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North Adams Firefighters Rescue Man From Gorge

By Tammy Daniels
iBerkshires Staff

Firefighter Matthew Davis calls down to Taylor Sheldon as he puts on a safety harness.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Firefighters rescued a 21-year-old man Thursday night who became trapped in a gorge at Natural Bridge State Park.

Taylor Sheldon of North Adams had been swimming with friends at the park when the group headed back up toward where their car was parked at the Franklin Street gate. Sheldon, however, climbed up through a waterfall and became separated from the group, said Officer Kyle Cahoon.

The found him nearly an hour later stuck in the dark in the rushing water at the bottom of the 60-foot gorge. He couldn't make his way back down in the dark and couldn't get out from the top.

Firefighter Matthew Davis took the lead in the rescue as a member of the Western Massachusetts Regional Technical Rescue Team. Fire Director Stephen Meranti said the other firefighters were also trained in rope rescue at an operational level.

A harnessed Davis worked his way through the bushes at the top of the gorge down to spot where he could speak to Sheldon as other first-responders watched from the bridge over the chasm.

There was difficulty in communicating with Sheldon over the roar of the water and flashlights were used to help orient him toward Davis.

"Down in gorge, it's not conducive to sound to begin with plus the water, it amplifies and echoes in there," said Sgt. James Burdick.

Two cruisers were turned to put headlights on the area so the rescue team could see to gear up. Sheldon was dropped a harness to put on to aid in the rescue and a ladder was lowered down to him.

"You want to pick the safest way to pull him out of there and it really was by ladder," Meranti said. "You lower the ladder down and let him climb up ... if he was unconscious or anything like that we would have put him in a Stokes basket and use a really intricate hauling system get him out of there."

Sheldon was alert and conscious able to climb up the ladder. But he was chilled from standing in the water for nearly two hours.

He was, however, released to family after being checked out by emergency medical technicians.

"It worked great with the police officers here, the ambulance EMTs were right in with us," said Meranti. "Everybody worked well together."

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Williamstown Motorcyclist Struck by Dump Truck

By Stephen Dravis
iBerkshires Staff

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A Williamstown man was transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield on Tuesday evening after a two-vehicle collision on Curran Highway (Route 8) near Hodges Cross Road, police said.

Matthew Wilson, 24, was taken by North Adams Ambulance Service to Pittsfield after his motorcycle was struck by a dump truck driven by a New York man, according to Police Sgt. Jason Wood.

Wilson, who was aboard a 2015 Honda CBR, was traveling south, as was the 2000 Ford F450 driven by John Williams Jr. of Troy, N.Y., Wood said.

"[Williams] stated that he was looking to turn into Walmart," Wood said. "He missed that [right hand turn] and then made an abrupt left toward Hodges Cross Road, hitting the motorcycle, which at that point was roughly parallel.”

Williams initially was cited for an unsafe lane change, Wood said. After further investigation, he was arrested and charged with unlawful operation of a motor vehicle, operating with a suspended license in Massachusetts, failure to use care when turning and an unsafe lane change.

Williams was released later Tuesday evening by the Clerk of the Courts, Wood said.

Wood said police have yet to determine the owner of the Ford dump truck, which bore paper license plates from New York.

Both the truck and motorcycle were removed from the scene by Dean's Quality Auto and Truck.

The initial call reporting the accident was received by North Adams Police at 7:18 p.m., Wood said. The North Adams Fire Department and Adams Police Department assisted at the scene.

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Adams Couple Injured in Five-Car Accident

By Jack Guerino
iBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A five-car accident on Curran Highway on Sunday afternoon sent three people to the hospital, two with serious injuries.
 
Police Sgt. James Burdick said driver Anthony McBride, 83, and his wife, Ruth McBride, 84, of Adams,  were traveling north on Curran Highway around 1:40 p.m. in a 2004 Pontiac Vibe. McBride, former Adams town moderator and longtime businessman, made a left turn to go onto Old State Street to the secondary entrance of Walmart but failed to stop.
 
Burdick said McBride pulled into the path of Adam Bethoney, 28, of Stamford, Vt., who was heading south in a 2010 GMC pickup truck. Burdick said Bethoney tried to avoid the Vibe but the two vehicles collided, sent the McBride vehicle into the Mohawk Auto Center parking lot, then back into the southbound lanes, and over the median, where he collided with 67-year-old Richard Wade of North Adams who was northbound in a 2010 Chevrolet Malibu.
 
"Mr. Bethoney attempted to avoid the accident but was unable to do so, and the two motor vehicles collided which spun the McBride vehicle and it collided with one of the vehicles in the Mohawk parking lot," Burdick said. "It crossed the southbound lane, jumped the median and hit the Wade vehicle."
 
Burdick said he was behind Wade in his cruiser when the accident occurred. 
 
Two cars at the Mohawk Auto Center were damaged, he said. Even though they were parked, they are still part of the accident.
 
"It is a five-car accident, not two because two of the cars were parked at the Mohawk Auto Center for sale," he said. "They are still damaged and are still accident cars and the McBride vehicle did cross the median strip and did hit the Wade vehicle in the rear. Slight as it may have been, it was touched and is part of the accident."
 
Burdick said there are charges pending against McBride. 
 
Burdick said the McBrides' condition is unknown. Anthony McBride is currently at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield and Ruth McBride is at Baystate in Springfield. Bethoney was transported to BMC's North Adams campus, where he was treated and released.
 
Burdick said the McBride vehicle is a total loss, the Bethoney vehicle sustained heavy front-end damage but can be repaired, the Wade vehicle received no notable damage, one of the parked cars received some front-end damage and the other parked car received some paint damage from flying debris.
 
"The truck didn’t hit it," Burdick said. "It was all of the flying debris, dirt, rocks and pieces of the two cars."
 
North Adams Ambulance, Adams Ambulance, the North Adams Fire department and Adams police department were also on scene.
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Hoosac Valley Valedictorian Dies After Bicycling Accident

Staff Reports

Mary Wilk giving her valedictory address in 2012.

CHESHIRE, Mass. — A Hoosac Valley High School valedictorian died Saturday, four days after being struck by an elderly driver while riding her bicycle in Rhode Island.

Mary E. Wilk, 22, was hit while riding along Route 1 near Jerry Brown Farm Road in South Kingstown, R.I., on July 26.  

According to South Kingstown Police, she was northbound on her bike when she was struck from behind by a car operated by 88-year-old Claire Archambault of South Kingstown.

She died at Rhode Island Hospital on Saturday, July 30, as the result of the injuries sustained from the crash.

Wilk, the daughter of Joseph and Nancy Wilk, was valedictorian of the Hoosac Valley class of 2012 and active in sports and clubs at the school. She was class president and member of the student council, and was involved in track, cross country and the Nordic ski teams, and basketball and soccer.

She graduated from the University of Vermont with a bachelor of science in microbiology and was currently a research assistant at Miriam Hospital in Providence, R.I.

Police say the accident is still under investigation and that drugs or alcohol were not a factor in the crash.

This is the second tragedy to strike Hoosac's class of 2012 in a week. Wilk's classmate Ethan Piaggi-Cornell was killed in a motor vehicle accident on Thursday on Route 8 in Adams.

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Superior Court Briefs: July 27

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, July 27.
 
Sean Matthews, 25, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of armed robbery and intimidation of a witness.
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent three to three and a half years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. Matthews robbed K&K Liquors in Pittsfield on June 28, 2016.
 
Emmet Harvin, 40, of New Ashford was sentenced to concurrent five to eight years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and single counts of trafficking in cocaine, trafficking in oxycodone, distribution of heroin - his second offense - conspiracy to violate drug laws, and possession of a firearm with prior offenses for violent crimes.
 
He was given concurrent time at the Berkshire County House of Correction on two counts of illegal possession of a firearm and improper storage of a firearm.
 
Harvin pleaded guilty to the charges on March 4, 2016. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant on his home on October 9, 2012.
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News Headlines
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Williamstown Elementary Challenged Again on Preschool Question
State Rep Candidates Battle It Out In Pittsfield Gazette Debate
North Adams Council Balks on Property Purchase
State Senate Candidate Canning-Wilson Opens Headquarters
Adams Prudential Committee Says No Issues With Water
Biz Briefs: Berkshire East Opens New Children's Aerial Adventure Park
Our Lady of Fatima Statue Stopping in Berkshires; Vigil Set at St. Elizabeth's
Berkshires Beat: Youth Works Summer Program Recognizes Teens
North Berkshire Goes Back to School

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