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Three-Car Accident Closes Mohawk Trail

Staff Reports

FLORIDA, Mass. — A three-vehicle accident involving a state police cruiser closed Route 2 for nearly two hours on Thursday morning. No one was seriously injured.

The accident occurred at about 7:18 a.m. on the Mohawk Trail near the Savoy line, according to David Procopio, state police director of media communications, when an eastbound dump truck crossed the center line and hit a westbound 2006 Chevrolet Silverado pickup towing a Bobcat on a trailer.

"A trooper from the Shelburne Falls barracks was behind the trailer with the Bobcat," said Procopio. It was not clear at this time whether the cruiser collided with the trailer or was struck by one of the trucks.

He said the preliminary investigation is pointing to a possible stuck accelerator on the 2014 Ford dump truck; the driver was trying to unstick it when he lost control and veered over the center line.

Procopio said it was not clear at this time whether the cruiser collided with the trailer or one of the trucks.

The trooper was taken to Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield with minor injuries. He is reportedly conscious and alert.

The driver of the dump truck, a 23-year-old man from Turners Falls also incurred minor injuries and was take to the North Adams campus of Berkshire Medical Center. The driver of the pickup, a 40-year-old man from Erving was not injured.

The highway was reopened by 9:30 a.m.

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Tractor-Trailers Stuck Under North Adams Trestle Twice in One Month

Staff Reports
A stuck truck closed off traffic on Church Street on Monday.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A section of Church Street was blocked off for nearly three hours on Monday afternoon after yet another tractor-trailer got stuck under the railroad trestle.

A trailer hauling 25,000 pounds of machined metal, reportedly for a Disney ride, became wedged under the trestle at about 4:15 p.m. after leaving Morrison Berkshire on Church Street. The delivery was on its way to Minneapolis.

Traffic was blocked between Davenport Street and Ashland Street. The truck was pulled out from under the trestle shortly before 7 but it was going to take some time to stabilize it before Joseph Dean of Dean's Quality Auto & Truck Repair could remove it from the scene.

The top of the trailer was peeled back nearly halfway and Dean said it had broken in half. Air was let out of the tires and the cargo removed by Morrison Berkshire before an attempt was made to pull it out.

Pan Am Railways also had a representative at the scene and all train traffic was halted until the trestle could be inspected.

The trestle dates back at least a century and its clearance is posted at 12-foot-6 on the south end and 12-foot on the north. Signs warn drivers of the approach but several trucks seem to get stuck under it every year, and occasionally under the Ashland Street trestle. One of the most recent incidents occurred on July 30.

A neighbor said he frequently sees trucks trying to back up on the south side. Drivers don't seem to realize they are not going to fit under until too late — or that the slope on the north side of the bridge may be a factor.

The semi left the scene shortly after 7 p.m. and was slowly escorted to Dean's on Curran Highway.

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Pittsfield Shooting Suspect Pleads Not Guilty to Murder

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The suspect in the shooting murder of 18-year-old Keenan S. Pellot Jr. has has pleaded not guilty to murder charges.

Thomas Lee Newman Jr., 18, was arraigned on Monday afternoon in Berkshire Superior Court before Judge John Agostini.

Newman entered not-guilty pleas to single counts of murder, armed assault with intent to commit murder and illegal possession of a firearm, rifle or shotgun.

He is accused of killing Pellot and seriously wounding a 17-year-old boy in a midday shooting on Tyler Street on July 31, 2015.

The shooting set off a massive manhunt for Newman, who was being described as "armed and dangerous." He was arrested two days later in Utica, N.Y., and declined to fight extradition back to Pittsfield.

The investigation is being conducted by members of the Pittsfield Police Department, state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office and state police Crime Scene Services and Firearms Identification sections.

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Superior Court Briefs: Aug. 24 - Aug. 27

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Monday, August 24.
William Soper, 33, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to four counts of rape of a child with force, and single counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, and intimidation of a witness.
He was ordered to serve 10 to 12 years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the rape of a child charges. He was given concurrent nine and a half to 10 years on the other charges.
The incidents occurred in Pittsfield between December 1, 2011 and January 31, 2012 and involved a 12-year-old girl.
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Wednesday, August 26.
Daniel Chao, 39, of North Adams pleaded guilty to single counts of fraudulent use of a medical marijuana registration car or cultivation registration, and cultivation of marijuana.
He was ordered to serve one to two years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the fraudulent use of a medical marijuana registration card or cultivation registration charge and a concurrent one-day sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the other charge.
Chao fraudulently used a medical marijuana registration card to cultivate marijuana in North Adams on October 9, 2013. Single counts of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of tetrahydrocannabinols with intent to distribute were dismissed by the state.
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Thursday, August 27.
Reymon Delacruz-Batista, 26, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of trafficking in cocaine, possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and illegal ownership of a firearm.
He was released on $10,000 cash or $100,000 surety bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant on his home on June 18, 2015.
Jose Liriano-Vasquez, 29, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of heroin, and possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card.
He was released on $2,500 cash or $25,000 surety bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant on his home.
Shaun Morton, 45, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute - his second offense - drug violation in a park zone, and possession of Suboxone.
He was released on $5,000 cash or $15,000 surety bail. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on June 11, 2015.


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Lanesborough Police Warn Of Home Breaks

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Police are investigating a series of home break ins that occurred on Thursday and Friday.
Police Chief Timothy Sorrell said on Monday there were five successful break ins and one attempt. The thieves are entering through windows during the work day and stealing cash and coins.
"We had an attempt on Wednesday, a successful one on Thursday, and on Friday is when they hit us," Sorrell said. "They are cutting screens and getting in."
Wednesday's attempted break in on Summer Street at 9 a.m.was thwarted by an alarm system. On Thursday, a home on Scott Road was broken into and then four homes on North Main Street were broken into on Friday. All of the break ins occurred during the work day, with Friday's happening in the afternoon.
"It was in the 500-600 block of North Main," the chief said. "These homes are right on the main road."
On Friday, Police issued a reverse 911 call and a Facebook post warning residents of the break-ins. On Saturday, Pittsfield Police issued a similar call to residents there.
Sorrell said it appears that the break ins in both municipalities could be related. He says the crooks are passing up on valuable items, such as jewelry, in search of cash, even spare change.
On Monday, Cheshire Police also posted warning of several car break ins, though it isn't clear if that is related to the ones in Pittsfield and Lanesborough.
Sorrell warns residents to lock their doors and - despite the heat - close up the windows low to the ground.
"If they can reach it, they are lifting screens and getting in," Sorrell said.
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