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New Ashford Crash Turns Fatal for Williamstown Man

Staff Reports


Update: Frank C. Burgmaster, 52, died Wednesday of injuries sustained in the accident.

NEW ASHFORD, Mass. — A Williamstown man will be charged with driving under the influence for the third time after his pickup truck collided head-on with another truck late Tuesday afternoon on Route 7.

According to state police, Frank C. Burgmaster, 52, was headed northbound in a 1996 black Dodge Ram when he crossed the center line near Roys Road on the New Ashford Road just after 5 p.m., nearly hitting another car.

That driver was able to avoid a collision, but Burgmaster then plowed head-on into a 2009 red Toyota Tacoma driven by Savita Wheat, 22, of Pownal, Vt.

Both vehicles ended up on the center line and both drivers were transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield. Burgmaster's injuries were described as serious.

Police, fire and two ambulances responded to the scene. Cars were forced to turn around at the scene and diverted to Route 43 for more than an hour until the scene was cleared.

Burgmaster will be summonsed to face charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, third offense, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and marked lanes violation.

Updated and rewritten throughout, 8:58 p.m.


Tags: head-on, accident, ambulance, DUI, fatal      

Fatal Accident Closes Route 8 in Adams

Andy McKeever

A stretcher sits empty at the scene of a fatal accident in Adams on Friday.

ADAMS, Mass. — An accident on Route 8 Friday afternoon left a Florida woman dead.

Jill Keating, 46, of the town of Florida was killed after her Chevrolet Avalanche crashed into the back of a tractor-trailer that was preparing to take a left into Speciality Minerals at about 12:25 p.m. Friday afternoon, according to police.

Keating was pronounced dead on the scene and the driver of the tractor-trailer, Eduardo Manuel Nunes of Miami, Fla., was uninjured.

Route 8 was closed for about four hours and traffic was rerouted from Friend Street through the industrial park.

Emergency personnel on the scene were the Police Department, the Ambulance, the Fire Department, North Adams Ambulance and the Cheshire Fire Department. North Adams and State Police were requested for traffic assistance. The State Police Accident Reconstruction Team and the Truck Team were requested to investigate the accident.

A full investigation is still ongoing.

Tags: fatal, motor vehicle, accident      

Great Barrington Crashes Leave Two Dead

Staff Reports

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Police are investigating two serious motor vehicle crashes on Wednesday afternoon that left two dead.

According to police, the first accident occurred at 12:50 p.m. Janet E. Chase, 62, of Sheffield died on the scene when her BMW sedan veered into the northbound lane of Route 7, just north of the Sheffield/Great Barrington line, and crashed head-on with a Honda minivan in the northbound lane. The van was driven by Maureen L Boisvert, 50, of Needham. Boisvert was taken to Berkshire Medical Center with severe injuries.

While state and local police were investigating that accident, a vehicle backing out of Timberlyn Heights nursing home on Maple Avenue (Route 23) was struck by a westbound vehicle. Phillip Hoffman, 90, of Sandisfield died at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield overnight as a result of the crash. His wife, Ann, 88, is at Berkshire Medical Center with "life-threatening injuries" as of Thursday.

The other driver, Brian K. Deland, Jr., 34, of Ashley Falls, was treated and released from Fairview Hospital.

That accident occurred at 3:10 p.m. and is being investigated by state and local police. 

Also last night a Jeep Cherokee collided with a tractor-trailer near the New York state border on Route 20 in Hancock.The driver of the Jeep was taken to Berkshire Medical Center while the driver of the truck was unhurt. Route 20 was shut down for more than an hour.

Tags: fatal, motor vehicle, accident, injuries      

Man Killed by Bull in Clarksburg

Staff Reports

CLARKSBURG, Mass. — A man was killed Wednesday afternoon while trying to move a bull into a pen at a Daniels Road dairy farm and another seriously injured.

Paul F. Marshall, 78, was leading the bull across a field when it attacked Marshall and Everett Sherman, a neighbor trying to help, said police. Marshall was pronounced dead at the scene. Sherman was reportedly gored on his side by the bull and taken to North Adams Regional Hospital and later transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield.

The bull, described as black with a white mark, was to be put down last Thursday. It was one of a number of Holsteins kept at the farm.

The bull was in a back garden area with eight cows, said Police Chief Michael Williams on Monday. It wasn't clear if the cattle were loose and Marshall was trying to pen them up or if he was just moving them.

Marshall's wife, Carolyn, saw much of what happened and at 1:22 p.m. called the dispatcher in North Adams saying her husband was being attacked by a bull.

Firefighters were first on the scene, followed by police and two North Adams Ambulance Service vehicles. Williams said state police detectives attached to the district attorney's office also responded, as did Medical Examiner Dr. Benjamin Glick. The DA's office did not have any further information.

Emergency responders remained on the scene for several hours.

The Marshalls purchased the farm, which runs along the south side of Daniels Road between East Road and Walker Street, in 1983 from the Massachusetts State College Builiding Authority.

The land had been used by what was then North Adams State College for a sustainable agricultural program. More recently, it became the home of Square Roots Farm, which is leasing land to grow produce and some livestock.

Original post Saturday, Nov. 25, 2010. Updated Nov. 29, 2010 with more information.

Tags: attack, animal, fatal      

Woman Pleads Guilty in Sandisfield Fatal Crash

Staff Reports

Update Monday, Oct. 4, 2010, at 2:45 p.m.: Balsamo was sentenced in Berkshire Superior Court on Monday morning to six to 10 years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institute at Cedar Junction on the vehicular homicide charge. The other charges were filed.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Connecticut woman pleaded guilty on Wednesday morning to charges related to the Sandisfield crash that killed Erin Dufour of Chicopee last year. Dufour, who was also listed by authorities as residing in Tolland, spent much of her life in Western Massachusetts.

Pamela N. Balsamo, 48, of Cedar Lane, Barkhamsted, Conn., appeared before Judge John  Agostini in Berkshire Superior Court. She pleaded guilty to single counts of motor vehicle homicide while under the influence of alcohol and operating to endanger, failure to stay within marked lanes and speeding.

Agostini ordered that she be held without bail at the Berkshire County House of Correction pending sentencing which will occur Monday, Oct. 4, at 10 a.m.  
Balsamo was operating a Mercedes that struck the 29-year-old Dufour's Honda head-on on March 18, 2009.

The investigation was conducted by state troopers assigned to the Lee barracks.

Chicopee Woman Killed in Sandisfield Head-on Crash

11:40PM / Wednesday, March 18, 2009

SANDISFIELD, Mass. — A Chicopee woman was killed Wednesday evening after her car was hit head-on by another vehicle on Route 8 near Tucker's Tavern.

Erin E. Dufour, 29, of was northbound on Route 8 in a 2008 Honda hatchback at about 8 p.m. when she was struck head on by 47-year-old Pamela Balsamo of Barkhamsted, Conn., who was driving a 2002 Mercedes sedan south in the northbound lane, according to the preliminary investigation by Trooper James Somerville of the Lee barracks.

The Dufour suffered serious injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene by the medical examiner. Balsamo was transported by ambulance with serious injuries to Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington, Conn.

The crash remains under investigation with the assistance of the state police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section and Crime Scene Services. The Sandisfield Police Department, Fire Department and emergency medical services and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner assisted troopers at the scene.

All lanes of Route 8 were closed for approximately 1 ½ hours for the crash investigation and vehicle removal.

Dufour had lived in Western Mass for 10 years and was a Pella Windows sales representative. Born in Maine, she spent much of her life there but spent her senior year of high school in New York, graduating from Bethlehem High School in Delmar.

An outdoorswoman and athlete, she received best in show for driving "The Queen Bee" at a tri-county demolition derby in Northampton. She loved cats and volunteered at the local animal shelter. Her parents live in Lakeville.

Updated with victim's identity, Thursday, March 19, 2009, 8:45 a.m.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009: This story has generated a great deal of interest so we have included more information about Ms. Dufour and a link to her obituary in SouthCoastToday.

Tags: fatal, crash, vehicle      
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