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Abandoned Bag Prompts Bridge Closure

Tammy Daniels & Andy McKeever

State police bomb squad examine X-rays of the suspicious bag left under Veterans Memorial Bridge, which is shown in the background.

 

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A bag full of dirty clothes shut down one of the city's main arteries for more than two hours on Wednesday night.

The suspicious bag was reported abandoned under the Veterans Memorial Bridge just after 6 p.m.

An initial investigation led police to believe the bag could contain a bomb or explosives and they closed the roads around 7 p.m. The bomb squad was called about less than a half hour later.

"We had a suspicious package under the artery," said Public Safety Commissioner E. John Morocco, who described it as "an old dufflebag."  "We originally checked it with a thermal scanner and we found a hot spot."

That was enough to call in the state police bomb squad, he said. Two squad members arrived around 9 p.m.

Access to Marshall Street between Main and River streets and Veterans Memorial Bridge, carrying Route 2, was blocked and diverted over Main Street and River Street.

Shortly before 10 p.m. state police finished the investigation and found the bag was not harmful. They took X-rays using a portable machine to determine there were no explosives. Once that was completed, a trooper wearing a safety vest opened the bag and looked inside to confirm.

The team brought along the remote-control robot but did not deploy it.

A dufflebag of some type can be seen under the Veterans Memorial Bridge.

"The city should be so fortunate to have such a quick response by police, fire department and ambulance," Mayor Richard Alcombright said when the roads were being reopened. "I want to give a very big thank you to the state police for their help."

The four-lane memorial bridge continues Route 2 over Marshall Street, the Hoosic River and parking lots on both sides of Marshall.

What appeared to be a large, dark bag of some sort could be seen about midway between the concrete pillars supporting the deck on the edge of the east side of the parking lot near the sidewalk at about 9 p.m. The nearby Mohawk Tavern was dark and reportedly evacuated.

North Adams Police were being aided by a state police cruiser and Clarksburg police to prevent motorists from driving under or over the bridge.

Officer Jason Wood said the bag was "full of dirty clothes." An officer is still investigating but Wood wasn't sure it if there was anything in the bag to identify the owner. "It was in an odd spot," he said, adding the bag is now "lost property."

The last time a suspicious package raised this level of caution was more than two years during a failed bank robbery attempt by Robert A. Bywaters. Bywaters claimed to have a bomb in a bag he left on the sidewalk in front of Hoosac Bank on Main Street.

The main drag was shut down for nearly 12 hours before the state police bomb squad removed the bag and disposed of the contents.

Updated and rewritten throughout to add and correct details; Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010, 10:58 p.m.

Update on Saturday, Dec.18: The bag turns out to have been stolen from a woman at the Thrifty Bundle laundromat on State Road. According to a report in the North Adams Transcript, someone grabbed her purse and, when she gave chase, someone else stole her bag.

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MCLA Investigates Armed Robbery

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — An armed robbery at one of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' Townhouse dormitories on Tuesday is under investigation.

The district attorney's office released a brief statement late Wednesday saying no one was hurt during the 6:30 p.m. robbery the day before. MCLA campus police and state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office are requesting that anyone who was in the area at the time or who may have information about the incident contact the college's office of public safety at 413-662-5284.

Fred Lantz, spokesman for the district attorney's office, and Bernadette Lupo, MCLA's spokeswoman, both said they could not provide any additional information because the investigation was ongoing.

 

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Adams Crash Injures Two

Staff Reports


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Updated 9:08 a.m. A Lifeflight helicopter turned back after hitting poor conditions over the mountains. The patient was taken to North Adams Regional Hospital and a few hours later taken to  Albany (N.Y.) Medical Center by ambulance.

The crash reportedly occurred when the vehicle went over an embankment at the dead end of Highland Avenue. That information has not been confirmed by police.

ADAMS, Mass. — A single-vehicle accident early Saturday morning left two young people seriously injured, according to scanner reports.

A Lifeflight helicopter that was to land in the Adams Internists parking lot turned back after hitting poor conditions over the mountains. It was supposed to take one of the vehicle's occupants to Albany (N.Y.) Medical Center, reportedly with a head injury. A second individual was taken by ambulance to Berkshire Medical Center.

The crash occurred around 1 a.m. on Glendale Drive, a dense residential area off West Road. Police were looking for a third occupant who was believed to have left the scene.

Adams and North Adams ambulance services responded to the scene along with police and firefighters.

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Man Killed by Bull in Clarksburg

Staff Reports

CLARKSBURG, Mass. — A man was killed Wednesday afternoon while trying to move a bull into a pen at a Daniels Road dairy farm and another seriously injured.

Paul F. Marshall, 78, was leading the bull across a field when it attacked Marshall and Everett Sherman, a neighbor trying to help, said police. Marshall was pronounced dead at the scene. Sherman was reportedly gored on his side by the bull and taken to North Adams Regional Hospital and later transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield.

The bull, described as black with a white mark, was to be put down last Thursday. It was one of a number of Holsteins kept at the farm.

The bull was in a back garden area with eight cows, said Police Chief Michael Williams on Monday. It wasn't clear if the cattle were loose and Marshall was trying to pen them up or if he was just moving them.

Marshall's wife, Carolyn, saw much of what happened and at 1:22 p.m. called the dispatcher in North Adams saying her husband was being attacked by a bull.

Firefighters were first on the scene, followed by police and two North Adams Ambulance Service vehicles. Williams said state police detectives attached to the district attorney's office also responded, as did Medical Examiner Dr. Benjamin Glick. The DA's office did not have any further information.

Emergency responders remained on the scene for several hours.

The Marshalls purchased the farm, which runs along the south side of Daniels Road between East Road and Walker Street, in 1983 from the Massachusetts State College Builiding Authority.

The land had been used by what was then North Adams State College for a sustainable agricultural program. More recently, it became the home of Square Roots Farm, which is leasing land to grow produce and some livestock.

Original post Saturday, Nov. 25, 2010. Updated Nov. 29, 2010 with more information.

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North Adams Man Crashes SUV Into Home

Andy McKeever

 

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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