed him to the company office, then came back shooting.

"I hope one day I will find it in my heart to forgive [Weathers], but right now I'm just dealing with the loss," said Milani's mom and Araujo's girlfriend, Analia Gray.

Gray broke down as she laid down candles and flowers at Monday night's vigil. She described 30-year-old Araujo as the love of her life and said his 5-year-old son is still asking for his dad.

"He was such a good person. He didn't deserve to go that way," said Gray. "We're just trying to put the pieces together and figure out how we're going to go on."

It's a question no one knows how to answer, and although Araujo himself is now just a memory, that memory will live on.

"I would have enjoyed a lifetime with him, but he will forever live in my heart," said Gray.

"I'm going to miss him a lot, and he's always going to be in my heart. He was a very kind man," said Araujo's 10-year-old niece, Nikki Dagraca.

Calling hours will be held 4-8 p.m. Tuesday at the Parente-Lauro Funeral Home in Bridgeport at 559 Washington Avenue in Bridgeport.

The funeral will be held 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Augustine Cathedral at 359 Washington Avenue.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to pay for funeral costs and help Araujo's 5-year-old son.

<![CDATA[First Monday for CTfastrak in the Books]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 22:35:39 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ctfastrak+1.jpg

The first Monday for the nine-mile-long strip of concrete commonly known as the CTfastrak is in the books, and commuters say they enjoyed the ride.

"I come from Waterbury," said Mike Minutillo, whose commute took him partly on Interstate 84, then onto the new route from New Britain. "It looked great, yeah, it looked great."

Authorities have declined to reveal how many passengers used the service until the automatic counters aboard the buses are verified.

One passenger got on a CTfastrak bus to Hartford at Westfarms Mall by mistake but said she didn't mind.

"It was fast," said Najae Hankerson, who said she'd ride it again on purpose. "It was convenient, very easy."

"That's what we want to hear," said Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker, who was meeting passengers at the Flatbush Avenue station in West Hartford.

"And to me, a couple good words will spread the word to other people and we want people to hear enough to give it a try, because I think they're going to like it," Redeker added.

One Newington man who gave it a trial run said he liked it.

"It was good, because no traffic, obviously, so it was a smooth ride," said William Zinkerman.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Another Coyote Spotted in Ansonia Days After Attack on Dog]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 23:07:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ansonia+benz+street.jpg

Concern is mounting in Ansonia after residents reported more coyote sightings in the days after a dog was attacked outside his home.

Animal control said a coyote was spotted Monday morning on Benz Street.

Some neighbors said they were not surprised.

"That leads to the nature center so that’s where all the land is and that’s where they come out of at night," said Ansonia resident Mike Mairano. "So if you had a cat or something, I’d be scared."

Less than a week go, two coyotes chased and attacked a 5-year-old pit bull named Lexus in his yard on Park Place. Surveillance footage captured the incident. Fortunately, Lexus is recovering well.

"Attacks on pets are not new," explained Chris Vann, a wildlife biologist at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

After a rough winter, coyotes are hungry and liable to become more aggressive. Experts are advising residents to keep their pets inside at night.

"If you are going out at night, leash them at all times. Be aware if you possibly see a coyote in the shadows, calmly go inside, get your pet indoors," said Vann.

The Ansonia Animal Shelter is also reminding pet owners to keep their animals' rabies vaccines up to date.

Officials with DEEP said coyote attacks on people are rare.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Conn College Staff Threatened Amid Tolerance Discussion]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 21:32:03 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/conn+college+logo.jpg

The same day Connecticut College held a campus-wide discussion about racism and hate-related issues on campus, a staff member received a threatening phone call, prompting police to send students a safety alert.

Campus police said in the alert the threat "may be related to a previous phone call, as well a as verbal confrontation in Crozier-Williams," the building where just yesterday, racially charged graffiti was found inked on a bathroom wall.

According to the alert sent out at 7:48 p.m. Monday, police are searching for a bald man in his 50s who has been spotted on campus walking a black dog with a red harness.

Police said a security guard will be stationed at the Crozier-Williams building indefinitely.

It's not clear whether Monday evening's incident is linked to the bathroom graffiti. Police are investigating and urged anyone with information to come forward.

The alert was sent less than an hour after college president Katherine Bergeron was scheduled to lead a discussion about strengthening the college community and fostering an atmosphere of tolerance.

Students have also been up in arms over a philosophy professor's provocative Facebook post comparing Gaza to a pit bull in a cage. More than 500 people signed a petition calling on Bergeron to hold the professor accountable.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Police Search for East Haven Bank Robber]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 20:26:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/east+haven+bank+robbery+suspect.jpg

Police are searching for the man who robbed a First Niagara Bank in East Haven on Monday afternoon.

According to police, a man in his 30s standing between 5 feet 9 and 6 feet tall entered the bank at 50 Frontage Road around 2:30 p.m. and stole an undisclosed amount of money.

He was last seen on foot on Kimberly Avenue.

Police said the robber was wearing a black windbreaker, black knitted hat and jeans.

Anyone with information is urged to call East Haven police at 203-468-3820.

Photo Credit: East Haven Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Bristol Hospital Warns Cuts Will Lead to Bankruptcy]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 19:42:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Bristol+Hospital+emergency+room.JPG

Testing the political clout of the community and more than 1,700 employees, Bristol Hospital has launched a campaign to dismiss the governor's proposed cuts and tax increases that leave the hospital in danger of shutting down.

"We just think that we're being disproportionately affected by this budget," said Kurt Barwis, the president and CEO of Bristol Hospital.

A pop-up on the hospital's website warns the hospital will be bankrupt in three to five years, and "Your voice matters!"

It directs emails to state legislators and Bristol's members of Congress.

"They've written, I think, over 600 emails at this point," said Barwis, "and we heard from legislators that they're getting these emails."

At 3.9 percent, Barwis said no hospital in Connecticut suffers a deeper cut as a percentage of its revenue under the governor's proposed budget than Bristol Hospital.

He blames a combination of cuts in what the government pays hospitals for treating Medicaid patients, and state tax increases on hospitals that in theory are reimbursed but in practice are devoted to the state government's budget.

"I'm not saying these are ideal cuts at all," said Gov. Dan Malloy. "But we don't have another half billion dollars to spend."

Three of Bristol's four state legislators are Republicans, while Democrats run the legislature and the governor is a Democrat.

<![CDATA[Students, Teachers Audition for "Manchester Voice"]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 19:42:21 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/man_voice_comp_033015.jpg

From students to teachers, about two dozen people competed for a chance to sing in "The Manchester Voice" concert.

Chemistry teacher Greg Sember is among the competitors. He took the statge in front of students and judges Monday.

“It’s actually still nerve-wracking – even though I’m 27, older than the high school kids – still really nerve-wracking to get up there trying to sing in front of everybody,” said Sember.

High school junior Maisha Seraj also competed. She sang a song she wrote herself.

The contestants sang for a panel of three judges, including Noah Lis, who competed on season six of NBC’s "The Voice."

The judges will have to narrow the field down to about seven.

The winners will perform along with Lis and two other recent contestants from "The Voice" at a concert May 4.

"Sometimes it just takes one person to believe in you or one big opportunity to really spark an interest in music," said Lis.

"The Manchester Voice" is a fundriaser for the Manchester Band.

<![CDATA[Body of Missing Man Washes Up on Stamford Beach]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 19:01:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/stamford+police+cruiser+generic.jpg

Police are investigating after the body of a 26-year-old man washed up on a private beach in Stamford on Monday.

Authorities identified the body as that of Jorge Simon, 26, a native of Guatemala who had lived and worked in Stamford for seven years. Simon's family reported him missing on Feb. 16.

Police said they were called to the beach after neighbors spotted the body on a beach on Rogers Road around 1 p.m. There are no indications of foul play and police said the body seemed to have been submerged for a while.

Simon was last seen near Stillwater Avenue and Finney Lane around 12:15 p.m. on Feb. 14. Police said he had been out with friends that night and his family grew concerned when Simon didn't return home for several days.

Police searched the area with K-9s but never found Simon. It's not clear how he died or ended up in the water.

"Today, we express our condolences to the Simon family who, along with the Police, valiantly attempted to search for Simon with friends and families from the Guatemalan community," the Stamford Police Department said in a statement Monday evening.

Authorities are investigating Simon's death and asking anyone with information to call the detective bureau. All information will remain confidential.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[2 Young Men Beaten, Robbed in Greenwich: Cops]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 18:04:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/police-lights-shutterstock_222952348.jpg

Police are searching for the suspects who beat and robbed two young men walking home from work in Greenwich early Monday morning.

According to police, a 19-year-old resident of Port Chester, New York, and 21-year-old Greenwich resident were heading home from work at a restaurant in Port Chester around 3 a.m. when an SUV pulled up next to them at the intersection of Armonk Street and North Water Street.

Three suspects ambushed the young men, punching and kicking them in what police described as a "ferocious attack." The suspects stole their wallets and cellphones, then retreated to the waiting SUV. Police said one of the victims spotted what appeared to be a handgun.

The suspects are described as dark-skinned and Spanish-speaking. Police said they were traveling in a light-colored SUV with New York license plates. The car was last seen driving southbound on North Water Street with its headlights turned off.

Police said the two victims were hurt but declined medical attention.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Greenwich police tip line at 203-622-3333 or 800-372-1176. You can also email tips@greenwichct.org.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Man Who Made Fake Dispatch Calls Gets Prison Time]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 18:06:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/adam+perrelli.jpg

The Massachusetts man accused of making fake dispatch calls across Litchfield County has been sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by three years' probation, according to the court clerk.

Adam Perrelli, a resident of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, was found guilty of making at least eight fake emergency radio transmissions over the Litchfield County Dispatch system that interrupted emergency calls between Dec. 25, 2013 and Jan. 6, 2014.

Listen to the calls here:

Police said he sent ambulances out to non-emergencies and canceled calls to actual fires. Investigators said Perrelli used a lost or stolen portable radio or electronic device to place the phony calls.

He was arrested last April in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and has been behind bars ever since.

Perrelli was sentenced in Bantam Superior Court on Monday.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Man Accused of Killing Construction Worker Faces Judge]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 17:18:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Gregory+Weathers+1200.jpg

A man accused of shooting and killing a worker at a Bridgeport construction site faced a judge Monday after a psychiatric evaluation delayed his arraignment last week.


Gregory Weathers, 33, has been charged with murder, stealing a firearm, criminal possession of a firearm and carrying a pistol with a permit.

Police said he shot and killed Jose Araujo, 30, a Burns Construction Company employee, after showing up to a job site in Bridgeport and asking the foreman for a job. Weathers and Araujo were strangers and police have been struggling to understand Weathers' motive.

Two officers who were directing traffic at the construction site chased Weathers from the scene and called for backup. They found him hiding behind a house on Saunders Avenue, across the street from where he lives, police said.

Investigators recovered a handgun and said Weathers admitted to the shooting.

He appeared in court Monday and is being held on $1 million bond ahead of his next court appearance April 21, according to the court clerk's office.

Community members have planned a candlelight vigil for Araujo at 7 p.m. at the corner of Chopsey Hill and Pond Street, where the murder occurred.

Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Odor at Manchester Church Sickens 8 Students, 1 Staff Member]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 17:11:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/SD-Fire-Engine-Generic.jpg

Eight students and one faculty member at a Manchester church fell ill Monday afternoon after fumes from a chemical used during maintenance work got into the building's ventilation system, according to the fire department.

Fire officials said they were called to the Church of Nazarene at 218 Main Street around 12:20 p.m.

A maintenance worker had sprayed a lubricant that created a strong odor, then sprayed air freshener in an effort to cover it up. That only made the smell worse, and fumes spread through the building, according to the fire department.

Two hundred students and faculty members moved from the school section of the building to the auditorium in hopes of escaping the smell, which was initially suspected to be carbon monoxide.

Fire officials said eight students felt sick and were treated at the church, then sent home with their parents. One faculty member was taken to Manchester Memorial Hospital.

Crews from the Manchester Fire Department ventilated the building, while the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection checked the building. Emergency responders cleared the scene at 1:20 p.m.

Photo Credit: Monica Garske]]>
<![CDATA[East Haven Man Tries to Stab Brother WIth Hunting Knife: Cops]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 17:56:39 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/edward+clement.jpg

East Haven police have arrested the 27-year-old man who they say tried to stab his brother with a hunting knife, then grabbed a shotgun and chased him out of the house before running from police Monday morning.

Edward Clement, 27, is accused of punching, choking and kicking his brother at a home on Glenmoor Drive early Monday. Police said Clement tried to stab his brother and chased him with a shotgun as the victim ran to a neighbor's house for help.

Residents called authorities around 3:30 a.m. Monday when they heard the commotion and looked outside to see a man in the street with a gun, according to police.

Clement ran when he heard sirens and dropped the shotgun in a nearby driveway. Police said another neighbor found Clement's jacket in the back of his pickup truck.

Police brought in K-9 units and a Stratford police helicopter to search for him and asked neighbors to stay in their homes.

Neighbors spotted Clement walking near Glenmoor Drive around 3:50 p.m. and called police, who took him into custody.

He was charged with disorderly conduct, third-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment, theft of a firearm, second-degree strangulation, carrying a dangerous weapon, criminal possession of a firearm and criminal attempt at first-degree assault. Clement is being held on $250,000 bond.

Police said Clement's brother was hospitalized for treatment of non-life threatening injuries and has since been released. It's not clear what prompted the fight between the two.

Ronald Gaudino, of East Haven, said that an incident like the one Monday morning is unexpected in the area. which he describes as a "very quiet neighborhood."

Neighbor Ann Zacks said she knows Clement and his brother.

"It is surprising, yes, because they seemed like nice kids. They really do," she said.

Photo Credit: East Haven Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Crash Snarls Traffic on Route 2 West in East Hartford]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 16:53:57 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/route+2+west+east+hartford.jpg

Traffic is backed up on Route 2 westbound in East Hartford in the wake of a crash near exit 4, according to state police.

The highway was shut down briefly late Monday afternoon while emergency crews responded to the scene. There has been no word on injuries.

Although Route 2 has reopened, traffic is still heavily delayed.

No additional information was immediately available.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation]]>
<![CDATA[Religious Group Fights Aid-in-Dying Bill]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:56:54 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+state+capitol+building.jpg

The Connecticut Catholic Public Affairs Conference is petitioning a bill that would allow doctors to prescribe medications intended to end the lives of their terminally ill patients.

Aid-in-dying, or physician-assisted suicide, has become a nationwide conversation following the death of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old newlywed who moved to Oregon to "die with dignity" when symptoms of her incurable brain cancer became debilitating.

Oregon is one of only four states that have adopted aid-in-dying laws, but Connecticut could potentially join the ranks.

Although a recent Quinnipiac Poll shows most Connecticut voters favor aid-in-dying legislation for terminally ill patients, lawmakers heard deeply divided testimony when they took up an assisted-suicide bill at a hearing last week.

The Connecticut Public Affairs Conference is clearly among those opposed to the legislation. According to a spokesperson for the group, representatives delivered a petition with 21,000 signatures to the state Judiciary Committee around 11 a.m. Monday.

The conference has also lauched a public awareness campaign called "Don't Jump CT", which bears the slogan, "Physician-Assisted Suicide: Let's learn more before we leap to a decision."

<![CDATA[Third Teen Charged in Fight at New Haven Parade]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 17:19:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/sabrina+parker+mug.jpg

Police have arrested a third teen in connection with a fight at the New Haven St. Patrick's Day parade that prompted scrutiny of an officer and sparked a series of protests.

Sabrina Parker, 18, of New Haven, is accused of assaulting the sister of a 15-year-old girl identified by her family as Teandrea Cornelius during a fight at the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant on Church Street.

Teandrea was accused of carrying a knife and pepper spraying people inside the restaurant. Her arrest was captured on video and caused an uproar in the city.

The footage shows Officer Joshua Smereczynsky forcing Teandrea to the ground. The teen appears to hit her head on the pavement, and family members said she suffered a fractured shoulder and a cut near her eye.

Smereczynsky was placed on desk duty while the department investigated his conduct but was exonerated and returned to work.

Parker has been charged with risk of injury to a minor, third-degree assault and second-degree breach of peace.

The girl she's accused of attacking, Teandrea's sister, was arrested March 15 and charged with third-degree assault, carrying a dangerous weapon – a knife – and second-degree breach of peace.

Parker is the third teen charged in connection with the incident. Police said they expect to make additional arrests.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Officials Identify Woman Killed By Train in Fairfield]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:21:19 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/amtrak+generic.jpg

Amtrak officials have identified the woman who died after being hit by an Amtrak train in Fairfield on Sunday.

Officials said Fallon Newvine, 31, of Waterbury, was hit by an Amtrak train on track 4, heading toward New Haven-bound around 5:45 p.m.

The investigation is ongoing, but Fairfield police told News 12 Connecticut  the woman appeared to be trying to cross the tracks to reach a platform on the other side when she was struck. Anders said it's not known why the person was on the tracks.

The incident affected all train service in the area and there were 30-minute delays on the New Haven line of Metro-North. However, Metro-North trains weren't expected to be greatly impacted because of fewer trains on Sundays.

Photo Credit: Chris Van Horne]]>
<![CDATA[Driver Crashes After Drinking at Ruby Tuesdays: Cops]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 14:56:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/middletown+police+department.JPG

Middletown police charged a Durham man with drunken driving and possession of a small amount of marijuana following a head-on collision  he was involved in after drinking alcohol at Ruby Tuesdays in Cromwell, police said

Thomas Perrault, 23, was traveling in the westbound direction after getting off Route 9 in Middletown when he crashed head-on into a black Ford Escape with his blue Jeep Grand Cherokee on Hartford Avenue (Route 17), blocking eastbound lanes just east of St. Johns Square, police said. Police responded at 7:45 p.m. on Saturday, March 21.

Perrault told police that he took his eyes off the road momentarily while rounding a bend to look at his passenger and didn't realize his vehicle had crossed over the double yellow line into oncoming traffic as he neared the Main Street intersection. The front of his vehicle on the driver's side crashed into the driver's side on the other car, police said. His passenger told police she was looking out the passenger side window and she heard a loud bang and was confused about what happened, police said.

A responding officer noticed Perrault's eyes were "glassy and blood shot" and smelled alcohol on his breath, so he requested he take a field sobriety test, police said. Perrault and his passenger told the officer that he only had two drinks at Ruby Tuesdays in Cromwell, but he agreed to take the sobriety test and failed all phases of it, police said.

Before police took him to the station for booking, he admitted to the officer that he had pot in his car and police found a small amount of marijuana and a small black scale with pot residue on it in the center console of his car, police said.

Perrault's blood alcohol content came back as .095 when he took a breathalyzer at the station at 8:37 p.m. and 0.89 when he took it a second time at 8:59 p.m. that night. The legal limit is .08, putting Perrault just over.

Police arrested Perrault on charges of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and failure to drive in the proper lane. He was further charged with possession of less than 0.5 ounces of marijuana and possession of marijuana paraphernalia with less than 0.5 ounces of marijuana.

Perrault is scheduled to appear in court on April 3 and was released from police custody on a $1,500 non-surety bond.

<![CDATA[Dad Threw Baby Against Wall Because She Was Crying]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 14:55:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Victoria+Tarkowski+Plainfield+police.jpg

A 36-year-old father accused of abusing his 3-month-old daughter threw the little girl against a wall because he was upset over her crying, according to police.

The baby,  who family members identified as Victoria Tarkowski, suffered six skull fractures and a fractured wrist.

Tarkowski, 36, of South Main Street in the Moosup section of Plainfield, was arrested on Saturday morning and the baby's grandather identified Tarkowski as the father.

Police said they went to investigate over the weekend because they received a call from a family member after the child's mother returned home from the methadone clinic in Norwich and found a bruise on her daughter's head. 

The child's mother said Tarkowski "lost it" because the baby was crying and threw her against the wall, according to the arrest warrant application.

When the mother asked Tarkowski what happened, he said he was tired, did not get any sleep and wanted to rip the baby's head off, police said. He then wrapped the child in a blanket and threw her against the wall, according to police.

The mother then asked Tarkowski if he knew he could have killed the baby and he said it's not a good idea for him to watch her when he is exhausted.

"If I wanted to kill her, I would have snapped her (expletive) neck and throw(n) her in a dumpster," Robert P. Tarkowski told the baby's mother when she was questioning what happened, according to police.

When Tarkowski spoke to police, he said he was sleeping and woke up because the little girl was crying, so he went into the bedroom and found the baby on the floor.

He told investigators she fell off the bed, but could not account for all of the baby's fractures.

When police questioned him further, Tarkowski asked for an attorney, police said.

The little girl was taken to Windham Hospital in Willimantic, then transferred to Connecticut Children's Medial Center in Hartford, but she has since been released to other family members.

Family members also told police that Tarkowski admitted to being "rough" with the baby and said he wanted to kill himself.

Police said they searched Tarkowski's home on Friday and arrested him Saturday morning at 14 Miller Road in Sterling. He was charged with first-degree assault, risk of injury to a minor and reckless endangerment and appeared at Danielson Superior Court on March 30, where bond was set at $300,000.

A protective order was issued for the victim and Tarkowski is due back in court on May 1.

<![CDATA[Worker Falls 40 Feet From Tree in Fairfield]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 16:29:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/fairfield+rock+major+fall.JPG

Emergency responders were called to Rock Major Road in Fairfield early Monday afternoon after a worker fell more than 40 feet from a tree, according to the fire department.

Fire officials said the man was working for a tree service company outside the home at 188 Rock Major Road when he fell shortly before 12:30 p.m. Monday.

The worker, who was conscious and responsive at the scene, told emergency responders he fell because of a problem with his climbing spikes, according to the fire department.

Medical personnel arrived at the scene and brought the worker to the hospital for treatment. Firefighters said his injuries did not appear to be life threatening.

The worker has not been publicly identified. No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Fairfield Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighters Help Horse Stuck on Frozen Pond]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:33:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tlmd_police_fire_lights_generic.jpg

Firefighters rseponded to C&M Farms in Bolton to rescue a horse stuck on a frozen pond Monday afternoon.

Bolton fire officials said they were called to the equestrian center at 284 West Street. No people or animals were hurt during the incident, and the rescue was over within 20 minutes.

No additional information was immediately available.

<![CDATA[Man Hit Cruisers, Nearly Hit Cop After Pursuit: Police ]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:59:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/middletown+police+department.JPG

A man crashed into two parked Middletown police cruisers, drove the wrong way on a one-way street and almost hit a Middletown police officer while fleeing from state police on Friday night, police said.

Middletown police were assisting state police to apprehend Christopher Cruz, 24, of East Hartford, at 11:13 p.m. on Friday when he continued to evade police in downtown Middletown, police said.

During the chase, Cruz hit two unoccupied cruisers, causing more than $1,500 in damage, and almost hit a police officer, police said.

When police stopped Cruz, they found the car was uninsured and unregistered. He was taken into custody and charged with assault on public safety personnel, evading responsibility, reckless driving and several other charges.

He was held on a $3,000 surety bond and is due in court on Monday.

<![CDATA[Police Looking for Stolen Greenwich Range Rover]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:24:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/greenwich+police+generic.jpg

Greenwich police are looking for a stolen 2012 Range Rover.

The white vehicle was taken from East Elm Street near the Mason Street intersection in Greenwich on Sunday, March 29 sometime between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.

The car was unlocked at the time it was stolen and the keys had been left in the center console.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Wallingford Police ID Man, 25, Found Dead on Lawn]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:41:16 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/police-lights-shutterstock_1318124123.jpg

Wallingford police are investigating the death of a 25-year-old whose body was found Sunday on Mallard Court, according to police.

Police and firefighters responded to a 911 call reporting an unresponsive person lying on the lawn at 17 Mallard Court and they found resident Tyler B. Gianakos, 25, dead outside his home on Sunday. His body was taken to the medical examiner's office for evaluation, police said.

Police and the medical examiner examined the boy and the preliminary investigation revealed no evidence of foul play. The medical examiner will examine the body further and awaits toxicology results to determine the cause of death.

Detectives are working to establish the sequence of Gianakos' activities from Saturday, March 28 at 3 p.m. until his death.

Police ask anyone with information to call Wallingford police at 203-2845 or 203-294-2805.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Recall Issued for Easter Egg Cookies]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 11:52:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Easter+Rain+Generic+Easter+Egg.jpg

A recall has been issued for Silver Lake Easter Egg Cookies because they include eggs, but that is not disclosed on the label, according to the FDA.

The cookies were primarily sold to supermarkets in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Georgia, Illinois and Indiana.

No illnesses have been reported and the cookies are safe for anyone who does not have an egg allergy.

The 8-ounce packages of Easter Egg Cookies were sold under The Silver Lake label with the UPC code of: 0 37695 49817 1

Customers with an egg allergy who have bought the affected product should dispose of it. Consumers with a questions can call Silver Lake Cookie Company at 1-800-645-9048 x263, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Coyote Attack on Dog Prompts Pet Vaccination Reminder]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 11:39:16 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Dog+Attacked+By+Coyote+edited.jpg

Ansonia police and the town's animal control officer are reminding residents to make sure your pets have all the vaccinations needed to date after two coyotes attacked a dog on Wednesday, March 27.

"Due to the fact that many people let their pets outside the vaccinations should be up to date," a release from the Ansonia Police Department said. "Care should also be taken when letting the animals out of the house. If possible, the animals should be on a leash and attended to by the owner."

The Lojewska family on Park Place reported on March 26 that two coyotes chased and injured their 5-year-old male pitbull named Lexus the day before. The attack raises concerns about rabies due to the contact with wild animals, but officials said the dog was up-to-date on its rabies vaccinations.

Police warn residents not to approach wild animals they come across and to contact the Ansonia Police Department at 203-735-1885 if there are any issues with wild animals, particularly if they have made contact with pets or people.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Man Sexually Abused Victim in Front of Child: Police]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 11:16:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/police-lights-shutterstock_1318124125.jpg

A 24-year-old Bethel man is accused of sexually assaulting a person in front of a young child.

Police arrested Marcello Astudillo, of Drummers Lane, in his home on Saturday at 11:30 p.m. in an investigation into a domestic violence complaint. The victim told police that Astudillo was attacked and sexually assaulted in the presence of a child who was at the home.

He was charged with first-degree sexual assault, third-degree assault and risk of injury to a minor.

Police didn't release information on the ages of the victim and child.

Astudillo is being held on a $100,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Danbury Superior Court on Monday, March 30.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Husband Drove at Wife During Dispute in Naugatuck Driveway: Police]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 10:58:01 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Jason+LAPAN+1200.jpg

Naugatuck police have arrested a man who is accused of driving at his wife during a domestic dispute last week.

Police responded to Andrew Mountain Road on Friday after being alerted to a domestic disturbance between a husband and wife in the driveway and said Jason Lapan, 32, of Naugatuck, drove toward his wife during an argument.

When Lapan later returned, the couple started arguing again and he tried to take his wife’s phone as she called police, according to a news release from police.

Lapan was charged with third-degree assault, threatening, first-degree reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct and interfering with an emergency call.

He was released on a $25,000 surety bond and is due in Waterbury Superior Court on Monday.

Photo Credit: Naugatuck Police]]>
<![CDATA[Driver Extricated From Crash With Box Truck]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 10:31:19 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ffd+mva+pinckney2+edited.jpg

Fairfield firefighters extricated a 27-year-old male driver trapped inside a car after a collision with a large box truck early Monday morning on the Black Rock Turnpike in Fairfield.

Fire crews responded to a crash involving a box truck and car near the Burroughs Road intersection at 3:10 a.m. on Monday. The car sustained heavy damage in the crash and the driver was unconscious and trapped inside, according to Fairfield Asst. Fire Chief George Gomola.

Police also responded to the scene as firefighters used "the jaws of life" to remove the driver. An AMR ambulance took the driver to the hospital to be treated for injuries. His condition is unknown.

"Fairfield PD did a great job of securing and stabilizing the scene prior to our arrival, allowing firefighters quick access to the victim," Gomola, the incident commander, said in a written statement. "Under the direction of Lt. Eannotti, fire rescue crews used hydraulic rescue tools to gain access to the victim and quickly remove him from the heavily damaged vehicle. This was a job well done by all.”

The driver of the box truck wasn't injured in the crash and declined any medical treatment.

Firefighters deemd the incident under control by about 3:27 a.m.

Police are investigating the cause of the crash.

Photo Credit: Fairfield Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[Drunken Driver Was More Than 3 Times Legal Limit: Cops]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 10:10:08 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Joseph+Lodge+drunken+driving+arrest+1200.jpg

South Windsor Police have arrested a man who they said had a blood alcohol content of more than three times the legal limit when police stopped him early Monday morning.

A South Windsor Police officer stopped Joseph Lodge’s vehicle on Beelzebub Road around 1:30 a.m. for a violation and said he was suspected of driving under the influence, so police gave him a series of field sobriety tests.

When police gave Lodge, 32, of South Windsor, a subsequent breath test, it said his blood alcohol was more than three times the legal limit, police said.

He was arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, failure to drive in proper lane and a stop sign violation.

Lodge was later released on a $1,000 non-surety bond and is scheduled to appear at Manchester Superior Court on April 13.

Photo Credit: South Windsor Police]]>
<![CDATA[Lockdown Over at 2 Waterbury Schools]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 10:14:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/classroom-generic-1200.jpg

Crosby High and Michael F. Wallace Middle School in Waterbury were briefly placed on lockdown as police investigated what sounded like gunshots coming from behind the school complex, according to police.

Police said they determined that while the source of the noise was mistaken for gunfire, no gunshots had been fired. The lockdown has been lifted.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Route 4 Reopens in Torrington After Crash]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 13:09:48 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Torrington+Police+cruisers+Generic.jpg

Route 4 (Goshen Road) has reopened in Torrington after a two-car head-on collision with entrapment.

At least one person was trapped in one of the vehicles, according to Litchfield County Dispatch. It is unknown whether anyone is injured and how many people were in the cars at the time of the crash.

The road was closed for several hours from Wright Road to Weed Road. Drivers were directed to detour onto Highland Avenue or Route 202 to avoid the area.

No further information was immediately available.

<![CDATA[$1 Million Bond for Nanny Accused of Burning Child]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:32:21 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Lidia+Quilligana+1200.jpg

Bond for a nanny accused of deliberately burning a 3-year-old girl she was supposed to be caring for has been set at $1 million.

When the mother returned to her Danbury, Connecticut, home after work on Friday, the nanny explained the second-degree burns on the little girl’s hands and leg by saying she was tending to the other children when the little girl accidentally touched the hot stove, police said.

After taking her daughter to the doctor, the mother watched footage from the hidden nanny camera she had recently installed and saw that the nanny intentionally inflicted the child’s injuries, police said.

Police responded to the home around 9:30 p.m. on Friday after the mother called police, then went to the Danbury home of the nanny, Lidia Quilligana, 31, and arrested her.

Quilligana was charged with first-degree assault, risk of injury to a minor and third-degree criminal mischief and held on a $100,000 bond. 

When she appeared in court on Monday, Quilligana's attorney said her client is a mother of two with no criminal record and there had been no prior complaints in the year she has watched the child.

She then asked that bond remain at $10,000, but the prosecution argued that the child's mother was suspicious enough at some point to install a hidden camera and the judge increased bond to $1 million

It was continued on Monday and Quilligana is due back in court on April 22.

If Quilligana is able to post bond, she will have to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and surrender her passport.

The case has been referred to the special victims unit to follow up.

Photo Credit: Danbury Police]]>
<![CDATA[No One Injured When Power Lines Fell on Truck in Greenwich]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 10:40:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Greenwich+truck+fire+1200.jpg

Route 1 in Greenwich was closed for hours after power lines fell onto a pickup and the truck caught fire, according to the Greenwich Police Department.

The incident happened at a construction site located at 1381 East Putnam Avenue, or Route 1, and no juries are reported.

There were more than 500 power outages in the east side of town, but most of the power has been restored.

Route 1 was closed at Sound Beach Avenue and it will also close at Laddins Rock Road on the Stamford line, but now one lane is closed as Eversource, formerly known as Connecticut Light & Power, makes emergency repairs.

What caused the lines to fall is not clear.


Photo Credit: Greenwich Police]]>
<![CDATA[I-84 Widening Begins This Week]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 07:10:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/I84+Widening+edited.jpg

Interstate 84 between Waterbury and Cheshire is beginning to get a major facelift. Connecticut Department of Transportation crews will begin work this week to add lanes to a 2.7-mile stretch of the congestion-plagued highway known for bottlenecks.

Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary said the construction is going to mean headaches but there's no denying it has to be done.

“It’s a very bad thing in the sense that it’s going to cause further congestion during certain hours of the day on certain days of the week. It’s a good thing because it’s been a long time coming,” he said last week.

The project will cost $300 million and utilize both state and federal funds. It will take five years to complete the widening from Waterbury to Cheshire, adding one lane in eash direction between Washington Street and Pierpont Road.

The Department of Transportation will try to keep the impact for drivers to a minimum by keeping lanes open during the morning commute and evening rush hour.

The second major phase of improving I-84 is replacing the Mix Master which is where I-84 and Route 8 merge. That would begin once the widening is complete and take five years to complete on its own.

O'Leary said, “The Mix Master is 50 years old and it needs to be replaced. There’s no emergency. There’s no urgency, but the new mix master will add capacity and that means more traffic, more opportunity for people to come into Waterbury. More economic development, more tax revenue.”


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Conn College Closed to Address Recent Hate Messages]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 20:36:55 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/students+organize+web.jpg

Connecticut College was closed Monday while administrators led a campus-wide conversation about racism and hate-related issues on campus.

It comes a day after racially charged graffiti was found in the bathrooms of the Crozier-Williams building at the private college in New London.

Photos shared with NBC Connecticut show writing on a bathroom wall that says "No" followed by the plural form of the "N" word. The graffiti has been removed and administrators are investigating, trying to figure out who is responsible.

It's not the only recent controversy on campus. At least 500 people signed a change.org petition calling for college president Katherine Bergeron to condemn a philosophy professor's Facebook post saying Gaza is like a pit bull kept in a cage "because of its repeated efforts to destroy Israel and Jews."

"...one thing has become extremely clear: the level of harm that incendiary language can have on a community. The post caused an outpouring of anger and pain among many different groups of students, faculty, and staff. The groundswell of reaction makes it clear that the issue goes far beyond the effects of a single post. It is about who we are as a community," Bergeron wrote in a letter to the students on Sunday.

She stressed that Connecticut College "values the dignity of all people" and said the campus "must take action immediately to expose and eradicate this ignorance and hatred."

"As your president, I will not tolerate forms of racist or hateful speech designed to demean, denigrate, or dehumanize," she said. "Even though speech may be protected does not mean that we have to approve of the odious things that people choose to say with their freedom. I do not approve. It does mean, though, that we can and should use our freedom to speak out against injustice."

This is not the first time students have gathered in the past few weeks to address their concerns.

"So many of you have come together in the last weeks and days — and even this afternoon and evening — to do that. It has given me a new sense of hope," Bergeron said. "I am writing to say that I stand with you. Now I ask you to work with me in making Connecticut College a place that we are proud to call our home."

Bergeron said she planned to talk to the students about strengthening the college community and improving school climate. A campus-wide meeting was slated for Monday night. Bergeron will also open her door Tuesday to anyone who wants to speak with her about the issues.

Officials said that staff members for the Offices of Student Life and the Dean of the College will be available to provide support to students who have concerns.

Deborah MacDonnell, the director of public relations at Connecticut College, called the graffiti "antithetical to the values of the College" and the incident is under investigation.

Photo Credit: Matt Austin/ NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Racist Graffiti Found Scrawled in Connecticut College Bathrooms]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 07:58:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Conn+College+Grafitti+edited.jpg

Connecticut College officials are looking for the person or persons responsible for racist graffiti found in the bathrooms on the first floor of the Crozier-Williams building in New London.

The college was alerted at 12:15 p.m. on Sunday. Campus safety officials are investigating and the graffiti was removed, according to an email Dean of Student Life Victor Arcelus and Director of Campus Safety Stewart Smith sent to students and the college community. Photos shared with NBC Connecticut show writing on a bathroom wall that says "No" followed by the "N" word plural.

"Given the egregious nature of the graffiti, we are enlisting the campus community to help us to identify those responsible,"  the letter from Arcelus and Smith said.

Officials said that staff members for the Offices of Student Life and the Dean of the College will be available to provide support to students who have concerns.

Deborah MacDonnell, the director of public relations at Connecticut College, says the graffiti is "antithetical to the values of the College." 

She goes on to say that the graffiti was removed and the incident is being investigated.

Photo Credit: Submitted]]>
<![CDATA[Snow Showers Move Out, Rain This Afternoon]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 09:05:55 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/snow+in+Lakeville+Leslie+Sykes-ONeill.jpg

Even though Connecticut is in for a run of warm weather this week, a quick burst of snow came through this morning, leaving a fresh coating.

There are still some scattered snow showers in central Connecticut, but no accumulation is expected, according to First Alert Meteorologist Darren Sweeney.

Snow fell in Western Connecticut, as well as in southern Connecticut.

One heavy burst of snow came through along the Interstate-395 corridor around 8:30 a.m.

While most of the snow has moved out, rain showers are possible this afternoon, or closer to the evening commute.

Throughout the rest of the morning and afternoon, temperatures will build up to the mid-40s for breezy milder weather with more rain showers possible.

The warm streak will last for most of the week, staying in the 40s and 50s, possibly reaching the 60s by Friday. Winds in the southeast could reach 10 to 20 miles an hour.

There could be rain late Friday into Saturday on Easter weekend, possibly mixing with some wet snow as cooler air comes in Saturday morning.

Photo Credit: Leslie Sykes-O'Neill]]>