North Adams Man Crashes SUV Into Home
A State Road home has foundation damage after a North Adams man crashed into it Friday night.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A Chase Avenue man faces multiple charges after crashing an SUV into a State Road residence Friday, causing damage to the home's foundation.
Chad Slick, 29, is charged with use of a motor vehicle without authority, leaving the scene of an accident, driving with a suspended license and negligent use of a motor vehicle.
According to Police Director Michael Cozzaglio, Slick was upset when he left a New Street apartment and lost control of the vehicle at about 11:15 p.m. The 1995 GMC Jimmy went through a line of bushes and struck the corner of the home owned by Paula and Denis Cote at 404 State Road. Slick left the scene but was arrested in the back yard of the New Street apartment. Alcohol does not appear to be a factor and the only injuries were minor lacerations on Slick's face, Cozzaglio said. The owner of the vehicle was not identified but was connected to Slick, he said.
"We don't believe he was trying to steal the vehicle. He just wanted to leave," Cozzaglio said.
Paula Cote said she and he husband were asleep upstairs when she heard a loud bang, so loud it woke up neighbors on Taft Street, and the house shook.
"I'm still a little shaky," Cote said. "It moved the house. The walls are cracked on the inside."
The house was nearly condemned because of foundation damage but there is just enough support to be livable until it is fixed, she said. The building inspector said the couple will have to move out of the house while the repairs are completed, she said. There are tire tracks in the back yard cutting right though bushes, which have been destroyed and are now discolored.
"It's a hassle. I'm so used to my house, I don't know where to go," she said.
It had been reported that Slick has been in trouble before for charges including disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct and destruction of property.
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Dalton Man Shot by Officer
DALTON, Mass. — A Washington Mountain Road man has been hospitalized after being shot by a police officer early Wednesday morning.
According to the district attorney's office, Michael Barry, 46, who threated to kill himself and others, was shot by Pittsfield Police Officer Christopher Colello at about 1 a.m. Wednesday after he fled into the woods and seemed to draw a weapon. He is currently listed in critical condition at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield.
A press release from the district attorney's office states the incident occurred after Dalton Police responded to Barry's home shortly after midnight after receiving a call that a drunken man was pouring gasoline over the garage. When Officer Deanna Strout arrived on the scene she encountered Barry, who ignored her request to display his hands and ran into the woods at the rear of the residence.
Additional officers from Dalton and the Pittsfield Police Department, including a K-9 Unit, were dispatched to assist in the search for him.
Witnesses at the residence reportedly told police that Barry had been at a Dalton bar late Tuesday night and, after arriving home intoxicated, began smashing and throwing items and saying he wanted to die. He poured gasoline on himself and in the garage and threatened to start a fire and kill himself and others, witnesses told police.
Barry was located in the woods shortly after 1 a.m. by Colello and Pittsfield K-9 Officer James Losaw. According to the officers, Barry jumped up and made a movement that caused the officers to fear he was drawing a weapon. Colello shot several times, wounding Barry. He was treated at the scene by police and emergency personnel and then taken to Berkshire Medical Center, where he underwent surgery.
Barry is in police custody as he recovers from his wounds, under arrest for various offenses, including attempted arson, attempted murder and assault.
State police investigators assigned to the district attorney's office are conducting an investigation into the circumstances of Barry's shooting with the assistance of state police ballistics and Crime Scene Services unit.
Updated, Nov. 5, 2010, at 3:30 p.m.
Barry was arraigned this morning in Central Berkshire District Court in Pittsfield before Judge Frederic Rutberg.
He had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of attempted murder, attempted arson, aggravated assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and vandalizing property, and two counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon.
Rutberg ordered that he be held without the right to bail. Barry's case was continued to Nov. 10 for further arraignment and status.
The investigation is being conducted by members of the Dalton and Pittsfield police departments and state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office.
Barry's attorney, Leonard H. Cohen, told The Eagle on Thursday that Barry had been shot three times and was seriously injured. He described the 46-year-old Dalton man's condition as now being on the "upside."
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Woman Pleads Guilty in Sandisfield Fatal Crash
Update Monday, Oct. 4, 2010, at 2:45 p.m.: Balsamo was sentenced in Berkshire Superior Court on Monday morning to six to 10 years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institute at Cedar Junction on the vehicular homicide charge. The other charges were filed.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Connecticut woman pleaded guilty on Wednesday morning to charges related to the Sandisfield crash that killed Erin Dufour of Chicopee last year. Dufour, who was also listed by authorities as residing in Tolland, spent much of her life in Western Massachusetts.
Pamela N. Balsamo, 48, of Cedar Lane, Barkhamsted, Conn., appeared before Judge John Agostini in Berkshire Superior Court. She pleaded guilty to single counts of motor vehicle homicide while under the influence of alcohol and operating to endanger, failure to stay within marked lanes and speeding.
Agostini ordered that she be held without bail at the Berkshire County House of Correction pending sentencing which will occur Monday, Oct. 4, at 10 a.m.
Balsamo was operating a Mercedes that struck the 29-year-old Dufour's Honda head-on on March 18, 2009.
The investigation was conducted by state troopers assigned to the Lee barracks.
Chicopee Woman Killed in Sandisfield Head-on Crash
11:40PM / Wednesday, March 18, 2009
SANDISFIELD, Mass. — A Chicopee woman was killed Wednesday evening after her car was hit head-on by another vehicle on Route 8 near Tucker's Tavern.
Erin E. Dufour, 29, of was northbound on Route 8 in a 2008 Honda hatchback at about 8 p.m. when she was struck head on by 47-year-old Pamela Balsamo of Barkhamsted, Conn., who was driving a 2002 Mercedes sedan south in the northbound lane, according to the preliminary investigation by Trooper James Somerville of the Lee barracks.
The Dufour suffered serious injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene by the medical examiner. Balsamo was transported by ambulance with serious injuries to Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington, Conn.
The crash remains under investigation with the assistance of the state police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section and Crime Scene Services. The Sandisfield Police Department, Fire Department and emergency medical services and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner assisted troopers at the scene.
All lanes of Route 8 were closed for approximately 1 ½ hours for the crash investigation and vehicle removal.
Dufour had lived in Western Mass for 10 years and was a Pella Windows sales representative. Born in Maine, she spent much of her life there but spent her senior year of high school in New York, graduating from Bethlehem High School in Delmar.
An outdoorswoman and athlete, she received best in show for driving "The Queen Bee" at a tri-county demolition derby in Northampton. She loved cats and volunteered at the local animal shelter. Her parents live in Lakeville.
Updated with victim's identity, Thursday, March 19, 2009, 8:45 a.m.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009: This story has generated a great deal of interest so we have included more information about Ms. Dufour and a link to her obituary in SouthCoastToday.
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Kincaid Pleads Guilty to Aggravated Rape
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It's taken almost exactly a dozen years, two trials and numerous twists and turns through the court system to conclude the prosecution of Aaron Kincaid of Lenox.
Kincaid, 36, pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court on Monday morning to four counts of aggravated rape from an assault on a then 27-year-old woman on Sept. 24, 1998.
He was ordered by Judge John Agostini to serve concurrent 719-day sentences, or time already served, on the four charges at the Massachusetts Correctional Institute at Cedar Junction on the recommendation of the district attorney and his attorney. He was also placed on two years' probation on the condition he have no contact with the victim and a witness during the probationary period.
"We do not always achieve all that we aspire to in every case," said District Attorney David F. Capeless in a statement. "Today's sentence is not what was handed down back in 2001, but we have realized something else, something even more significant in this singular case – a vindication of the victim and the other witnesses after all these years, an affirmation under oath that they had, indeed, told the truth."
Kincaid was guilty of the same four charges in Superior Court in September 2001 and was ordered by Judge Thomas Curley to serve concurrent 15- to 18-year sentences in Walpole.
In May 2002, Kincaid filed a motion for a new trial and a post-verdict inquiry of the jurors. He alleged that the jury learned that a co-defendant, Richard C. Lampron Jr., had fled the state. Curley, who died in 2005, interviewed all the jurors and ordered a new trial for Kincaid.
The district attorney's office appealed the ruling and the Appeals Court agreed with the prosecution that any information about Lampron's flight came from juror speculation and not from some outside sources and that the evidence at trial permitted the jurors to infer that Lampron had fled. The court also ruled that the overwhelming evidence of Kincaid's guilt outweighed any influence that this information may have had upon the jury.
The Supreme Judicial Court granted further appellate review of the Appeals Court's decision and affirmed Curley's order allowing a new trial for Kincaid. His second trial in December 2006 before Agostini resulted in a mistrial after the jury failed to deliver a verdict. Kincaid subsequently filed a motion to dismiss the indictments on double jeopardy grounds in the Superior Court. Agostini denied the motion and the Appeals Court affirmed the Superior Court's order.
Lampron was captured in Pennsylvania in 2002 and subsequently charged; he was sentenced to seven to 10 years in 2005, which he is serving concurrently with a similar sentence for his conviction on another rape in 1999. A third man, William E. Jansen of Pittsfield, was charged in October 2005. He was prosecuted along with Kincaid in the trial that ended with a hung jury. Both he and Kincaid attempted to have the charges dismissed but an Appeals Court last December upheld the indictments.
The three men were sharing an apartment in Lee when Jansen allegedly videotaped a masked Lampron and Kincaid have sex with the woman. The tape never surfaced but witnesses who saw it say the woman appeared to have been incapacitated.
Capeless, who as first assistant district attorney was the prosecuter at Kincaid's first trial, had high praise for the victim and the police investigators who have made numerous court appearances since 2000.
"I have made every effort during the past 10 years to ensure that these horrible crimes were fully investigated and vigorously prosecuted, and that the convictions obtained were forcefully defended," he said. "I am gratified that our work and the decision of the first jury has finally been vindicated. The convictions in this case came about only as the result of a dogged, professional investigation by State Police Trooper Brian Berkel, the stoic persistence of the victim in seeing the case through, the commendable actions of the other witnesses in coming forward with their information, and the support and compassion shown to these persons by victim assistance advocate Mary Shogry. I am particularly pleased for all of them."
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Brackett Sentenced in Bunny Killings
Wayne Brackett walks the track on Noel Field during Relay for Life in 2010 in this iBerkshires file photo.
The 23-year-old North Adams man was caught on video June 9 committing mayhem on pet rabbits housed at Berkshire County Construction on Ashland Street after failing to gain entrance into several vehicles on the property. He admitted to killing five rabbits and breaking and entering.
He pleaded guilty to five counts each of animal cruelty and killing an animal, and single counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime with intent to commit a felony and wanton destruction of property worth more than $250.
Judge Michael Ripps ordered Brackett to serve concurrent two-year sentences in the Berkshire County House of Correction on the cruelty to animal charges and two-year concurrent sentences to be served on and after the first sentence on the breaking and entering and destruction charges.
He also was placed on two years' probation on the charges of killing an animal on the condition he have no contact with the victims, undergo drug and alcohol screening and perform 100 hours of community service work during the probationary period.
The investigation was conducted by members of the North Adams Police Department and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Wayne Brackett walks the track on Noel Field during Relay for Life in 2010 in this iBerkshires file photo.
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