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Lanesborough Police Investigating Crash That Killed New Ashford Woman

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Police are investigating a one-car accident that killed a 51-year-old New Ashford woman on Thursday night.

Sheryl A. Surprenant of State Road in New Ashford was driving northbound on Route 7 when her car crossed lanes and went off the road, crashing through the sign for the former Lamp Post Motel, on the southbound side, said police.

Officers responded at  9:22 p.m. to the report of a vehicle off the road near the motel on Route 7. The Chrysler had flipped and was lodged in trees and brush.

"The vehicle was on its roof and in the trees. She was pronounced dead on the scene," said Sgt. Gary Kirby on Wednesday. "It was a very difficult extrication by Lanesborough Fire and EMS."

A passerby, who works in the tree removal business, reported the accident and began clearing brush until emergency responders arrived. Speed was a factor based on evidence at the scene and a witness account, according to police, but the rest of the circumstances are still under investigation.

The accident caused some backed up traffic but the road remained open.

Kirby was not on the scene that night but Officers Brad Lepicier and Robert Moore, and Investigator Timothy Sorrell responded along with Lanesborough firefighters, emergency medical services, and County Ambulance. The Massachusetts State Police accident reconstruction team is assisting with the investigation.

Suprenant, a Pittsfield native, resided for many years in Southwick before returning to the area.


Pittsfield Police Locate Missing Man

Staff Reports
Update: Police say they've located Fields in Springfield.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police are searching for 62-year-old man, who was last seen in the middle of March.
Mark Fields of West Housatonic Street was reported missing on March 31, according to police. Fields does not drive and walks with a limp. He stands 5-feet 9-inches tall and weighs 160 pounds. He has brown eyes and gray hair.
Fields is known to visit area churches and food pantries. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact police at 413-448-9700.

Man Cited For Running Red Light In Crash Into Pittsfield Storefront

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police have cited the driver of the van than ran into a second street building for running a red light.
A Ford van driven by John Eckert crashed into J.M.S. Industrial Supply Wednesday morning after narrowly missing a collision with a Berkshire Regional Transit Authority bus. 
"After viewing the video tapes on the BRTA bus, he was found at fault for a red light violation," said Officer Michael Silver.
The officer said the BRTA van was heading east at the intersection when Eckert ran the red light as he was heading northbound. The two never collided but Eckert's effort to avoid that led to the crash.
"He swerved to miss [the van] and drove himself into the building," Silver said.

Original Post on Wednesday, March 25 at 12:07 p.m.

Pittsfield Accident Sends Van Into Fenn Street Building

A van involved in a motor vehicle accident smashed through the front door of J.M.S Supply on Fenn Street on Wednesday morning.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A motor vehicle accident at the corner of Second and Fenn streets sent a van smashing into the front of a hardware store.
The white van went through angled corner door of J.M.S. Industrial Supply at 289 Fenn, skimming a street light. The streetlight was ultimately pulled down as the van was towed from the scene by Sayers Auto Wrecking. 
The collision occurred just before 11 a.m. Police are still investigating the accident but say the Ford van operated by John Eckert was northbound before careening into the storefront.
Police say an eastbound Berkshire Regional Transit Authority van operated by Rebecca Whitaker was also involved in the accident but it is unclear exactly how. That van did not appear to have been damaged. 
No one was reported hurt but firefighters had to evacuate seven residents living in the building that runs along Second Street and utilities were shut off. Three people inside J.M.S. were evacuated as well. 
"We assisted in the evacuation of three people in the business," said Deputy Fire Chief Michael Polidoro. "The owner and two other people had to be extricated through the basement.
"The main door was obviously destroyed."
Polidoro said traffic would have to be rerouted around the intersection, particularly on the Fenn Street side, because the building's structure was compromised. Workers from the Department of Public Works helped with traffic control. 
"The road is going to have to be shut down on this side because of the potential collapse," he said.
City inspectors and the property manager were at the scene. Eversource was being contacted about restoring some electrical service to a section of the building.
"At this time, all the pieces have to come together [before people can go back in]," Polidoro said.
The property is owned by Alexander and Nancy Kolben of New York City, according to city records, and is valued at $168,500. The building has five residential units in addition to the storefront.

Pittsfield Police: Gun Found Near Reid Middle School

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police say guns and drugs were found laying on the ground behind Reid Middle School on Monday.
According to police, a resident was walking in Springside Park behind the school when he found what he thought was a bag of trash. However, once he looked inside he found a .22 caliber pistol, ammunition and drug paraphernalia.
"Based on the actions of the reporting party, once the bag was discovered it was never out of his control or accessible to any other party," said Police Chief Michael Wynn in a statement released on Wednesday.
"Given this fact and the initial assessment by the responding officer, it was determined that once the bag and its contents were secure no additional threat or connection existed with the school. At this time, this is being handled by our investigative units as a drug and larceny of a firearm case."
The resident was walking along the woodline, which is not a route typically traveled by students walking to and from school.
However, police are looking for more information regarding the situation. Anyone with information is asked to call the Pittsfield Police Department's Detective Bureau at 413-448-9705.
"This is in the hands of the police department. I am confident they will complete a thorough investigation," said Mayor Daniel Bianchi.

Four Injured, Pets Lost in Pittsfield Duplex Fire

Staff Reports
iBerkshires Staff

The home on Lincoln Street burned in the early hours.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — An early morning fire on Lincoln Street heavily damaged a duplex and injured four, including three firefighters.

One occupant of the home was taken by ambulance to Berkshire Medical Center for treatment of burns and smoke-related injuries. Two pets are also missing and another, a cat, died in the blaze.

Two firefighters suffered minor lacerations and another smoke inhalation; all three were treated at the scene.

The cause is under investigation by the Fire Investigation Unit, state fire marshal's office and the Police Detective Bureay.

City firefighters responded to the 2-alarm blaze with five engines and the ladder truck to the structure fire at about 4:13 a.m. According Deputy Chief Michael Polidoro, there was heavy fire extending to the second floor when fire units arrived on the scene.

It took 90 minutes to bring the fire under control. There is heavy fire damage in the front on both the first and second floors and smoke and heat damage to the rest of the building. The owner of the building lived on the first floor; a tenant on the second.

All of the occupants were displaced and the Red Cross was contacted to assist them.

Western Massachusetts Electric Co., Berkshire Gas and city inspectors assisted at the scene; Dalton Fire Department covered the city.

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