<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:37:59 -0400 Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:37:59 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Severe Thunderstorm Warnings, Watches Issued]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:35:32 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/windham+tolland+severe+storms.png

Severe thunderstorm warnings are in effect for parts of Tolland and Windham counties until 7:15 p.m. Thunderstorm watches are also in effect for Hartford, Tolland and Windham counties until 8 p.m.

Storms could bring gusty winds, lots of lightning and heavy rainfall to parts of northern and central Connecticut.

The storm is moving northeast along Interstate 91 in Enfield and will head into Massachusetts, according to Chief Meteorologist Brad Field. Residents should prepare for the possibility of damaging winds.

We're also seeing some showers along Interstate 84 from Waterbury to Hartford.

Connecticut Light & Power is reporting more than 700 outages in Ellington and 500 in Enfield, along with 200 outages in Suffield, nearly 300 in Simsbury and scattered outages in Canton, Bloomfield, Windsor Locks, Tolland and other parts of northern and central Connecticut.

More than 2,300 customers are currently without power, according to CL&P.

The National Weather Service has received reports of trees and wires down on the Somers/Ellington town line.

The storms come as several towns, including Enfield and Wolcott, are cleaning up from severe weather on Sunday and bracing for more.

Nick Amato, of Wolcott, and his family spent Monday cleaning up after a large tree came down on their house and camper.

"It sounded like a freight train. Everybody says when you hear the freight train, head to the basement, but it happened so quickly, we didn't have any reaction time. It just came through and then it took off again," he said.

The National Weather Service determined that an EF-0 tornado touched down on Sunday. As of Monday morning, several roads remained closed.

Interstate 95 northbound in Old Saybrook was closed in the right-most lane between exits 66 and 67 after a rollover tractor trailer crash early Monday morning.

There is a potential for scattered thunderstorms across the state in the afternoon and early evening, according to NBC Connecticut Meteorologist Darren Sweeney, who has declared a First Alert Weather Day.

There is a small risk of tornadoes, he said, following Sunday's weak tornado in Wolcott. The storms could bring downpours and possible flash flooding to parts of the state.

The storms are expected to lull this afternoon, possibly flaring up again at 3 or 4 p.m. with scattered storms and affecting the evening commute.

Temperatures will likely be in the 80s.

<![CDATA[Woman Left Child in 140-Degree Car During Nail Appointment]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:07:56 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Rasheena+Francis1200.jpg

East Hartford police arrested a woman who is accused of leaving a child in a 140-degree car for hours while she was getting her nails done.

Police said Rasheena Francis, 28, of Hartford, left a 6-year-old child in the car for an hour or two on Friday while getting her nails done at Lena’s Nails II 205 Burnside Ave.

The car was off and the windows were rolled up when police arrived, police said. It was not immediately clear if Francis is the child's mother.


The child was taken to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and is expected to be fine, according to police.

Francis was charged with one count risk of injury and one count of reckless endangerment.

She posted $75,000 bond and is due in court on Aug. 13.

The arrest is not listed on the online court docket and it's not clear if she has an attorney.

Photo Credit: East Hartford Police]]>
<![CDATA[Feeling the Pain of Lightning Strikes, Again and Again]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:18:23 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/72814+Lightning.jpg

Jeryll Hadley and a friend were trying to set up a tent over a campfire along California’s Gualala River 25 years ago, their hands on the metal center pole, when lightning struck the tree next to them, throwing them about 30 feet apart.

Both still standing, they looked at each other and he said, “’I think we’ve been zapped,’” she said. “The only thing I remembered during the event was my left hand, the one on the pole, was neon blue.”

“Of course I heard the loud noise, but it just felt like an implosion, very strange,” she said. “But other than that I didn’t feel anything and we went on through our camping trip.” 

Hadley, 67, of Ukiah, California, was left with burn marks on her throat and forehead, she said. Only later did she start having terrible pains in her shoulders, short-term memory loss, and a new anger that once led her to throw a wooden salt shaker at her first husband.

“That is not me,” she said.

On Sunday, a 20-year-old man from Los Angeles, Nick Fagnano, was killed and eight others hospitalized after a rare lightning storm on the beach in Venice.

“Those people that got hit, their life is going to be much different, I hate to say,” said Sandra Hardy, another California woman who survived a lightning strike. “It isn’t a one-time event.”

Sixteen people have been killed by lightning across the United States this year, according to the National Weather Service. Six of the deaths were in Florida, two in Colorado, and the others in Texas, New Mexico, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Mississippi and Georgia.

About 10 percent of those who are struck die. Survivors, who primarily suffer from an injury to the nervous system, can have symptoms ranging from mild confusion and dizziness to long-term problems processing new information, chronic pain form nerve damage and depression.

Hadley did not start attributing her symptoms to the lightning strike until attending a conference with survivors. She is now on medication for her anger, sometimes garbles her speech and said that a doctor once compared her experience to an electric lobotomy. On the other hand, all symptoms of polycystic kidney disease that she had have disappeared, she said.

“For the most part I’m living a normal life,” she said.

Last year was a record low for lightning fatalities. Twenty-three people died, fewer than in any other year on record, data from the National Weather Service showed. That contrasted with the 432 people killed in 1943, the deadliest year.

Officials attribute the drop to a variety of factors, from better lightning protection to fewer corded phones to more awareness among emergency medical providers and advances in medical treatment. CPR and defibrillators are keeping people alive, said John Jensenius, a lightning safety specialist with the National Weather Service.

"We feel very glad that we've brought the number down but there's still many people out there that are unnecessarily either killed or injured by lightning," Jensenius said. "If they would just simply follow the simple guidelines, if you hear thunder you need to be inside, the simple saying, 'When thunder roars, go indoors,' there would be many more lives that would be saved and fewer injuries."

More than 9,200 people have been killed by lightning in the United States since 1940, when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration began keeping records. In the last 30 years, there have been 51 deaths on average each year.

The ground current is what kills or injures most people,Jensenius said.

"When lightning strikes a point, it doesn't disappear deep into the ground, it spreads out along the ground surface," he said.

That compares with about 7,400 deaths from tornadoes, 7,500 from floods and 3,300 from hurricanes.

Hardy, now 70, was driving home from California’s Mammoth Mountain in June 1998, when she got caught in a heavy rainstorm in Owens Valley.

“I could see the lightning strikes coming down on the ground, coming straight down, it was a heavy, heavy rainstorm, so I took off my watch, took off my glasses, I took the collar off my dog,” she said.

A lightning strike hit power lines at the side of the road and her car, she said.

“It just paralyzed me,” she said. “It killed the engine to the car and the car just rolled off to the side and I couldn’t really move or anything and a motorist came up behind me right away and he’s pounding on my door to open up the door.”

Hardy, who was a facilities manager for the Los Angeles County schools, could barely talk or remember how to get home and her kidneys were hurting her, she said.

“From that day on my body started to deteriorate,” she said.

Hardy, of Manhattan Beach, developed problems with her hearing, her vision, her bladder, her memory and by October of 2002, had acute symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Her dog survived a year, but died after developing tumors, she said.

“The myth that you’re safe in a car, it should be corrected,” she said. “It’s not going to kill you but you’re not safe.”

The conference that Hadley attended was organized by Steve Marshburn, who was himself struck in 1969 in Swansboro, North Carolina, when lightning hit the drive-through window of the bank where he worked. He was sitting inside and it broke his back, he said. Other injuries became evident over the years, he said.

At the time there was little information for lightning strike survivors, but since then he has formed a group, Lightning Strike and Electric Shock Survivors.

“There is help out there,” he said.


Photo Credit: Joey]]>
<![CDATA[North Haven Police Warn of Overnight Car Break-Ins]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:08:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/police-lights-generic-0311.jpg

North Haven residents are urged to lock their cars after thieves stole from vehicles around town in a spree of overnight break-ins.

According to police, suspects are targeting unlocked cars on Livingston Drive, Blue Hills Road, Ridgewood Avenue and Highland Park Road.

Residents reported seeing two men wearing dark clothing running from Ridgewood Avenue to Whitney Avenue in Hamden after a car alarm went off around 5 a.m. Friday. Police said one of the suspects was carrying a backpack.

Residents are advised to lock their cars and use lights with motion sensors to deter thieves. Police are working to identify suspects and are increasing patrols in the area.

If you see anything suspicious, call police at 203-239-1618.

<![CDATA[New Britain Alderman Has Drunken Outburst at Mayor's Office: Cops]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:39:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/michael+trueworthy+new+britain.jpg

A New Britain alderman and deputy mayor was escorted from City Hall after he allegedly showed up at the mayor’s office drunk, told her not to run for reelection and said he would run in her stead, according to a police report filed after the incident last week.

According to police, Alderman Michael Trueworthy called and emailed Mayor Erin Stewart several times during the work day July 22. Stewart told police Trueworthy’s emails had been “out of character” and that he sounded drunk on the phone.

“She stated he was slurring his words and was unable to have a coherent conversation,” the police report says. Stewart told police Trueworthy was upset with the way she had “handled recent city business and called her an inappropriate name three or four times.”

According to the incident report, not long after Stewart hung up the phone with Trueworthy, she heard a loud banging coming from the emergency entrance to her office in City Hall. Stewart’s Chief of Staff John Healey opened the door to find Trueworthy standing there and let him in “to avoid a commotion in the lobby.”

Police said Trueworthy “barged into [Stewart’s] office, was being belligerent and appeared to be under the influence of alcohol.” According to police, he asked Stewart for a drink, then continued calling her names and threatened to search her office for alcohol when she told him she didn’t have any.

At that point, Stewart asked Healey to call the police chief, the report says.

Trueworthy allegedly told Stewart not to run for mayor again and to leave office saying she had helped the city in a time of financial crisis and would be “moving on to other opportunities,” according to the police report. He then told her he would run for mayor instead.

Police arrived as Trueworthy’s friends were leading him out of City Hall to take him home. According to the police report, officers saw Trueworthy stumbling and leaning on his friends’ shoulders as they walked him to the car. Police said he was unsteady on his feet and smelled strongly of alcohol.

Stewart told police Trueworthy had had problems with alcohol in the past, but said she didn’t feel threatened or want to press charges, according to the report.

No criminal charges will be filed in connection with the incident, police said.

The New Britain city Web site lists Trueworthy as mayor pro-tempore and alderman at large.

He has been appointed to the administration, finance and law, bonding capital equipment reserve, planning, zoning and housing subcommittees and serves as liaison to Central Connecticut State University, the Department of Property Management, Mattabassett District in Cromwell and the Veterans Commission, according to the site.

Photo Credit: City of New Britain]]>
<![CDATA[Arrest in 500 White Powder Letters]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:31:10 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hazmatgeneric2.jpg

A North Texas man who once told police the federal government was "beaming radar" into him was arrested Monday, after federal prosecutors say he sent hundreds of envelopes containing white powder to schools, U.S. embassies and businesses over the years.

Hong Minh Truong, 66, of Rowlett, was arrested Monday by FBI special agents and investigators for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

He is charged in a federal criminal complaint with false information and hoaxes, and a U.S. magistrate ordered Monday afternoon that he remain in federal custody.

Truong is suspected of mailing more than 500 hoax letters from North Texas to cities across the U.S., including to preschools and elementary schools, and to U.S. embassies around the world, beginning in December 2008, the United States Attorney's office said.

The letters were also mailed to numerous hotels and prominent business offices in the New York area in the days leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII in northern New Jersey, NBC News has learned.

Investigators said the language used in the letters as well as the method of sending the letters led them to believe one person was responsible for sending them all.

One such letter, allegedly sent from North Texas in May 2012, included the following statement:

"Al Qaeda back! Special thing for you
What the hell where are you Scooby Doo, Counter Intelligence, CIA, you do not know how to catch the triple dealer spy in your law enforcement. What the hell where are you Scooby Doo, Internal Affairs, FBI, you don't know how to arrest the bad cop in your law enforcement.
You all flaming idiot, ignorant and arrogant, know nothing! How to protect this country! U.S.A
We are Al Qaeda, U.B.L FBI, Al Qaeda, SS Nazi FBI, working in your agency. We claim everything."

In 2002, Truong told Dallas police he heard "voices" that the federal government was "beaming radar into his body," according to the complaint against him.

Federal prosecutors have 30 days to present the case to a grand jury for possible indictment.

<![CDATA[Elderly Man Killed in Prospect Crash]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:10:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/police-lights-day-shutterstock_143047033.jpg

An 84-year-old man has died of injuries sustained during a crash in Prospect Saturday afternoon.

According to police, Michael Carmen Santoro, 84, of Prospect, was stopped at the intersection of Porter Hill Road and Straitsville Road around 2:40 p.m. Saturday when he pulled forward for better visibility was struck by oncoming traffic.

Santoro was taken to Saint Mary's Hospital in Waterbury, where he later died, police said.

The other driver, 19-year-old Corey Robert Lister, of Prospect, and Santoro's passenger, 83-year-old Dorathy Santoro, also of Prospect, were treated for minor injuries at the hospital.

Police are investigating the crash.

Anyone with information is asked to call Connecticut State Police Trooper Richman at 203-393-4200.

<![CDATA[8-Year-Old Left in Hot Car for 45 Minutes: Police]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 16:47:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/179*120/shutterstock_10753402.jpg

A New London couple is facing charges after allegedly leaving an 8-year-old in a hot car in Groton, according to police.

Officers responded to a shopping plaza at 664 Long Hill Road in Groton on Monday after receiving the report of a child left in the car.

Police said the 8-year-old had been in the car for 45 minutes. Two of the windows had been left partially open, but the temperature inside the car could have reached 103-114 degrees, according to police.

Officers at the scene said the child felt hot but was conscious and alert.

A husband and wife from New London, 61-year-old Ambiorix Rondon and 53-year-old Maria Rondon, were charged with risk of injury to a minor and leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle.

Polic said the Rondons are related to the 8-year-old but are not the child's parents.

They were released on $2,500 bonds and are due in court Aug. 11.

Police said the child was not injured and didn’t need medical treatment.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Murder Charges in Philly Carjacking]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:26:51 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Tioga+Carjacking-Suspects.jpg

Two "bastards," bent on robbing a realtor, are facing murder charges for carjacking and sexually assaulting the woman before running down a family selling fruit on a Philadelphia sidewalk, city law enforcement officials say. Three children, all siblings, were killed.

Jonathan Rosa, 19, and Cornelius Crawford, 22, face 15 charges each including three counts of 2nd Degree Murder, Carjacking, Kidnapping and Involuntary Deviant Sexual Assault for the alleged Friday morning crime.

“I want to personally thank Commissioner Ramsey, Captain Clark, all the men and women of the Philadelphia Police Department for their exceptional work in bringing these two bastards to justice," Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said. "All Philadelphians were moved to tears by this crime."

Homicide Capt. James Clark said Crawford and Rosa wanted to commit a robbery when they forced the real estate agent into her white Toyota SUV at gunpoint at 6th and Cumberland Streets around 11 a.m. on Friday. They then took off. Inside the truck, the realtor was sexually assaulted as the suspects sped through the streets of the Tioga section of North Philadelphia.

(Officials have identified the agent, but it is NBC10's policy not to name the victims of sexual assault.)

Then about 10 minutes later, one of the SUV's tires blew, causing vehicle to careen out of control at the busy intersection of Germantown and Allegheny Avenues, Clark said. The vehicle jumped the curb and slammed directly into the family as they stood at their fruit stand.

Thomas Reed, 10, died on the sidewalk. His sister Keiearra Williams, 15, and brother Terrence Moore, 7, passed away at area hospitals, police said. Their mother, 34-year-old Keisha Williams, suffered severe injuries and remains hospitalized -- unaware her children have died.

A family friend, 65-year-old Thelma Brown, was also hit and broke her ankle, officials said.

The group were selling the fruit to help their church raise money to build a playground at the site where the crash happened.

The SUV then skidded across the grass and slammed into a tree. Clark said Crawford and Rosa then jumped out and ran. Inside the SUV, remained the carjacking victim. She was also critically hurt, police said.

A witness to the crash found Rosa's cell phone at the crash scene and turned it over to detectives. Clark said that evidence helped lead investigators to the men.

Both men were taken into custody on Sunday. Crawford has a long criminal history and was recently released from prison following a robbery conviction, prosecutors said. He was found hiding behind a home along the 2900 block of N. 6th Street by U.S. Marshals and detectives. Rosa turned himself in to the Homicide Unit alongside his mother and pastor.

Rosa's attorney, Christopher Warren, says his client is cooperating with detectives to try and "atone" for the crash, the attorney said.

"He turned himself in, and he is doing everything in his power to try and atone for what happened last Friday," Warren said. "Quite frankly, he's having an extremely difficult time getting over the image of that 15-year-old girl coming over the hood of the car."

A post on Rosa's Facebook page from 8:15 a.m. on Friday said "Good and evil two sides fighting for dominance." Later that evening, at 9:42 p.m., Rosa's mother Amanda wrote on his page: "Please pray for Jonathan my son."

Josue Rosa, the man's uncle, tells NBC10.com his nephew is a good kid, without a criminal record, who had just taken a test to join the U.S. Marines. He believes the 19-year-old was pressured by the other suspect to take part in the carjacking.

"I don’t want my nephew to do life in prison. If he was involved, alright. Don’t give my nephew life in prison. He’s not a bad kid. He's not the one who was driving," he said.

Clark had less empathy for the teen and his alleged co-conspirator.

"What they did was indefensible and unforgivable, so whatever remorse they might have does not bring back the children," he said.

City officials thanked the public for helping to find the two men and for offering support to the victims. DA Williams said former NBA and Philadelphia 76ers star Charles Barkley called him to say he wanted to pay for the three children's funeral.

Should the two men be found guilty of the accused crimes at the maximum sentencing, they face three consecutive life terms in prison plus another 89 years.

Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Philadelphia Police]]>
<![CDATA[Burglars Steal Guitars Worth Thousands]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:09:11 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/219*120/Guitar-Generic.jpg

Hamden police are searching for the masked men who broke into a guitar store early Monday morning and stole instruments worth thousands of dollars.

Police responded to Brian’s Guitars at 3000 Whitney Avenue after the building’s security alarm went off around 3 a.m. Monday. Officers arrived to find that the glass front door had been shattered, according to police.

Surveillance footage shows at least three people burglarizing the store. Police said they took guitars worth thousands of dollars.

The first suspect is described as a white man with red or brown hair. The second suspect is a black man wearing dark clothing, and the third is a white man with black or brown hair. All three suspects were wearing masks, according to police.

Anyone with information is urged to call Hamden police detectives at 203-230-4040.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dad Whose Baby Died in SUV "Made a Terrible Mistake": DA]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 16:45:42 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/04-17-2014-baby-in-backseat.jpg

Three months after a 9-month-old boy died after being left in his father's SUV, the Santa Clara County District Attorney ruled on Monday that the dad will not be charged with the baby's death.

The father was extremely fatigued and mistakenly believed that he had dropped off the child, Giovanni Hernandez of Los Gatos, at a babysitter’s home on his way to work, the prosecutors' review concluded.

Giovanni's official cause of death on April 16 was hyperthermia, or elevated body temperature, according to the Santa Clara County Coroner. The DA did not identify the father by his full name, only as "Mr. Hernandez."

“Like most parents, I know how fatigue can sometimes rob us of common sense and good judgment,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement. “While we have prosecuted child endangerment cases in the past, this tragedy does not rise to the level of recklessness that both the law and justice require.”

Rosen added that to have criminally charged the father with child endangerment or involuntary manslaughter, prosecutors would have needed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed an "aggravated, flagrantly negligent or reckless act rather than one resulting from inattention or mistaken judgment," Rosen said.

Rosen's decision is markedly different that what prosecutors decided near suburban Atlanta. Justin Ross Harris was charged with murder after the Cobb County District Attorney alleged he intentionally left his 22-year-old toddler in the back of the family SUV because he wanted a "child free life." Harris' friends and family, however, have countered that prosecutors made a "terrible mistake."

In the Santa Clara County case, the prosecutors' review concluded the tragedy was not caused by the negligence of a reckless parent but rather was an error by a "normally conscientious, exhausted father."

"That is the best news we have gotten all day," Kids and Cars president and founder Janette Janette said in phone interview from Philadelphia. "Those poor parents. Now, they can finally grieve."

In April, the day after Giovanni's body was found, Yousif Njimeh told NBC Bay Area that the father worked for his brother at his vending machine company, Star Vending. The father's usual routine was to park his silver Honda SUV on Payne Avenue in San Jose and then take off in the company vending machine truck. The father, who had two other children, worked from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Njimeh said. Njimen said sister-in-law was supposed to babysit the boy, but there was some "miscommunication."

The prosecutors' report released on Monday outlined a little more detail about what led up to Giovanni's death.

On the day his son died, Hernandez woke up about 6 a.m. to get his two other children ready for school, and the baby ready for daycare at his relative's home. He had gone to bed just four hours earlier at 2 a.m. because he was up with the baby while his wife was at work at a new job delivering pizza. His wife returned at 3 a.m.

Usually, it was Hernandez's wife's job to take the two older children to school and drop the baby off three days a week. But because of her new delivery job, there was a change in her routine.

Shortly after 8 a.m. that day, Hernandez piled his three children in his SUV. His oldest daughter sat in front. His older son sat in the back seat next to the sleeping baby.

He dropped off his older children, and drove off toward his work.

He told prosecutors he was extremely tired and dropped off his personal car to pick up his employer's truck, forgetting that the baby was in the back.

At the end of his shift, Hernandez asked a co-worker at 6:30 p.m. if they could stop at the babysitter's to get his son, but he realized that he had never taken Giovanni there.

He called 911, but it was too late.

On average, 38 children die from heat stroke every year after being left in a car nationwide, according to Kids and Cars. Last year, however, the heat stroke car death toll hit 44. Giovanni's death was the first in the country in 2014. On Monday, Kids and Cars had documented a total of 18 nationwide.

The dangers of parents leaving their children in hot cars was highlighted in the Pulitzer Prize-winning 2009 article "Fatal Distraction: Forgetting a Child in the Backseat of a Car Is a Horrifying Mistake. Is It a Crime?" The magazine piece, by Eugene Weingarten of the Washington Post, showed that anyone can forget a baby in a car, and that the most likely reasons are a change in schedule and sheer exhausation. Rosen and senior prosecutors read that article and were very "moved" by it, according to public communications officer Sean Webby.

Fennell said that many of these deaths can be avoided if parents remember little tricks to remind them that their child may be sleeping quietly in the back seat. Two of those tips including having the babysitter call if the child does not show up in a timely manner, and leaving something necessary, like a purse, key card or phone, with the baby in the back seat so the driver will need to retrieve that item before heading into work.

Hernandez has no history of child abuse or neglect, according to prosecutors. And by all accounts, the DA's office concluded, he is an "attentive" father.

"He didn't commit a crime; he made a terrible mistake," Rosen said.

IF YOU'RE INTERESTED: More tips can be found at KidsAndCars.org. The organization is also hoping that a petition will force the Obama Administration to provide more funding to the Department of Transportation to create innovative technology and require that technology be installed in cars.

NBC Bay Area's Marianne Favro contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[State Steps Up Storm Protection for Shoreline Residents]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:44:49 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/cosey+beach+house_722_406.jpg

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene, the state is stepping up measures to protect shoreline residents and businesses from the next big weather event.

Property owners living in parts of Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, Fairfield, Bridgeport, Stratford, Milford, West Haven, New Haven, East Haven, Branford, Guilford, Madison, Clinton, Westbrook, Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, East Lyme, Waterford, New London Groton and Stonington can apply for low-interest loans of up to $30,000 as part of “Shore Up CT.”

The program, initially dubbed the “Shoreline Resiliency Fund,” has received $5 million in bonds, along with an additional $25 million approved by the state legislature earlier this year, according to a release from the governor's office.

It was originally created to help shoreline residents who don’t qualify for federal disaster aid and would have to pay out of pocket to upgrade their homes and businesses.

Residents can borrow between $10,000 and $30,000 over a 15-year period with no monthly principal or interest for the first year. They’re required to have property, hazard and flood insurance for the duration of the loan, the release says.

Eligible properties include single-family homes occupied at least 14 days out of the year, owner-occupied rental properties containing up to four units and businesses in good standing with the state that employ fewer than 100 workers. Residents and business owners must not have any outstanding taxes.

Homes and businesses being elevated to avoid flood damage should be raised at least a foot above flood height, which can be calculated online at the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Web site.

You can learn more about Shore Up CT and apply online at www.shoreupct.org.

<![CDATA[Employee of Kitchen Remodeler Accused of Embezzlement]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:40:48 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/April+Trowell+1200.jpg

Bridgeport police have arrested a 24-year-old woman who is accused of embezzling more than $50,000 from the kitchen remodeling company she works for.

April Trowell is suspected of thefts from February 2013 until July 2014 and was arrested at work on Friday.

Police started investigating when the owner of Hope Kitchen reached out to authorities.

He told police that Trowell had been diverting business to another company and that she’d told a customer at least once that she could help them get a price that Hope Kitchen could not beat, according to police.

The cabinetry vendor the company works with also told the owner that the company had shipped more than $51,000 in merchandise billed to Hope Kitchen, but it went to a business called Top Quality Contractors LLC, to Trowell’s home address and to other addresses not that were associated with Hope Kitchen, according to police.

Police went through Hope Kitchen records and made the arrest.

Trowell was responsible for showing Hope Kitchen customers the showroom, gathering contact information and helping to design customers’ kitchens, as well as responding to email, answering calls and ordering inventory, police said.

She was charged with first-degree larceny and first-degree computer crimes and bond was set at $75,000. Police said they are still investigating and more arrests are possible.

Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police]]>
<![CDATA[Chaos After Calif. Lightning Strike]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:05:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/venice-lightning-rescue.jpg

Beachgoers reported seeing a bright flash, hearing the sound of a loud explosion and witnessing the chaos that ensued along the coast during a fatal lightning strike in Venice on Sunday afternoon.

"It was the loudest thunder I've ever heard," said witness Joe Doro. "It was like a scene out of 'Jaws,' all the mothers were going in to grab their kids to drag them out of the water."

The lightning bolts touched down about 2:20 p.m. near the pier, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

Eight people who were in and near the water were taken to the hospital, the LAFD tweeted, including a 20-year-old man who was later pronounced dead. Five other people were treated and released at the scene.

"You heard this crackle, this giant bolt up in the sky that I've never seen like that - and I'm from the Midwest, and we see lots of lightning," Doro said.

People who were on the sand as far as 50 yards away from the pier reported being shocked.

"I felt heat pressure on top of my head and just kind of an electric buzz through my body," said another witness.

Eric Amparan, who was playing volleyball when the lightning bolts touched down, said he saw a woman calling for her father, who had been pulled out of the water by rescuers and was apparently unconscious.

"She was crying and saying, 'Daddy, daddy, daddy,'" he said. When she overheard that her father was breathing, she said, "'Daddy, I love you,'" he added.

Alexandria Thompson, who tweets news on her Twitter account @Venice311, was at home near the beach when she inadvertently recorded the thunder.

"It actually sounded like there was debris falling," she said. "I mean it was the craziest thing I've ever heard."

Thompson headed for the beach, where county lifeguards and Los Angeles city firefighters were treating more than a dozen people.

<![CDATA[Bloomfield Man Has Been Missing Since June]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:28:21 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Angelo+Bennett+1200+collage.jpg

Bloomfield police are asking for help to find a man who has been missing since June.

Angelo Bennett, 50, was last leaving his home at 10 a.m. on June 20 with an acquaintance and has not been seen or heard from since.

Anyone with information on Bennett should call the Bloomfield Police Department at (860) 242-5501. 


Photo Credit: Bloomfield Police]]>
<![CDATA[Man Shot in Meriden]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:19:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/215*120/Generic+Police+Tape+Generic.JPG

Police are investigating the shooting of a 29-year-old man in Meriden.

Officers arrived at the intersection of Springdale Avenue and Botsford Street around 1 p.m. Monday to find the man lying on the sidewalk. He had been shot once in the groin and was treated at the scene, then taken to a local hospital, police said.

The man's condition is unknown but police said his injuries do not appear to be life threatening. He has been cooperating with police.

Police said they received a 911 call just prior to the shooting reporting a man waving a gun in the area. Authorities are investigating to determine whether the incidents are related.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Meriden police Det. Gonzalez at 203-630-6318.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Man Tries to Rob Man Who Was Sleeping in Backyard: Cops]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:00:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/New+Haven+Police+722_edited-1.jpg

A New Haven man who was asleep in his backyard after throwing a party the night before was the victim of an attempted robbery, according to police.

Police responded to an Asylum Street home around 7 a.m. on Saturday and interviewed the resident, who told police that he’d thrown a party the night before, slept in the backyard and woke up to find a man trying to rob him.

The resident ran through a neighbor’s  yard and said the would-be robber did not follow him.

Police noted that the resident who reported the robbery was still intoxicated.


<![CDATA[2 U.S. Marshals, NYPD Officer Shot in NYC]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:29:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP618772093219+copy+charles+mozdir+mug.jpg

Two U.S. marshals and an NYPD detective were shot Monday afternoon when a gun battle erupted in a Greenwich Village smokeshop as the officers tried to apprehend an accused child molester, authorities said. The suspect was killed in the shootout.

The officers were shot shortly after 1 p.m. in Smoking Culture, a smokeshop on West Fourth Street, where officers were acting on tip that the fugitive was working there. The NYPD detective entered the store between Jones and Cornelia streets and confirmed that suspect was alone.  When the detective returned with U.S. Marshals to make an arrest, the suspect, Charles Mozdir, immediately opened fire with a. 32-caliber revolver. 

"Mozdir fired upon the officers are very close range and the officers returned fire," Police Commissioner William Bratton said during an update from Bellevue Hospital.

The NYPD detective was shot twice in the stomach below his bulletproof vest. The detective was in critical but stable condition. One marshal was shot in the leg and the other was hit in the elbow, the official said. All of the officers were in good spirits, Bratton said.

Bratton said the vest may have saved the officer's life, preventing a bullet that would have struck his torso. 

Mozdir is accused in the sexual assault of a child in Coronado, California, near San Diego. The 32-year-old was recently profiled on "The Hunt with John Walsh," an "America's Most Wanted"-type show on CNN. 

Mozdir was wanted on a $1 million warrant. He was charged with multiple counts of committing forcible lewd acts on a child and attempting to dissuade a witness.  He skipped an April court appearance in California and his car was found in Georgia two months later. The trail went cold after that until officers acted on information that he might be in New York City.

His weapon was recovered at the scene.   Mozdir had 20 more rounds in his pockets, police said. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Man Shot in New Haven]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:50:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/New+Haven+police+photo.jpg

A 24-year-old New Haven man is in serious condition after being shot below his right ear during an incident on Dixwell Avenue Sunday night.

Police responded to the St. Raphael's campus of Yale-New Haven Hospital just before 9 p.m. on Sunday after a shooting victim drove himself to the hospital, police said. 

Police were also told that a passenger in the victim’s car might have been shot as well, but walked away.

Officers found the passenger walking nearby.

He had not been shot, was not cooperative and told police only that the victim went into a Jamaican restaurant on Dixwell Avenue for food, while he stayed in the car with headphones on, according to police.

When the victim got back into the car, he said he was shot and sped off to the hospital.

Detectives have located surveillance footage from a nearby camera and police are trying to collect evidence from the victim, the passenger and the car they took to the hospital.

The victim was transferred to Yale-New Haven Hospital where he is listed in serious but stable condition.


<![CDATA[Foley Leads Malloy in Online Poll]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:52:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/Malloy-Foley.jpg

A collaborative poll between The New York Times, CBS News and research firm YouGov places Tom Foley (R) as the slight favorite for the 2014 gubernatorial race over incumbent Dannel P. Malloy (D) by 9 percentage points.

An online panel of about 100,000 people nationwide responded to the poll, which asked questions about political races across the country, including "if the election for Governor in Connecticut were being held today and these were the candidates, who would you vote for?" YouGov conducted the poll in partnership with the two media outlets, Nate Cohen reported in his column, "TheUpshot"  in the Times.

According to results released on the CBS website, 42 percent would vote for Foley, 33 percent would vote for Malloy, 4 percent would vote for another candidate, 3 percent said they wouldn't vote and 5 percent were unsure, the results state. Eight percent responded that they're "leaning" toward Malloy and 6 percent said that they're leaning toward Foley, according to the results.

Malloy, however, led in popularity for poll participants ages 30 to 44 (42 to Foley's 30 percent) and female (42 to Foley's 29), as well as respondents of black and Hispanic descent who participated in the poll, according to the results. The majority of respondents ages 18 to 29 (44 percent for Foley, 30 for Malloy), 45 to 64 (39 for Foley, 32 for Malloy) and 65 and up (54 for Foley, 30 for Malloy), as well as male participants (51 for Foley, 26 for Malloy) said they'd vote for Foley.

The last Quinnipiac poll released in May showed Malloy and Foley in a deadlocked tie in approval ratings for the governor's race. Quinnipiac does "phone-based polling" in contrast, according to CT News Junkie.

<![CDATA[Broadcast of Dog’s Bark Helps Nab Teen Vandals: Cops ]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:24:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/new+haven+bus+stop+edit.jpg

Broadcasting a dog’s bark through a public address system helped police nab teens accused of vandalizing bus stops in New Haven this morning.

Police responded to Long Wharf Drive around 3 or 3:30 a.m. Monday after three teens smashed the glass on at least six bus stop enclosures, then ran into a marshy area of the south end to get away, police said.

Officers soon found one teen who was hiding, but the other two went deeper into the Long Island Sound marsh near the “Vietnam War Memorial,” so police called in more help.

Another officer arrived with his canine, Xander, a 12-year-old Dutch Shepherd.

The officer used his cruiser’s PA to urge the teens to come out of hiding and warned that Xander would find them if they didn't show, police said.

When the teens ignored the officer's commands, he broadcast Xander’s bark through the PA system. Within seconds, the teens emerged from the marsh and were arrested, according to police.

They were charged with criminal mischief before being turned over to their parents.

Police did not have information available Monday about property damage estimates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Man Touched Juvenile at Milford YMCA: Cops]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:50:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/milford+ymca.JPG

Milford police have arrested a 28-year-old Bridgeport man who is accused of inappropriately touching a juvenile at the YMCA.

Police responded to the YMCA at 691 Orange Avenue in Milford around 1 p.m. on Friday after YMCA administrators called authorities to investigate a suspicious incident.

Kenan Lipscomb, 28, of Bridgeport, is accused of inappropriately touching a juvenile in the building, according to Milford police. 

He was charged with fourth-degree sexual assault and risk of injury.

It's not clear what Lipscomb was doing at the YMCA, but a spokesperson for the Y said he's not affiliated with the organization.

"Kenan Lipscomb is ont a Y staff member, nor is he a Y volunteer," said YMCA spokeswoman Donna Gill Lisitano, in a statement Monday.

He was released on a promise to appear and is due in court on Aug. 19.

Police are investigating the incident.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Neglected Pit Bull Had Infected Wound, Maggots: Police]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:17:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/new+britain+animal+cruelty+mugs.jpg

Police arrested two New Britain residents after receiving an anonymous complaint in June about a neglected dog in a cage in their backyard and  finding a pit bull there with maggots and an infected collar wound.

The dog named Champ, about 2 years old, is not registered to anyone, but police charged Syra Santana, 43, and Wilfredo Andino, 43, with animal cruelty charges on July 17. Police spent nearly a month researching who owns the dog, as the dog didn't have an identification chip and the couple claimed he belonged to their son, according to New Britain Police Sgt. Paula Keller. Officers ultimately held the couple accountable because they own the 541 South Street single-family home where police found the pit bull, she said.

The dog's collar was on so tight when police found him that it irritated and infected the skin. Police also found maggots living on the pit bull.

Police took Champ to the vet and have him into their care at New Britain's dog pound since the June 21 incident and he's doing much better, according to New Britain Police Sgt. Paula Keller. After giving him antibiotics and baths at the pound to wash the wound, Champ's infection cleared up within two to three days and his fur grew back, she said.

Champ's future home depends on what's decided in court in New Britain. If a judge orders Santana and Andino to permanently surrender the dog, New Britain's pound will put him up for adoption to find him a new home.

Santana and Andino were each charged with one count of animal cruelty, a Class A misdemeanor. They were released from custody on $5,000 bonds are scheduled to be arraigned in court on July 31 at 10 a.m., according to the state judicial website.

Photo Credit: New Britain Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[School Bus Batteries Stolen in New Haven]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:44:19 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/school+bus2.jpg

Someone stolen several school bus batteries in New Haven on Sunday evening and police are investigating.

Police responded to the First Student Bus Company yard at 170 Middletown Avenue around 9 p.m. on Sunday to investigate.

Police said that 20 school bus batteries were stolen.

Officials from New Haven schools said five batteries were taken and batteries are removed from buses when they are not use.

Police said the batteries cost about $200 each and are not as common as regular car batteries.

Detectives are trying to find surveillance video in the area that might have captured images of the thefts.


<![CDATA[Men Assault, Rob Homeless Man: Cops]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:08:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Bridgeport+Robbery+and+Beating.JPG

Bridgeport police are investigating the robbery and attack of a homeless man early last Monday morning and are asking for help to identify the attackers.

Three men assaulted a 33-year-old man in the 1700 block of Park Avenue around 1:30 a.m. on Monday, July 21 and have released video in the hopes that someone can identify them.

The three men are clearly visible as they walk past one of the buildings in the shopping plaza.

The Bridgeport police robbery squad is investigating and anyone with information should cal l Detective Art Calvao at 203-581-5240 or Detective Sean Ronan at 203-581-5231.


Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police]]>
<![CDATA[Truck Crash Closes I-95 Lane in Old Saybrook ]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 08:40:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Old+Saybrook+Tractor+Trailer+Crash.jpg

The right-most lane on Interstate 95 North in Old Saybrook is closed on Monday due to a rollover tractor-trailer crash.

A tractor-trailer veered down an embankment and crashed. The lane was still closed between Exits 66 and 67 as of 6:45 a.m. The Connecticut Department of Transportation received reports of the crash at 5:58 a.m.

There is no word on whether anyone was injured in the crash.

Heavy rain on the I-95 and I-395 corridors is also affecting the morning commute.The DOT is also reporting delays for 3.2 miles between exits 26 and 22 on I-95 South in Fairfield.

Roadwork on I-84 East in Vernon between Exits 64 and 67 could affect your morning drive in that area.

Route 195 in Tolland is closed between Walbridge Hill Road and Route 32  in Mansfield, as well as Route 44 in Mansfield east of Route 195 and Route 320 in Willington between Cisar Road and the Mansfield line due to trees and wires down, according to the DOT.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

The Old Saybrook Fire Department also shared these photos of the crash:

Photo Credit: Old Saybrook Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[Joyriding Car Thief Crashes Stolen Car, Flees: Police]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:05:49 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Kenneth+Hofler+Mug+Shot+Edited.jpg

A teenager crashed a stolen car in Middletown on Friday after joyriding and nearly hitting pedestrians as he led an officer in a pursuit, police said.

When asked why he took the car, Kenneth Hofler, 18, of Middletown, told police that "the owner of the car was rich" and that "anyone with more money than him was rich," police said in a news release.

Hofler stole a gray 2010 Honda Accord that a Stoneycrest Drive resident left running while going inside an apartment at 1:15 p.m. that day to get his cell phone, police said. Two other men were with him at the time and a witness provided a description of Hofler to police.

Police canvassed the area and remained on the lookout for him throughout the day. At about 5:46 p.m. Friday, a patrol officer observed the Accord turn past him near  the East Main Street and Maple Street intersection and accelerate, according to police. The officer chased after him in his vehicle and later identified it as the stolen vehicle.

As Hofler sped away, he almost struck two pedestrians, police said. The officer tried to pull him over, but he didn't stop until crashing the car a short distance further, damaging a large tree, fire hydrant and street sign, police said. He told police that he couldn't make the turn while fleeing the officer pursing him and that the airbag activated upon impact.

When Hofler got out of the car, the officer held him at gunpoint and told him to stop where he was, but Hofler took off running between houses in the area.

He called for additional police units. Police caught Hofler on Wall Street, not far from where a female bystander pointed out his hiding spot in the woods. He eventually gave up and officers detained him and brought him to the Middletown Police Department for booking.

Hofler told police that he hid the car "in the back area of Rose Circle" and went joyriding in it two hours later. He turned when he saw a police cruiser approach because he thought the officer was coming after him because he wasn't wearing his seatbelt and sped away when the police car followed him.

Police arrested him and took him into custody, where he confessed to stealing the car, police said. Hofler told police that he initially only intended to drive around the corner and return it, but then decided to keep it.

Police charged Hofler with second-degree larceny for the car theft and engaging in a pursuit, operating a motor vehicle without a license, reckless driving, evading responsibility, interfering, third-degree criminal mischief and a seat belt violation due to the police chase, the department said. 

Police held him on a $75,000 surety bond and he is scheduled to appear in Middlesex Superior Court on Monday, July 28.

Krols Auto Body towed the vehicle from the crash site.

Middletown police remind residents not to leave cars unattended and unlocked because most car thefts or burglaries "are instances of opportunity."


Photo Credit: Middletown Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Naugatuck Police Search for Missing 15-Year-Old]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:42:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Tyler+Kaminski+Edited.jpg

Naugatuck police are asking for the public's help in finding a missing 15-year-old.

Tyler Kaminski, 15, of Naugatuck, headed to the Naugatuck town green at 2 p.m. on Sunday but never returned home, police said.

Police said that he doesn't have any "medical or special conditions" and that he is "not considered to be a danger to himself or others."

Kaminski was last seen wearing a brown T-shirt and plaid shorts, black and red sneakers and black New York beanie and was carrying a backpack. Police describe him as having blond, curly hair tied back in a pony tale and brown eyes. He is 5-foot-2 and weighs 110 pounds.

Police ask anyone with information to contact the Naugatuck Police Department at 203-729-5221.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Naugatuck Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Mother of Missing New Hampshire Teen "Haunted" by Daughter's Eyes]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:44:11 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/vlcsnap-2014-07-21-21h17m31s196.jpg

A mother who was recently reunited with her missing teen daughter after nine months says she was overcome with emotion when the 15-year-old returned home just over a week ago.

“We just stood there, looking at each other, and then we hugged and I just said ‘thank God you’re home. Thank God you’re home',” Zenya Hernandez said in an exclusive interview with “Today."

Abigail Hernandez was returning home from school when she disappeared last October. Her family believes she was abducted by a stranger.

While the Hernandez family and the police are still searching for answers to what led to the teen's disappearance, her mother dispelled rumors that her daughter was pregnant or ran away. Zenya Hernandez said that when Abigail returned home on July 20, she had lost a significant amount of weight and appeared pale. 

“She had a look in her eyes I have never ever seen before. And that’s something that’s haunting me, and I think it will haunt me for the rest of my life,” Hernandez said.

The Hernandez family released a statement Monday morning on their web site BringAbbyHome.com with more details about their daughter's recovery.

"Right now, Abby is resting, extremely tired and in deteriorated health, and has lost a lot of weight. She is working to build her strength back and we hope soon she will be back on solid foods," the family said.
According to "Today," Abigail released a statement thanking those who aided in the search for her.

“My gratitude is beyond words. It’s an incredible feeling to be home, and I believe in my heart that your hopes and prayers played a major role in my release," the statement read.

Details remain confidential during the investigation into Abigail’s disappearance and nine-month absence, but New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster said in a statement that law enforcement officers are working to obtain satisfactory answers. Authorities have issued a call for help in identifying a man they believe may have been connected to the disappearance.

“I feel like they just took and ripped something out of our souls.” Abigail’s mother said. “And just as I swore I’ll find her, I’ll find the person, I’ll find out what happened.”

Photo Credit: NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Trees Fall on Houses, Cars and Roads in Enfield]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:19:46 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Enfield+Storm+Damage.jpg

The town of Enfield is cleaning up after severe storms knocked down trees onto homes, cars and roads.

Oak Street has reopened after closing earlier this morning until about 5:30 a.m. as crews worked to repair electrical wires that fell during the height of the storm.

The town of Enfield has condemned some homes in town after trees fell on them.

Crews stayed on scene throught the night at a Crescent Beach Drive home where storms brought down a tree onto a house Sunday evening.

The two adults and two children who live there received food, clothing and toys from the Red Cross after they were forced from their home. Red Cross officials said the family was able to make their own housing arrangements.

A microburst on Taylor Road downed branches and wires, causing many people to lose power. Most of the Connecticut Light & Power customers there have regained power. The road was closed Sunday night near Shaker Road after reports that a tree fell on a car.

On Sunday night, lightning sparked a fire at a Prospect Avenue home.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut]]>
<![CDATA[National Weather Service Confirms Wolcott Tornado]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:32:23 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Wolcott+Tornado+Edited.jpg

The National Weather Service's New York office has confirmed that a weak tornado touched down in Wolcott.

The "EF0" level tornado touched down at 12:50 p.m, the National Weather service tweeted at 4:39 p.m. The small tornado had an estimated wind speed of 80 to 85 miles per hour and spanned about .62 miles, according to its preliminary findings.

A level 0 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita scale is a week tornado estimated to reach 65 to 85 miles per hour in a three-second gust, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The National Weather Service sent a representative to investigate with the help of Wolcott Emergency Management officials.

"The path began near the intersection of Minor Road and Center Streeet where a tree was uprooted and facing west" and finally lifted near Stagecoach Lane, the National Weather Service wrote in its preliminary report, which is subject to change pending final review.

The tornado caused "intermittent tree damage" and "continued along a path to the northeast to Wolcott High School," blowing "large fixed sports equipment" across the field and knocking down a fence, according to the report.

"Several trees were also topped" and the tornado knocked down several other trees to the northeast on Kalko Drive, the National Weather Service reported.

Police said that the tornado left a minimal trail of damage in Wolcott.

"Several trees were damaged as well as a trailer and a portable baseball backstop. The tree that damaged the trailer also landed on the roof of a house on Kalko Drive, causing minor damage and tore out the electrical service to the house," Wolcott police posted on Facebook.

Town crews cleared fallen trees that briefly blocked the roadways on Minor Road and Deer Run.

The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook earlier in the day for Hartford, Tolland,  Windham and northern Fairfield, New Haven and Middlesex counties, warning of possible thunderstorms with strong or damaging wind gusts, as well as heavy downpours and possible "urban and poor drainage flooding."

Storms and rain showers were in the forecast from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. with an isolated tornado risk earlier in the day and scattered thunderstorms that had potential to bring lightning and hail, NBC Connecticut Meteorologist Darren Sweeney said late Sunday morning.

Storms could flare up again early Monday morning, potentially causing trouble on the morning commute, according to NBC Connecticut Meteorologist Monica Cryan.

Visit the NBCConnecticut.com weather page or download our weather app for the latest weather developments.

If it is safe to do so, please submit your weather photos to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

Photo Credit: @StormTrooperJay]]>
<![CDATA[Neighbors Help Woman, 90, Escape Apartment Blaze]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 12:07:59 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Hamden+Fire+Residents+Displaced+Edited.jpg

A woman in her 90s is in the hospital Sunday after jumping from her second-floor window with the help of neighbors to escape a fire that ravaged a Hamden, Connecticut, apartment complex and displaced about a dozen people.

Hamden firefighters received a call about the fire at Dogwood Hill Apartment Homes at 200 Evergreen Avenue between 2 and 3 a.m. One resident captured footage in a video shared with NBC Connecticut.

About seven or eight units were affected by the fire and some had water damage. The fire left four of the units unliveable and displaced at least 12 people.

Many of the residents were asleep at the time of the fire and the fire alarms didn't go off, according to Michael Lenson, one of the displaced residents. But he was awake so he banged on his neighbors' doors to alert them.

Lenson and other neighbors helped a 90-year-old woman escape before firefighters arrived, according to neighbors. She was taken to the hospital to be treated for leg injuries sustained from her drop to the ground, but she's expected to be okay, according to fire officials.

"She kicked out her screen, her window screen, and then she hung her leg out and we grabbed it, and we helped carry her down," Lenson said. "She kind of jumped and we caught her. She was kind of hurt and she went to the ambulance, and that's all I know so far."

Another neighbor who helped the elderly woman down said she jumped out the window.

"I run out, and I ring everyone’s doorbell to get them out, and the woman in the apartment where it started, she was – we had to catch her," resident Matt Creegan said. "She had to jump out the window, we had to catch her."

Another man, 28, who helped wake up neighbors by knocking on doors injured his shoulder in the process, but he told NBC Connecticut that he hasn't yet sought medical care.

Fire officials did not identify either of the injured parties.

It's unclear where the fire started.

The apartment building is located on a steep, narrow cul-de-sac and the apartments affected in the fire were on a hairpin turn, making access difficult for the fire trucks.

The American Red Cross responded to help displaced residents, one of whom said he just moved in Thursday and lost everything.

The fire remains under investigation and the cause has not been determined at this time.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Colleagues Talk Texas Doc's Ebola]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:34:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/072714+Brantly+family.jpg

A relief group official says two American aid workers have tested positive for the Ebola virus while working to combat an outbreak of the deadly disease at a hospital in Liberia.

Ken Isaacs, a vice president of Samaritan's Purse, told The Associated Press on Sunday that 33-year-old Dr. Kent Brantly was stable and in very serious condition.

Brantly is the medical director for the group's Ebola care center on the outskirts of the Liberian capital of Monrovia and has been diagnosed with the very disease he was trying to help fight.

Isaacs identified the second American, Nancy Writebol, as a worker with an allied aid group SIM, or Serving in Mission, which runs the hospital. He said she was in stable and serious condition.

He said both Americans have since been isolated and are under intensive treatment.

Friends of Brantly told NBC 5 he is not only  a great person but is also a great doctor.

“Kent is a humble family man, soft-spoken yet deep thoughts and very intelligent,” said Jason Brewington, a friend and colleague from John Peter Smith Hospital.

Brewington helped supervise Brantly during his four–year residency in maternal health and family medicine at JPS Hospital in Fort Worth. But, their story doesn’t start there. The men’s wives were friends years before the Brantlys moved to North Texas. Brewington describes his friend as man devoted to the Lord.

“In this case when you’re called to do something, to go somewhere, you have two options — either to answer that call or not,” Brewington said.

Brantly, a father of two, answered. Brewington said he worked on various missions all across the world but most recently worked in Haiti, Nigeria and Tanzania.  

“He and his wife, I think before they even met, knew they wanted to do missions, and they have always lived their lives with that in mind at some point they would be on the mission field in a hospital doing what no one else wants to do,” Brewington said.

“That’s a calling not everyone has — it’s a passion that not everyone has and I’m glad to be a part of Kent and Amber’s family in that regard.”

At the Southside Church of Christ where the Brantly Family are members, Brantly has been added to the prayer list.

“When we heard about the fact that he had come down with the virus we were all very touched, and one of the first things that we do is get him on a prayer list because we believe the avenue for this healing of this particular virus, which there is no cure for, is God," said Keith Crow, member of Southside Church of Christ.

"God is going to have to pull him through it."

<![CDATA[SoCal Lightning Kills 1, Injures 8]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:03:53 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/venice-beach-lightning-sand.jpg

A 20-year-old man who died in the hospital after being struck by lightning at Venice Beach on Sunday has been identified, officials said. Seven other beachgoers were also hospitalized, including one with critical injuries.

Nick Fagnano, of Los Angeles, died at Marina Del Rey Hospital, according to information provided from the hospital to the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.

The victims were in or near the water next to the pier when the bolts touched down about 2:20 p.m., the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

"All of a sudden it was the loudest thunder I've ever heard. It was like a scene out of 'Jaws.' All the mothers were going into grab their kids to drag them out of the water," said witness Joe Doro.

Thirteen people who were all in or near the water when the bolts touched down were checked out by firefighters at the scene. Eight of them were taken to hospitals, including seven adults and a 15-year-old, the LAFD said.

A swimmer who was released from the hospital Sunday night said he doesn't remember the lightning strike, but recalls being rescued by friends from the water after suddenly losing consciousness.

"The next thing you know I was struggling to get my head back above the water," said the swimmer, who identified himself only as Paul. "Thank God they were brave enough to just jump in and not hesitate."

"I understand one person didn't make it. I just want to say that my thoughts go out to that person's family," Paul added.

A video taken at the scene shows the frantic moments when rescuers pulled another person who appeared to be unconscious out of the water.

A beachgoer who was about 50 yards away from the pier said he felt a jolt of electricity from his feet to the top of his head when the lightning struck.

"We all got up off the ground, and we were just amazed by what had happened," Eric Amparan said. "We saw some commotion by the waterline, and another person was struck by the lightning, and he was unconscious lying on the beach. The lifeguards were already there doing CPR on him."

Witnesses said the clap of thunder sounded like an explosion.

"A flash and simultaneously the loudest clap of thunder I’ve ever heard in my life, because it was so close. I thought it was like a bomb, almost," said witness Ned Walker.

On Santa Catalina Island, a 57-year-old man who was on an Avalon golf course was also struck by lightning. He was hospitalized in stable condition, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said. He was expected to survive.

In Redondo Beach, a home and car parked in its driveway in the 1600 block of Haynes Lane were damaged by a bolt of lightning. No one there was hurt.

As of 11 p.m. Sunday, hundreds of Southern California Edison customers in Redondo Beach were without power. The utility said it hopes to have power restored by 6 a.m. Monday.

The lightning strikes occurred as a thunderstorm hit the island, causing minor flooding and setting two small fires in the brushy backcountry that were quickly doused.

Monsoon conditions moving in from Arizona were expected to bring small amounts of rain -- up to a quarter-inch -- all throughout Los Angeles County through the evening, according to David Sweet, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

“There is that potential for brief heavy amounts,” Sweet said of the rain. “In most places it will be small.”

In Avalon, about two-thirds of an inch was recorded in about 30 minutes, weather officials said. One man was apparently injured in a lightning strike and minor flooding reported in the area, according to wire reports.

After a cloudy night, the sun was expected to be out again Monday. Temperatures were expected in the mid to upper 70s inland areas and 80s and 90s inland.

Weather officials said the rainfall was too localized to make any dent in the state's ongoing drought crisis.

Kate Larsen and Gadi Schwartz contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: @Venice311 via Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[Lightning Strike Causes House Fire]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 07:57:46 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Enfield+fire+house.jpg

Severe weather in Enfield Sunday night left six people displaced after lightning set their home on fire.

The home at 97 Prospect St. caught fire around 7:30 p.m., according to firefighters. It took 34 firefighters about 40 minutes to get the blaze under control.

Emma Jones, who lives in the home, described the incident.

“All of a sudden I heard this big boom and it sounded like something went right through the house,” she said. “So we're sitting there watching TV, fifteen minutes later the neighbors bang on the door, the house is on fire, the house is on fire!”

Two people were transported with minor injuries. The American Red Cross is on scene assisting those displaced.

Fire officials also confirmed the severe weather had crews were responding to various reports of trees and wires down across town. A micro-burst on Taylor Road sent trees falling onto the road, leaving only one lane open to traffic.

There were various other incidents throughout town, and at one point at least 15% of the town was without power, according to the CL&P website. Officials in the area are asking residents to avoid traveling the roads tonight.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Uber Driver Arrested After Assault]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 20:01:57 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/police-lights-night-shutterstock_54084688.jpg

Police have made an arrest after a woman claimed an Uber cab driver sexually assaulted her earlier this month.

Police arrested 31-year-old Reshad Chakari of Alexandria, Virginia, and charged him with second-degree sexual abuse.

On July 20, police had responded to the 1400 block of Rhode Island Ave., NW, where a woman reported that an Uber Cab driver had sexually assaulted her. According to the police report, the woman said Chakari touched her while she was sleeping in the car.

"Rider safety is Uber's #1 priority. We take reports like this seriously and are treating the matter with the utmost urgency and care," said Taylor Bennett, spokesperson for Uber Technologies. "It is also our policy to immediately suspend a driver’s account following any serious allegations, which we have done. We stand ready to assist authorities in any investigation.”

Stay with News4 and NBCWashington for more on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Wedding Photos Lead to Rap Cameo]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 06:49:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/195*120/we+still+coming.jpg

After Amy and Ian said "I do," they never thought their wedding photo shoot would go viral.

"It just started taking on a life of its own," said the groom's mother, Suzanne Hicks. " It was like a domino effect."

The groom, originally from South Florida, and his bride from Michigan wed during Memorial Day weekend in Detroit. The couple and their bridal party quickly gained fame after a photo of them went viral, accompanied by a message snapshot where a woman texted a wedding photo shoot invite to the wrong person. The stranger then responded, "We Still Coming".

"The 'we still coming' text message was like a hoax, it was fake. Somebody somehow got a hold of this picture -- we don't know where or how -- and they put this fake text with it," said Hicks.

Although the text is fake, there is a real story behind the photo. The best man says they stopped at Michigan Central Station to take wedding pictures and upon arriving a rap group named 7262 was filming a music video at the same spot.

"We were in a good mood, we were all celebrating the wedding and we went over there to say what's up," said Mike Maloney, the best man. "They said they were filming. We said let's hear the song and then one thing led to another, we made friends with them, started dancing with them, and the next thing we know we're on all these internet sites."

Since its July 1st upload, 7262's "Anthem" video already has nearly 200,000 views. The best man says it was an unexpected collaboration; however, they were practicing their moves prior to the video anyway.

"I mean, we were definitely ready to dance cause we were there for a wedding. So we were ready to dance for the reception so we were already working on our moves before that," said Maloney.

Photo Credit: Adam Sparkes]]>
<![CDATA[Severe Storm Caused Damage in Enfield ]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 07:50:26 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Crescent+beach+drive+in+enfield.jpg

A series of severe storms moved through parts of the state on Sunday evening, just hours after a confirmed tornado touched down in Wolcott and caused significant damage in Enfield.

The storms came down from Massachusetts and moved into Enfield, Suffield and then headed southeast around 7 p.m.

In Enfield, a microburst caused damage on Taylor Road, according to police, and brought down branches and wires. 

A tree also came down onto a home on Crescent Beach Drive and the house has been deemed uninhabitable.

Lightning struck a home on Prospect Avenue, causing a fire.

The storms brought heavy wind and hail to the eastern part of the state. Hail was reported in Ellington and Vernon.

Connecticut Light & Power reported more than 9,300 customers without power during the height of the storms.

Connecticut could see another round of severe weather on Monday. 

Share your severe weather photos with us at shareit@nbcconnecticut.com


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Bristol Police Thwart Burglar]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 17:28:03 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/bristol+citgo+post.jpg

Bristol police have arrested a man accused of trying to burglarize a convenience store early Sunday.

Police say just after midnight an officer was checking the security of the Citgo Gas Station/Convenience Store at 551 Farmington Ave when he spotted a man fleeing from the building. The officer observed the man with a crowbar and gave chase, believing the man was trying to burglarize the establishment.

More officers responded and the suspect was detained, according to police. A K9 officer and his dog found the crowbar under a nearby car. Police say they also found fresh damage to the business suggesting someone attempted to force entry.

The suspect was identified as 53-year-old Juan Gonzales, of no certain address. Gonzales was arrested and charged with third-degree criminal attempt at burglary, sixth-degree larceny, third-degree criminal mischief and possession of burglary tools. He is being held on $40,000 bond and is expected to be arraigned at Bristol Superior Court on Monday.

<![CDATA[22 Wounded, Boy Killed in Chicago Weekend Shootings]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 18:50:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/23_SHOOTINGS_7-77-14.jpg

Editor's Note: NBC Chicago includes shootings that took place between 6 p.m. Friday and 12 a.m. Monday in the weekend violence report.

Shootings Saturday and Sunday increased the total number of people shot in Chicago over the weekend to 23.

Casualties over the weekend include a 13-year-old boy who was shot and killed at about 6 p.m. Friday in the 700 block of South California Avenue. Six others were also wounded in a shooting that witnesses say was a drive-by.

"As a result again of guns being introduced into what otherwise would have been a fist fight, we have seven kids shot ... and one of theme dead," Chicago Police superintendent Garry McCarthy said Sunday.

"At the end of the day if we stem the flow of guns coming in and we put people in jail for possession of firearms, we'll see the murder rate and violent in this city plummet."

A 3-year-old was also critically wounded Friday night when he was shot at about 10:15 p.m. in the 4400 block of South Sacramento Avenue. The bullet struck the young boy in his abdomen and exited through his hip, officials said. Police say the child's mother's boyfriend was the intended target.

Alger Sanchez, 19, and Anton Aseves, 22, were charged Sunday night with aggravated battery-discharge of a firearm and two felony counts of attempted murder in the first degree.

Nine shootings were reported Saturday afternoon through Sunday morning.

A 32-year-old man was grazed in the neck by a bullet 8 a.m. Sunday on the 2900 block of North Milwaukee Avenue. The victim told police that he was shot by an unknown person in a grey vehicle. He took himself to an area hospital where he was listed in good condition. Police say the victim has documented gang ties. No one is in custody.

At about 3:50 a.m. Sunday, a man was shot while sitting in the back of a car outside a party at 58th and Wolcott. Police say two people began arguing outside of the car, and one of them fired a gun, striking the individual inside the car. The victim was taken to a local hospital where he was listed in critical condition.

Police say a woman and her boyfriend were walking out of a nightclub in the 100 block of West Huron when they became involved in an altercation with another man. The boyfriend produced a gun, which he dropped during the struggle, according to police. The woman picked up the gun and place it in her purse, but was shot in the leg when her boyfriend reached for it. She's listed in stable condition at a local hospital.

At about 4:40 a.m., police say a man walked into Christ Hospital with a bullet wound to his right ankle. The victim says he was walking down the street in the 5600 block of South Emerald Street when he was approached by two males who asked if he was from the neighborhood. He said he kept walking, heard shots, and felt the pain in his ankle. Nobody is in custody for the shooting.

A 27-year-old man walking in the 2600 block of West Augusta at about 11:15 p.m. Saturday says he suddenly felt pain and discovered he was shot in the hip. He took himself to a local hospital where he was listed in stable condition. Police say he is a documented gang member. Nobody is in custody for the shooting.

A 15-year-old boy was shot in the 133rd block of South Eberhart at about 10 p.m. The victim says he was walking down the street, heard shots and felt pain in his neck. He was listed in stable condition.

A 36-year-old man is listed in stable condition after he was shot near the Eisenhower Expressway at about 8:45 p.m. Saturday. The victim was talking to a woman at a gas station in the 600 block of South Independence when he says an individual approached the pair with a gun and announced a robbery. The man says he tried to knock the gun away but it discharged, striking him in the stomach. The man drove to the highway ramp where the was met by EMS. Nobody is in custody for the shooting and attempted robbery.

A 24-year-old man is listed in stable condition after he was shot in the calf at about 1:30 p.m. in the 1700 block of West Farwell Avenue. Police say the victim is a documented gang member with a felony conviction. Nobody is in custody for the shooting.

Police say the victim of a shooting at about 12:45 p.m. Saturday is not cooperating with investigators. The 26-year-old man was sitting the driver's seat of a car at 52nd and Hoyne when he was shot. He's listed in serious condition with a wound to the chest after a friend drove him to a local hospital.