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Cheshire Accident Sends Four to Hospital

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

The Yaris was totaled and had to be towed away.

CHESHIRE, Mass. — Four people were taken to the hospital and a section of Route 8 was closed after a three-car accident at the Lanesborough Road intersection.

According to police, a 2009 Nissan Frontier driven by Earl Kahill, 72, of Hampton, N.Y. failed to stop at the end of Lanesborough Road and continued into the highway, colliding with a 2007 Toyota Yaris driven by Christopher Plankey, 33, of Adams.

The Frontier then spun off the road and hit a parked car in Joanie's parking lot.

Police said Kahill was unable to see the stop sign because of the heavy fog.

Unusually warm temperatures caused heavy fog throughout the region as the evening progressed.

Four of the five people in the Yaris suffered injuries and were transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield. Police said the injuries were not life-threatening.

The Yaris was totaled and the Frontier had a broken axle, which could lead to it being deemed totaled as well.

The accident occurred shortly after 8 p.m. and traffic was rerouted over Farnam's Road and over Lanesborough Road. Adams, Action and County ambulance services responded to the scene; Lanesborough Police worked the detour at Farnam's Road.

The road was reopened shortly after 9 p.m.

     

Adams-Cheshire Administrator Faces Drug Charge

Staff Reports
iBerkshires

CHESHIRE, Mass. — A police investigation led to the arrest on Thursday morning of an employee of the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District.

Supervisor of Special Services Kurt M. Garivaltis, 45, is being charged with possession of a Class B substance, Percocet. He is to be arraigned on Wednesday, Jan. 30, in Northern Berkshire District Court.

Superintendent Kristen Gordon confirmed on Friday that an employee was arrested after an ongoing investigation led authorities to do a car search in the school's parking lot and a search of the employee's office at about 7:45 a.m. on Thursday.

"At about 9 a.m., the authorities informed me they were going to make an arrest at that time and we put the school in a soft lockdown," said Gordon, who estimated the lockdown lasted about 11 minutes and was done to shield the children from seeing someone they knew in handcuffs.

She said at no time was anyone in any danger and the investigation had nothing to do with firearms or anything related to that.

"The authorities were extremely respectful of the fact this was an elementary school," she said, adding that the individual "is not working at the moment."

The arrest was made by the Berkshire State Police Detective Unit after executing a search warrant. According to a report filed in court by Trooper Daren W. Snyder, detectives discovered Percocet during the search "for which [Garivaltis] did not have a prescription."

     

Cheshire Home Severely Damaged by Fire

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

Firefighters cut holes in the roof to access to the flames.

CHESHIRE, Mass. — A single-family home on School Street was severely damaged by fire on Thursday afternooon.

Firefighters responded to the call at about 3 p.m. of a fire in the basement.

"When they got here the fire had spread into the walls and up into the ceiling," said Fire Chief Tom Francesconi. "The first crews found heavy smoke, not a lot of fire at first, but when they made entry into the back of the house they found heavy fire near the furnace and in the chimney area."

Francesconi said it took about a 30 to 40 minutes to knock the visible flames down; firefighters were still mopping up at about 4:30.

Lanesborough and Adams fire departments also responded, Dalton covered the Cheshire fire house and North Adams Ambulance brought its rehab unit.

The fire chief said no one was injured but the homeowner's cat was said to be missing. Earlier reports from the scene were that the house was unoccupied at the time, but Francesconi could not confirm that.

According to the documents on file at the Registry of Deeds, the house has been owned by Michael Gallagher since November.

The fire is believed to have started in the basement at the back of the house but the cause has not yet been determined.

"There is heavy smoke damage," said Francesconi, who added he had not yet been inside. But had walked around the perimeter. "The backside of the house has quite a bit of fire damage. ... Definitely a lot of smoke and fire damage on the bottom, as you can see, the bottom skirt area. The fire got into that crawlspace and went right up the walls into the attic."

The fire chief said single-digit temperatures were not a hindrance but were taxing for firefighters. They were taking advantage the rehab unit's heated tent.

"There's heat and everything in the tent, so we've been rotating firefighters in and out of the tent," he said. "It's helped a lot."

     

Police Surround Reportedly Armed Pittsfield Man

Staff Reports
iBerkshires
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A large force of police from around central Berkshire County tracked down and surrounded a man believed to be armed in Cheshire on Saturday afternoon. Multiple Pittsfield police units were seen traveling north in search of a man driving a black Lincoln.

Sometime after 5 p.m., SWAT officers and a Crisis Intervention officer were dispatched to a location at West Mountain Road in Cheshire, which authorities gleaned from a trace of the individual's cell phone. The man was said to have made threats that he might do harm to himself. 

Calls to dispatch indicated that the man's girlfriend told police he had a gun with a full clip, and eight additional rounds of ammunition. State police confirmed that the incident was ongoing.

Law enforcement drew a perimeter around the area where the man is believed to be, still in his car, while the man's girlfriend carried out a conversation over the phone.

At 6:25, Pittsfield Police Department released an announcement that a major police operation was in progress.

"Operation One Team One Mission is in progress. Street level suppression and interdiction with PPD, MSP, BCSD, Probation and other LEOs."

This incident is ongoing. We will post updates as they become available.

Update: Andrew Apple, 27, of Pittsfield was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm without a license and larceny of a firearm shortly before 7 p.m. The team "missions" apparently referred to an operation by Pittsfield Police in the city.


     

Berkshire County Men Graduate From State Police Academy

WORCESTOR< Mass.  — Two Berkshire County residents were among the first graduating state police class in five years.

Justin A. Kruszyna of Cheshire and Ryan E. Mauer of Pittsfield on Friday joined the ranks of the Massachusetts State Police with the 80th Recruit Training Troop. The 208 trainees were appointed to the rank of trooper at the DCU Center in Worcester.

Gov. Deval Patrick, Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, Public Safety Secretary Mary Beth Heffernan and state police Col. Marian McGovern welcomed the graduates and Patrick addressed them and administered the oath to the troopers.

"These graduates hold the honor of being the largest, most highly trained class the academy has ever produced, and the first in over five years," said Patrick. "I am pleased that we were able to secure the resources to make this happen for the state police class, which includes some of the bravest, strongest and smartest citizens from every corner of the commonwealth."

This is the largest graduating class in the history of the state police and the first since 2006. It includes former police officers, firefighters, attorneys, health-care professionals, military sergeants, business professionals and teachers. One hundred and three are veterans, 80 of whom served tours of duty in Afghanistan, Iraq or both.

Their traning began in mid-October and lasted 21 weeks. Curriculum included classroom study, physical training, defensive tactics and real-world law enforcement scenarios. These graduates participated in more than 75 scenario-based exercises during the course of their training along with traditional academic and physical training.

Early next week, the new troopers will begin a three-month break-in period during which they will be assigned to road patrols with a field training officer.

Because of attrition, the state is down approximately 500 troopers from its most recent high point in fall 2006. The new troopers will increase police presence on state highways and roads, as all of the trainees will begin their careers as road troopers.

"Your commandant, your training directors, your drill instructors, your firearms and fitness and defensive tactics instructors have all given you the tools you need to succeed," said McGovern. "That is, all the tools but one. The final piece, the quality upon which all the other skills and tools depend, is found inside each one of you."
     
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