Pittsfield Pedestrian Killed on Route 7
LENOX, Mass. — A 46-year-old Pittsfield woman was killed shortly after midnight on Sunday when she was struck by a car on the Pittsfield Lenox Road.
According to Lenox Police, Stacy A. Macfarlane-Holmes was crossing the Pittsfield Road (Route 7) near the Price Chopper plaza on foot at about 12:39 a.m. when she was hit by a southbound 1998 Volkswagen New Beetle driven by Firas M. Kara of Lee.
Macfarlane-Holmes was in the southbound lane when the accident occurred but her direction of travel has yet to be determined. She was transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield where she was pronounced dead.
The state police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section is in the process of reconstructing the crash. Kara states that he never saw Macfarlane-Holmes in the roadway. This area of the Pittsfield Road is somewhat poorly lit and it was raining at the time of the collision.
Officers Ward and Lagarce responded to the scene. They were assisted by state police from the Lee barracks, the Pittsfield Police Department, the Lenox Ambulance and the Pittsfield Fire Department.
This incident remains under investigation. Anyone who may have witnessed this is urged to contact the Lenox Police at 413-637-2346. Officer Ward is the investigating officer.
Lenox Police Go High Tech to Search for Missing
LENOX, Mass. — Police Chief Stephen E. O'Brien has formalized an agreement with the A Child Is Missing Alert Program that has led to a high-tech method now in place to search locally for missing children, missing elderly (often with Alzheimer's), college students and missing persons who may be mentally or physically challenged or disabled.
Upon receipt of a missing person call, the Police Department will make one of its first phone calls to a toll-free number that rings in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., at the national headquarters of the A Child Is Missing Alert Program.
The call, answered 24 hours every day by an information and mapping technician, initiates a rapid process of information gathering and use of sophisticated mapping systems. A Child Is Missing then launches potentially thousands of calls within minutes with an alert message detailing the missing person's description, last known whereabouts, and pertinent information. This alert message will also include a Lenox Police Department phone number for use by anyone with information relating to the missing person.
This program is a free service to law enforcement. Police officials will evaluate each potential activation of the A Child Is Missing Alert Program to ensure the application is appropriate to the case and that the system is optimally used. Policies, procedures, and employee training will also guide the most efficient and effective use of this alert program.
Phone numbers that are called by this program include listed numbers and mobile numbers available to ACIM in the selected area. Mobile numbers, unlisted numbers, broadband/voice-over IP numbers, or TDD/TTY devices can be added to ensure they, too, are called in the event of an alert.
To enter your cell phone, unlisted or other device number visit www.achildismissing.org and click on "add your name" to enter your name, number and address. This information will only be used for emergency message alerts.
A Child Is Missing is a nationwide nonprofit organization that helps law enforcement agencies locate missing children and others. It utilizes sophisticated computer mapping systems and trained technicians with the capacity to place 1,000 alert phone calls in one minute to residents and businesses in the area where someone has gone missing. To date, the efforts of A Child Is Missing have been credited with more than 890 safe, assisted recoveries.
Lenox Ambulance in Head-on Crash
LENOX, Mass. — The town's ambulance is out of commission after it was involved in a head-on crash Thursday morning while transporting a patient to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield.
Police Chief Stephen E. O'Brien said Lenox Ambulance was dispatched at 5:11 a.m. on Thursday to Curtis Housing on Main Street for a woman with abdominal pain. By 5:25, the firefighter emergency medical technicians Jason Saunders and Daniel Pirettihad had her on the way to Pittsfield.
Saunders, who was driving the ambulance, reported six minutes later that it had been involved in a head-on motor vehicle crash on Main Street near the entrance to the Church on the Hill.
Police said Matthew Bak, 20, of Cheshire, was operating a 1997 Chevy pickup GMT 400 southbound on Main Street when he fell asleep at the wheel, crossed the center line, and collided with the 2008 Ford E450 Type III ambulance.
Saunders requested aid from the Fire Department, two other ambulances and Lenox Police.
The EMTs on the ambulance began caring for the other patients involved and, once more firefighters arrived, a third ambulance was requested for the personnel involved in the crash.
Saunders, 36, and Piretti, 27, who was caring for the patient in the back of the ambulance, were both treated at BMC for minor injuries and released after being transported by County Ambulance. The 83-year-old patient was taken to BMC with neck and back pain via another County Ambulance.
Bak complained of neck and back pain and was transported to BMC by Lee Ambulance.
The crash remains under investigation and both criminal and civil charges are pending. There was extensive damage to both involved vehicles, which were towed away.
Although the town will be without an ambulance, Fire Chief Daniel W. Clifford said the Lenox Fire Department will continue to provide emergency medical services and will rely on mutual aid ambulance services for transport until a more permanent solution for a replacement ambulance becomes available.
Stolen Property Being Returned to Owners
LENOX, Mass. — The items held as evidence in the case against burglary kingpin Stefan Veremko are being released to their owners.
The Lenox Police Department has been holding hundreds of items seized in November 2009 from Veremko's home, vehicle and areas where he had discarded the property. Veremko's monthslong spree across three states ended when an off-duty officer spotted him fleeing a building - with a pillowcase.
Multiple police agencies were investigating the break-ins, which stretched from Southern Vermont to South County. As a result, Veremko and accomplice Tara Malloy were arrested. The recent conclusion of the case convicting Veremko and giving him five- to seven-year state prison sentence allows police the opportunity to return the seized evidence to the many victims involved with this case, said Chief Stephen E. O'Brien.
Many people came to the Lenox Town Hall on Nov. 19, 2009, to view the vast array of items. Some were able to identify items that indeed belonged to them. While conducting this process, during the exit interview, these victims were asked to provide a phone number at which they could be reached at the conclusion of the case.
Within the next several days, the victims who identified property will be receiving a call from the Lenox Police to arrange for the release of their property. All of the property that was identified will be returned to its rightful owner. For victims from the states of Vermont and New York, their property will be released to the police agency having jurisdiction over the crime. The out-of-state agency will make a determination if that property may be released or if it will remain held pending future criminal action against Veremko and Malloy in their states.
"We are asking for everyone's patience as we attempt to relinquish property in an orderly fashion to be certain that each and every victim recoups their loss," said O'Brien. "We also thank everyone involved for their patience as this case made its way through the criminal court system."
Icy Conditions Cause Multiple Crashes in Lenox
LENOX, Mass. — Four motor vehicle accidents involving at least 10 cars stopped traffic on routes 7 and 20 in both the north and southbound lanes early this morning.
According to a press release issued by Police Chief Stephen O’Brien, officers from the Lenox Police Department were responding to a two-car, head-on crash that occurred around 7 a.m. when other vehicles were forced off the road because of extremely icy conditions. In addition to Lenox Police, Lenox Fire Department and state police as well as County Ambulance were called to the scene to assist.
One eyewitness, Brian Sisco of Sheffield, said he was driving through Lenox at 8 a.m. on his way to work when he met up with black ice and bumper-to-bumper traffic in the north and southbound lanes.
"I was coming up through Lee on Route 20 and Lee was fine," he said. "But once Route 7 came up on the bypass that's when things got ugly. There was a road block both ways at Walker Street and they were sending people right or left. The road was definitely slick with black ice. At one point at a stop light my tires were spinning. The roads weren't sanded or salted or anything."
The first accident included what appeared to be a small light-colored pickup or sport utility vehicle with heavy front-end damage. The second vehicle was over the banking of the northbound lane. Emergency vehicles were parked along the side of the road for nearly 100 yards.
A light snow was falling over Pittsfield and South County in the early morning hours. Roadways were slushy through much of the region.
According to Sisco, traffic was backed up for at least a mile and half as police and rescue workers tried to handle one crash after another, saying there were at least three flatbeds and two tow trucks trying to clear away disabled vehicles.
"I drove through Great Barrington at about 6:30 this morning and the roads were fine; sanded and salted. The same through Stockbridge and Lee," he said. "It did not look slippery at all. There was snow covering the roads but it just looked wet. You would think that because there are so many people who drive up Route 7 to get to work that that road would be salted as well. Pittsfield was fine, too. They had already sanded."
The road was finally opened again at 8 a.m. when it was deemed passable by police. At least eight people were transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield. Although none were reported to have life-threatening injuries, investigators are still compiling operator and vehicle information. Police said one accident involved eight vehicles.
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