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Vermont Motorcyclist Injured in Pittsfield Collision

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Vermont motorcyclist was injured Thursday afternoon after colliding with a pickup truck.
 
Police say just before 1:30 in the afternoon, John Bailey, 56, of Cheshire turned out of Unistress on Cheshire Road and collided with the northbound motorcyclist Cassius Bradford, of Stamford, Vt.
 
Bradford was transported to Berkshire Medical Center with injuries to his arms and legs "that appeared serious but non-life threatening," according to police. Bailey was not injured.
 
Pittsfield Police was assisted at the scene by the Massachusetts State Police and Lanesborough Police. It remains under investigation by the traffic unit and Police are asking anyone who may have seen the accident or the actions of the motorcycle prior to the collision to contact Office David Hallas at 413-448-9700 ext. 379.
     

Three Charged in Murder of Pittsfield's Asiyanna Jones

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Three individuals have been indicted by a grand jury on murder charges for the death of Asiyanna Jones.
 
Josiaiah Bynum, 20, Carey Pilot, 45, and Gary Linen, 38, all of Pittsfield, are each being charged with single counts of first-degree murder. The three are expected to be arraigned in Berkshire Superior Court soon.
 
The three are accused of shooting the 22-year-old Jones on Dewey Avenue on Oct. 2, 2017. Jones was found shot in the head inside a motor vehicle shortly before 11 p.m.that night. She was flown to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield and pronounced dead at about 4 a.m. the next morning.
 
Reportedly, the shots went through the windshield of the vehicle that Jones was sitting in with another woman. The driver immediately took Jones to Berkshire Medical Center. 
 
Two weeks later, Bynum was arraigned on weapons and assault charges and, at the time, police were searching for Linen. A few days before Bynum's arrest, Justin Crawford, 20, was arrested and police said they found a handgun that was involved on the Oct. 2 shooting. Shots were reportedly exchanged that night between two opposing parties.
 
Jones was a graduate of Pittsfield High School and had been a child-care worker at the Berkshire Family YMCA. She was recently employed at Hillcrest Educational Center.
     

Pittsfield Businessman Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Greylock Credit Union

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A city real estate developer pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Springfield of defrauding Greylock Federal Credit Union.
 
Jeffrey Pierce, 51, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to receive money through transactions of a credit union with intent to defraud the credit union and make false statements to a federal credit union.
 
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, between 2005 and 2008 a former Greylock Federal Credit Union vice president authorized some $4 million in loans and loan modifications to Pierce and his five real estate development companies. 
 
While the office didn't name the banker on Wednesday, in 2014 Michael Dicenzo pleaded guilty to related charges in the case. Dicenzo worked at Greylock as a commercial loan officer from 2004 until 2009 and faced eight counts of fraud and a single count of making false statements to federal officials.
 
The loans issued to Pierce were in violation of the credit union's policies and caused the credit union to release funds "far in excess of what Pierce and his companies could reasonably receive or repay," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. 
 
In exchange, the U.S. Attorney's Office alleges Pierce agreed to provide the former vice president with $134,773 in check payments to a "front company" created by the Greylock employee — those payments derived from Greylock loans —  free use of a home constructed by Pierce's companies, and free use of a vehicle — also purchased with Greylock loans. 
 
In 2010, Pierce is accused of falsely stating to Greylock that the money paid from his company to the  "front company" were payments for design work that the vice president's wife provided to Pierce for construction projects. Law enforcement said those statements were made based on the urging of the former vice president. 
 
The conspiracy charge against Pierce carries a prison sentence of up to five years, a fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release. U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni scheduled sentencing for Oct. 3, 2018.
     

Pittsfield Home on Highland Avenue Destroyed By Fire

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

Lanesborough resident Brian Johnson happened to be driving in the area when the fire began. He shared his photos of the blaze with iBerkshires.com. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Fire destroyed a city couple's Highland Avenue home Friday afternoon.
 
Deputy Chief Andrew Stephenson said a passerby noticed the outside of the home on fire at about 3:30 and called 911. Upon arrival, firefighters found the exterior on fire.
 
"The exterior of the house, the left side, was pretty heavily involved in fire. It was obvious the fire started on the outside of the house. While crews were here, it burned into the second floor through the window. It burned up the wall, through the window, burned up to the roofline, and got up into the attic," Stephenson said.
 
Stephenson said it isn't known exactly what caused the fire but investigators have pinpointed the origin and are narrowing in on a cause. The owner was working in a woodshop in the rear of the property at the time and the house was out of his view when the fire started.
 
Neither occupant was injured in the blaze and firefighters were able to rescue two cats. However, a third cat perished in the fire. 
 
Stephenson said the homeowners declined assistance from the Red Cross and will find alternative housing on their own. He said the home suffered heavy damage and is likely considered beyond repair.
 
The department first responded with three engine companies, a ladder truck, and a deputy chief but quickly called for two more engine companies. 
 
"It was just a hot, humid day so it is hard for the crews to work. You always have to worry about heat exposure so that's why the on-duty deputy called Hinsdale rehab trailer. They come with water, a bus with air conditioning," Stephenson said.
 

The two-alarm fire was called in around 3:30 in the afternoon.
The deputy chief said the fire had burned to a point where there was little they could do to halt the damage. But he credited firefighters for their efforts in stopping the blaze quickly after arriving.
 
"They did an outstanding job. They encountered an involved full side of the house. The damage was done pretty much prior to the Fire Department getting here but they did a great job knocking it down and putting the rest of the fire out. It is pretty tough in the hot conditions," Stephenson said.
 
Hinsdale and Lanesborough both arrived on scene for assistance and Lenox, Dalton, and another crew from Lanesborough covered city stations. 
 
At the same time as firefighters worked on Highland Avenue, Stephenson said another fire call came in. At that scene, a mattress had caught on fire and an off-duty firefighter who lived in the neighborhood was able to drag it out of the home, preventing a structure fire there.
     

Overheated Pump Fills Pittsfield Home With Smoke

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A city woman helped her elderly neighbor after a water pump overheated and filled her Parkside Avenue home with smoke.
 
According to residents on scene, the woman who lives at 148 Parkside Ave. fled the home after smoke filled the first floor. A neighbor saw her, ran over and helped her get away. She then called 911.
 
The Fire Department arrived shortly after and began searching for the potential fire. Ultimately the department determined that it was an overheated pump that began filling the home with smoke.
 
Firefighters ventilated the home and paramedics on scene evaluated the older woman. 
     
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