Phone Scammers Targeting Berkshire County Residents
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Authorities are warning Berkshire County residents about a telephone scam targeting
Berkshire District Attorney Paul J. Caccaviello says several people have fallen victim to the scam in which the caller poses as a relative or the attorney of a relative that has been involved in an accident where someone else has been injured. The caller claims the relative is in need of bail money, legal fees and medical expenses.
Those making the fake calls have been operating out of the state of Florida, but the phone numbers they are using have an area code of 202, which is located in Washington, D.C.
Caccaviello is asking anyone who may have received such a call or who may receive a call not to comply with any requests to send money and to contact their local police department.
The Berkshire Eagle reports that a North Adams women sent some $23,000 in cash to a person in Florida posing as a bail bondsman for a grandson who had purportedly been in a drunk-driving accident.
Anyone requesting immediate cash payments should be considered suspicious; always confirm any situation with an independent source. If someone is calling claiming to be representing a family member or friend, contact that person first before sending any money.
Woman Found Deceased in Car
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The body of a woman from outside the area was discovered Sunday morning in the parking area of the former Holy Family Church on State Road.
The woman, who was reportedly from the eastern part of the state, was found sitting in a car by a resident of the nearby elderly housing complex. She appeared to have been there for some time.
Local authorities say the death is not considered suspicious. The woman's car, a late model Subaru, was towed from the scene.
The woman's name and age have not been released and it is not clear what she was doing in North Adams.
Smoking Materials Blamed for Fire at North Adams American Legion
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Smoking materials are believed to be the cause of a fire at the American Legion on Saturday night that forced the closure of the club.
A fire was reported as being in the walls of the American Legion Drive structure shortly after 8 p.m. on Saturday. At least two dozen people were evacuated from the building and firefighters were quickly on the scene — the fire station is across the street from the post.
The blaze appeared to be concentrated in the wall of the exit on the north end of the building, where a disposal container for cigarettes is located. Firefighters cut through the wall and up to the ceiling of the one-story building. The fire was considered contained by about 8:30 p.m. but firefighters were still using axes to open up the wall and spraying it with water.
Fire Director Stephen Meranti said the building had to be closed because of smoke and the use of a fire extinguisher. The building was going to be ventilated and the building inspector would determine if it was suitable to reopen.
Patrons, who gathered under nearby trees to avoid the rain, were told they would be allowed back to recover their belongings once some of the smoke was removed.
No one was injured but the north entrance incurred significant damage from the fire and the efforts to contain it.
Two Pedestrians Struck on West Main Street in North Adams
The hood of the truck was popped open and dented.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Two people were severely injured after being hit by a pickup truck early Tuesday evening while walking on the sidewalk along West Main Street.
Tenisha Bessette, 23, and Daryl Boutin, 24, were struck from behind by a black 1999 Ford F-150 driven by Joshua Piantoni, 35, according to police.
Sgt. James Burdick said Piantoni was eastbound on West Main when he "veered off the roadway onto the sidewalk, striking from behind."
Bessette and Boutin, both of North Adams, were immediately transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield with "multiple injuries."
Piantoni, also of North Adams, was arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs, second offense; negligent operation, and a marked lanes violation. He was released on bail later in the evening and is expected to be arraigned on Wednesday morning.
The accident occurred near 353 West Main St. at about 5:26 p.m. The Ford suffered some front-end damage, including dents on the hood where at least one of the pedestrians landed. It was taken away by Dean's Towing.
North Adams Man Killed in Motorcycle Accident
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A North Adams man was killed after the motorcycle he was driving collided with a car on Church Street on Friday evening.
According to the North Adams Police, Steven Fortier, 49, was driving his 2001 Harley-Davidson motorcycle southbound when he collided with a northbound car Friday night around 10 near 761 Church St. and near where the road forks between Church Street and Ashland Street. According to a press release from the Berkshire district attorney's office, first responders found Fortier lying in the roadway.
He was transported to Berkshire Medical Center's North Adams Campus, where he died from injuries.
Life Flight had initially been called to the scene.
The vehicle that collided with Fortier's motorcycle was a 2015 Audi driven by Joseph Thompson of Adams. Thompson is the director of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. Jodi Joseph of Williamstown, also an employee of Mass MoCA, was a passenger in the vehicle. They did not suffer serious injuries, officials said.
The accident is still under investigation by the North Adams Police Department, State Police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office and troopers from the Crime Scene Service Section and the Collision Analysis Reconstruction Section.
Traffic was rerouted during the accident. Church Street was reopened around 3 a.m.
According to Fortier's Facebook page, he was a self-employed Adams native and graduate of Hoosac Valley High School. Just three hours before the accident, he changed his cover picture to a photo of a motorcycle.
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