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Readsboro Teen Killed in Snowmobile Accident

Staff Reports

READSBORO, Vt. — A Readsboro teen died Saturday night after being struck by a snowmobile during a party on private property about a mile off Route 100.

The office of the state's attorney is investigating the circumstances surrounding the accident that lead to the death of 18-year-old Jessica Bolognani. The accident was reported at about 10:30 p.m.

According to state police, Bolognani was riding on the back of a 2009 Polaris snowmobile operated by a Richard Bernard, 20, of Whitingham when she fell and was hit by a second snowmobile that was following, a 2001 Polaris being operated by 21-year-old Clinton Birch of Readsboro.

Bolognani was wearing a helmet but sustained a serious head injury and died of her injuries before she arrived at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington. She was pronounced dead by the regional medical examiner's office.

A group of young adults were at the camp when Bernard, Bolognani and Birch left the camp to go snowmobiling, said police, and alcohol was involved.

Bennington County State's Attorney Erica Marthage ordered an autopsy on Bolognani by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Burlington on Monday.

The investigation into the incident is continuing; anyone with information is asked to call Sgt. Mike Marvin or Trooper Travis Hess at the state police barracks in Shaftsbury at 802-442-5421. 

Bolognani was a star athlete who graduated from Twin Valley High School in Wilmington in June. She was majoring in health sciences at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. Both college and high school classmates recalled a friendly, helpful, generous young woman on a Facebook page dedicated to her. "The whole entire town is in total devastation, she was adored by all," wrote one longtime family friend.

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Break-Ins Reported in Williamstown

Staff Reports

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A Cobbleview Road residence was broken into late Wednesday afternoon as police were investigating an earlier burglary on the same road.

Police were at the first residence at about 5 p.m. when a neighbor reported the motion lights coming on at another Cobbleview Road home. As officers approached the residence, they heard what sounded like a person running from the area into the woods. A search was conducted by second-shift officers, including Officer Michael Ziemba and Blue, and North Adams Police officers but no suspect was found.

The house had been forcibly entered and property stolen. The state police Crimes Services Section was contacted to assist in the investigation.

Williamstown Police are asking residents to be alert to unusual or suspicious vehicles and to contact the police at 413-458-5733 to report any suspicious activity.

 

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Fatal Accident on MassPike

Staff Reports

WEST STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — State police are reporting a fatal accident occurred late this morning at the 1-mile marker on the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Added Jan. 1: The driver was Elizabeth McKee, 53, of Rock Creek, N.Y.

The state police barracks in Weston responded to the one-car crash in the eastbound lane at about 10:42 a.m.

Preliminary investigation by Trooper Edward Ashman indicated the vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree in the median, resulting in fatal injuries to the operator, who was the sole occupant of the vehicle. Responding emergency medical personnel pronounced the victim dead at the scene.

The crash is under investigation with the assistance of the Collision Analysis and Reconstruction and the Crime Scene Services sections. Troopers were additionally assisted at the scene by the West Stockbridge Fire Department.

No further information is available at this time.

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Williamstown Crash Injures Two

Staff Reports

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A two-vehicle crash near Cumberland Farms on Monday, Dec. 28, sent residents to the hospital.

Police said Jonathon P. Murphy, 50, of Harrison Avenue pulled out of a Main Street business without stopping at about 1:38 p.m. His 2002 Chevrolet pickup collided with a 2008 Ford sedan operated by Kimberly D. Scott, 22, of North Hoosac Road.

Scott and a passenger were transported to North Adams Regional Hospital by Village Ambulance Service. Both vehicles sustained significant damage and were removed from the scene by Ron's Auto Repair.

Murphy was issued a citation for negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

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Fire Devours Readsboro Home

By Tammy Daniels

A house at 244 Vermont Route 8 was destroyed by an early morning fire. No one was home at the time.

READSBORO, Vt. —  An early morning fire destroyed a unoccupied home along the sparsely settled Route 8 in Heartwellville on Wednesday.

The blaze was called in at 3 a.m. by a motorist who saw flames coming from the single-family home, said Fire Chief Carl Marchegiani. "[The firehouse] is four miles away but we could see the glow in the sky as we came over the flats."

By the time firefighters arrived, the house was fully involved. Whitingham and Stamford fire departments responded to the scene as well and tankers shuttled back and forth from a nearby water source as firefighters battled the blaze in the frigid temperatures.

The two-story home at 244 Vt. Route 8 is owned by Richard A. Larabee, who is currently residing in South Carolina, said Marchegiani. A family member was keeping an eye on the residence.

Smoke was still spilling from the house's smoldering remains early in Wednesday afternoon. Marchegiani said the fire is believed to have started somewhere under the eaves but its cause may never be known because the damage to the structure was so exentensive.

"I can't let anybody in there," he said. "It's too dangerous."

The fire burned so hot it distorted and collapsed the metal roof; ice coated the charred studs and the remains of a spring mattress hung from what was left of a second-floor joist. The stone chimney had buckled in the middle, giving it a curved appearance. Icicles dripped from an elderly Toyota Land Cruiser in the front yard.

Marchegiani said the house would have to be demolished soon. "It's too dangerous to leave it like this."

 

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