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Pittsfield Police: Reports Of Luring Attempts At Reid Proved False

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Reports that someone had been trying to lure Reid Middle School students into a van in March have proved to be false.
 
Police released a statement on Wednesday saying one of the alleged victims admitted the story was fake and no attempt had occurred.
 
On March 23, two girls reported that a man in a blue van attempted to lure them into it as they walked to school. The investigation "brought to light several inconsistencies in the victim's statements," police said. 
 
"When confronted with the contradictory evidence, one victim's family declined to participate in the investigation any further, and the other female declined to respond in a way that would explain why her story did not match contradictory evidence. At this time, it appears both reports were false and that there was no actual incident involving a blue van," police wrote in a statement.
 
Five days later another report was made by a juvenile man who reported that a man in a white pickup truck told him to get in as the student left the school. Again police found contradictory evidence and ultimately the alleged victim "admitted that the story was a fabrication and that no luring attempt had taken place."
 
The reports of some one trying to lure students trigger alarm among parents and school officials. The School Department issued a call asking for parents to pick up their children at the school and to be aware of the events. 
 
"In both cases, the members of the Pittsfield Public School system and the Pittsfield Police Department worked closely together to ensure the safety of our children and our community. Incidents of this nature are given the highest priority over other matters and require a great deal of our finite manpower resources to investigate. We would ask that parents of school age children take this opportunity to discuss the importance of being truthful when reporting incidents or interacting with the police," the statement reads.
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17-Year-Old Man Shot In Pittsfield

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A 17-year-old man was shot Sunday on Bartlett Avenue.
 
Police say the man was transported to Berkshire Medical Center for treatment of the non-life threatening injuries around 9:58 p.m. The victim is declining to cooperate with investigating officers, police said.
 
According to police logs, officers responded to reports of shots fired twice in the area Sunday. The first call was received shortly before 4 p.m. Pomeroy was closed by officers between East Street and East Housatonic Street. The 9:58 call was at the 100 block of Pomeroy and Bartlett, less than a block away on the other side of East Housatonic Street.
 
The shooting remains under investigation and police are asking anyone with information to call Det. Glenn Civello at 448-9705. 
 
"The investigation is active and on-going and we appreciate the cooperation we have received from the public so far," reads a statement from the Police Department.
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Adams Head-On Collision Results in Fatality

Staff Reports

ADAMS, Mass. — A 17-year-old North Adams man was killed in a head-on collision early Saturday evening on North Summer Street. Three other people were injured.

Zackary Decker, a student at Drury High School, suffered severe injuries to his head and neck after being ejected from vehicle he was in. He died shortly afterward at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield.

"It is with profound sadness that I write this letter to the community of the North Adams Public Schools," wrote Superintendent James Montepare on the  North Adams Public Schools' website on Monday. "Zackary Decker, a student at Drury High School, died as a result of injuries from an automobile accident Saturday evening. On behalf of the district I extend our sympathies to his family, friends and classmates."

It was also stated that grief counseling and support services were being provided to any students or staff members in need. Information on grief and trauma was also provided for parents and students on the website. Montepare said there would be a team of school counselors and that the North Adams Police Department would ensure that "school is a safe environment for your children."

The crash was reported at 5:14 p.m. on Saturday, near the intersection with Staple Street.

According to police, Gregory Bartlett of Lime Street was southbound on North Summer in his 2014 Mazda when James Morandi of Hall Street, North Adams, veered into his path in a 1999 Toyota Corolla.

Decker's name and condition were not immediately available on Saturday night; police confirmed there was a fatality on Sunday. Two others were taken by ambulance to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield and the fourth was taken by a relative.

The state police accident reconstruction team and Crime Scene Services were requested. The accident is under investigation by Adams Police and state police detectives.

Morandi is a student at Berkshire Arts & Technology Public Charter School; his other passenger has not been identified. Bartlett was the sole occupant in his vehicle.

Officer Michael Wandrei said charges are expected to be filed once the investigation is completed. "We have a lot to go through first," he said.

Adams Ambulance Service, North Adams Ambulance Service and the Adams Fire Department responded to the scene. That section of road was closed until the vehicles were removed at about 8:30 p.m.

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Superior Court Briefs: April 25 - April 28

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Monday, April 25.
 
Roscoe Adams, 36, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of assault and battery on a disabled person, caretaker abuse on a disabled person, and misleading a police officer or other person.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. Adams is accused of assaulting a student and then giving false statements to court officials while employed by Eagleton School. The assault allegedly occurred on June 10, 2013. 
 
Debra Davis, 41, of Great Barrington had a not guilty plea entered on her behalf on a single count of intimidation of a witness.
 
She was released on personal recognizance. Davis is accused of intimidating a witness in a pending criminal investigation while employed by Eagleton School. The incident allegedly occurred between January 1, 2016 and January 13, 2016.
 
Leonel Osmin Olmedo, 26, of North Adams had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of indecent assault and battery on a person who has attained age 14 and a single count of rape.
 
He was released on $15,000 bail. He is currently being held without bail by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency in other pending matters. Olmedo is accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old woman in North Adams on January 27, 2016 and February 8, 2016.
 
Jonathan Pereira, 24, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of armed assault with intent to rob, two counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon, two counts of assault and battery, and single counts of kidnapping, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and intimidation of a witness.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $30,000 cash or $300,000 surety bail. The charges stem from an incident in Lee and Pittsfield involving two men, ages 31 and 34, on January 26, 2016.
 
Lynda Williamson, 34, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws, and possession of heroin.
 
She was released on personal recognizance. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at her home on March 4, 2016.
 
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Tuesday, April 26.
 
Jerry Colon Jr., 28, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to four counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws, three counts of distribution of cocaine, and single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of cocaine.
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent two to four years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the distribution of cocaine, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, and conspiracy charges. He was given concurrent time at the Bershire County House of Correction on the possession of cocaine charge. The incidents happened in Pittsfield between May 12, 2015 and May 21, 2015.
 
Juan Lopez-Lucas, 34, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, assault and battery on a disabled person, and caretaker abuse on a disabled person.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. Lopez-Lucas is accused of assaulting a student while working at Eagleton School between August 1, 2015 and August 31, 2015.
 
Peter Meadow, 51, of Lenox had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, assault and battery on a disabled person, and caretaker abuse on a disabled person. 
 
He was released on personal recognizance. Meadow is accused of assaulting a student while employed at Eagleton School between December 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015.
 
Brian Puntin, 48, of Lenox had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of assault and battery on a disabled person, and caretaker abuse on a disabled person.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. Puntin is accused of assaulting a student while employed at Eagleton School between September 1, 2015 and September 30, 3015.
 
Jay Strezynski, 25, of Lee had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of conspiracy to violate drug laws.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. Strezynski is accused with conspiring with others to sell marijuana on January 25, 2016.
 
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Thursday, April 28.
 
Theodore LaBonte, 22, of North Egremont pleaded guilty to two counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon, two counts of conspiracy to commit armed assault with intent to rob, two counts of conspiracy to commit assault by means of a dangerous weapon, and single counts of kidnapping while being armed, intimidation of a witness, illegal possession of a rifle or shotgun, conspiracy to commit armed robbery while masked, and conspiracy to commit kidnapping while being armed with a firearm. 
 
He was ordered to serves concurrent two-year sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the kidnapping, intimidation of a witness, and assault by means of a dangerous weapon charges. He was given 18-months on the illegal possession of a rifle or shot fund. Two counts of armed assault with intent to rob, and single counts of armed robbery while masked and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony were dismissed.
 
In total, LaBonte will serve three and a half years at the Berkshire County House of Correction. The charges stem from an incident in Great Barrington involving two men who are now ages 20 and 21 on August 20, 2014.
 
Ian Lang, 20, of Turners Falls had a not guilty plea on a single count of perjury.
 
Lang is accused of giving false testimony on December 18, 2014 related to the investigation of the death of Anthony Gamache, 29, of Goshen. Gamache was shot in the leg in the Big Y parking lot in Pittsfield on November 18, 2014 and died the next day. 
 
Lang was released on personal recognizance.
 
Richard Martel, 26, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon on a pregnant victim, and aggravated assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $10,000 cash or $100,000 surety bail. The incident allegedly occurred in Pittsfield on February 29, 2016 and involved a 36-year-old woman.
 
Jose Valqui, 51, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, assault and battery on a disabled person, and caretaker abuse of a disabled person.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. Valqui is accused of assaulting a student while employed at Eagleton School on May 4, 2015.
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Mount Washington Man Dies After Vehicle Collided With Train

Staff Reports
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. - A Mount Washington man died Thursday after his vehicle was struck by a train.
 
According to the district attorney's office, Gary Cane died in the collision. His vehicle was struck by a Housatonic Rail Road train at the crossing on Route 23, near the intersection of West Street.
 
Police Chief William Walsh said the crash happened at 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon. Upon arrival police and fire officials determined "a late model Jeep Liberty had been traveling westbound on Rt.23 and approached a grade-level railroad crossing, which had its lights and arms activated indicating an approaching train." 
 
"The vehicle apparently struck one of the arms at the crossing and a northbound, 14-car freight train operated by the Housatonic Railroad Company, struck the vehicle," Walsh wrote in a statement. "The operator of the vehicle, a 76-year-old male from New York state, was pronounced dead at the scene."
 
The circumstances around the crash are unclear. But, the Berkshire Edge is reporting that the man may have been "trying to beat the train" through the crossing.
 
The investigation is being conducted by Great Barrington Police and Fire Department and state Police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office.
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News Headlines
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St. Stan's Students Walk to Raise Money for Water Project
Lanesborough Looks to Join Berkshire Mosquito Control Project
Talk to Your Adult Children About Smart Financial Moves
Pittsfield Approves Extending Tax Breaks For Beacon Cinema
Mister Tire Closing After 38 Years in North Adams
Lanesborough Chief Sorrell Receives High Marks in Performance Review
Cheshire Planning Board Holds Off on Dollar General Permit
North Adams Housing Authority Receives Favorable Audit
Adams-Cheshire Left With One Candidate for Interim Superintendent

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