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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."

     

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.

     

Truck Pulls Down Tree Limb on North Adams' Church Street

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A tractor-trailer truck heading north on Church Street took down two tree limbs and cable wires when the tree became entangled with the cab's wind deflector.

The incident occurred shortly after noontime in front of the Wilkinson House at 164 Church St. The large limb broke off the tree and pulled down telephone and cable wires, including those connected to the Flood House across the street. No electrical wires were touched and no electricity lost.

"It took down the telephone and the cable lines," said Fire Lt. Michael Sherman. "He was a smart guy ... he stayed right in the cabin truck. He wouldn't get out until he was sure there was no electricity going. He was very smart."

Sherman said the city yard would clean up the tree debris. The large limb is about 20 feet long and broke off the trunk; another smaller limb was also damaged and will have to be removed. The truck is an RL Carriers vehicle. It was able to be driven away.

The street was closed briefly between Pleasant and Quincy streets to allow for cleanup.
 

     

North Adams Police Officer Crashes Cruiser

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A city police officer sustained minor injuries after his cruiser hit a utility pole on Ashland Street.

Sgt. James Burdick said Officer Joshua Tracy was heading south on Ashland Street on Monday around 11:50 a.m. when he hit a utility pole near where the road intersects with Church Street.

"He was southbound on Ashland Street and heading towards the intersection on Church Street," Burdick said. "He ended up off the road where, he impacted with a phone pole. Cause and reason and all that are still under investigation."

He said, Tracy was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening or severe injuries. He was sworn in as a permanent officer in March.

Burdick said a wrecker towed the 2013 Ford Interceptor away.

"The car didn’t fare so well ... it had well over 100,000 miles on it," Burdick said. "So that is where we are at and it was towed away."

     

Car Wash Mechanism Falls on Car, Briefly Trapping Driver

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — An elderly Vermont man had to be helped from his car after it got stuck in the automatic car-wash bay at V's Car Wash on State Road on Monday afternoon.

Police, fire and EMS were called to the car wash, located behind the Monro Muffler Brake & Service, around 3:30 p.m. after a report that a piece of the car wash had collapsed on a car and trapped the driver inside.

Police said the driver, whose name was not released, had driven into the bay a little crooked. When he tried to correct, the front tire of the car went over the rails, sending the car into the cleaning mechanism. That machinery then fell onto the front right side of the car, blocking the driver's side door.

The driver was able to get to the passenger seat, where emergency personnel helped him out.

"We assisted him out of the car," North Adams Police Sgt. James Burdick said.

The man was not injured, but he rested on an ambulance stretcher in the shade until a family member came and took him away.

Police and fire officials waited for Mohawk Auto to bring their flat-bed wrecker to remove the Subaru Outback. The car sustained damage to the driver's side mirror and the driver's side panel along the hood of the car.

Utilities were turned off to the six-bay car wash while the operation was taking place and while officials waited for the car wash's owner to come assess the damage to the machinery.

 

     
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