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Driver in Dead Man's Curve Crash Facing Charges
Staff Reports On: 12:14AM / Thursday April 18, 2013
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The driver of the tractor-trailer that crashed last week is facing multiple charges.

FLORIDA, Mass. — The driver of a tractor-trailer that flipped over on Dead Man's Curve last Wednesday is facing multiple charges and the loss of his commercial driver's license.

Clement Leslie, 51, of Vineland, N.J., is still at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, where he is expected to undergo another surgery on Thursday.

State Trooper David McKearney of the Cheshire Barracks said Wednesday that he had served Leslie at the hospital with charges of operating to endanger, failure to stay within marked lanes and speeding.

"We believe he was reading a magazine while he was driving," he said. McKearney said Leslie told him that he took the turn too fast.

The accident is still under investigation.

The accident occurred at about 4:40 p.m. on April 11 and closed the state highway between Whitcomb Hill Road and Charlement until 2 the following morning. The load of lime Leslie was hauling was dumped across the steep incline above the Cold River when the truck crashed onto the guardrails. It took more than an hour to extricate Leslie from his crushed cab.  

McKearney, who has a background in federal and state trucking regulations, said Leslie was also in violation of the commercial vehicle enforcement section of federal truck laws. Some were mechanical issues with the truck that "were not contributory to the accident," said McKearney.

"The most important violation is the 14-hour rule," he said. Drivers by law are not allowed to drive beyond the 14th-hour of coming on duty, which for Clement was 2:30 p.m. "He should not have been on the road."

Leslie also failed to take a Breathalyzer within eight hours or a drug test within 32 hours of the accident, as required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Leslie was driving for Paladino Farms of Rosenhayn, N.J. McKearney said they would move to immediately suspend his CDL license out of New Jersey.  

"We're going to do every thing we can to keep him from driving again," said the trooper.

 



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North Adams Men Charged After High-Speed Chase
Vermont State Police On: 12:58AM / Thursday April 11, 2013
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READSBORO, Vt. — Two North Adams, Mass., men are facing multiple charges after leading state police on a seven-mile high-speed chase in a stolen car early Tuesday morning and crashing at the intersection of Routes 8 and 100.

Shawn M. Tripodes and Matthew R. Rodriques, both 18, were taken to North Adams Regional Hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening.

The pursuit began with the report of a stolen vehicle, a 2003 Subaru Forester that was later found abandoned later Tuesday morning on Pike Road in Whitingham.

The owner of the vehicle said he saw someone taking the Forester from his Merrifield Road home in Whitingham and heading toward Route 100 at about 1:46 a.m.

Sgt. Jeffrey Trudeau of the Brattleboro barracks was checking Merrifield Road when he spotted what he believed to be a suspicious vehicle, a 2008 Toyota Camry, with Massachusetts plates flipping on its headlights and quickly exiting a driveway. The trooper attempted to pull the car over at about 2:08 a.m.

The vehicle failed to stop and rapidly accelerated southbound on Route 100 toward the town of Readsboro, according to police, and was observed crossing the yellow centerline and traveling at a very high rate of speed.

The Camry led state police through Readsboro toward Stamford and state border. Massachusetts State Police and North Adams Police were notified of the motor vehicle pursuit and direction of travel. Massachusetts State Police responded back that they had taken a report of a stolen Toyota Camry from the town of Florida, Mass.

The Toyota Camry reached speeds in excess of 100 mph as it approached Heartwellville, where it failed to make the sharp corner at the highway junction. It skidded off the roadway and collided with several trees.  

The operator, who was later identified as Tripodes, fled from the vehicle, said police, and a short foot pursuit ensued before he was apprehended. Rodriques was located still in the passenger seat. Neither were wearing seat belts; vehicle is considered a total loss.

Readsboro and Stamford fire departments and North Adams Ambulance responded to the scene to assist. Heartwellville Towing removed the vehicle from the scene.

The Camry was confirmed to be stolen. State police also located a variety of gift cards, credit cards, a Vermont identification card and empty wallets inside the vehicle. Some items were tracked back to a residence on Route 100 in Stamford. The victim was unaware that the items and cash had been stolen during the night from her unlocked vehicle.  

Several other stolen credit cards located are tied to a theft investigation in the town of Adams, Mass.  State police also discovered that the residence that the Toyota Camry had originally fled from on Merrifield Road had been entered. The homeowners, who were home that night, discovered at 6 a.m. that suspects had allegedly entered their attached garage and ransacked their vehicle.

This case is still under investigation.  

Tripodes was processed for operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs and he submitted to a blood test. He was issued a citation to appear at Vermont Superior Court, Windham Criminal Division, to answer to the charges of operating under the influence of drugs, attempting to elude a police officer, grossly negligent operation, and possession of stolen property.

Rodriques was issued a citation to appear in court to answer to the charge of possession of stolen property.



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Tractor-Trailer Accident Closes Route 2; Driver Taken to BMC
By Tammy Daniels On: 07:46PM / Wednesday April 10, 2013
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A tractor-trailer accident on Route 2 sent the driver to BMC and closed the road for several hours.

Update: The driver, Clement Leslie, 51, of Vineland, N.J., was in guarded condition at BMC.

Update: Route 2 was still closed as of 11:30 p.m. Traffic was being diverted down Whitcomb Hill Road to Zoar Road.

FLORIDA, Mass. — A tractor-trailer crash along the infamous Dead Man's Curve on Route 2 left the driver trapped for more than an hour and dumped hundreds of pounds of lime across the steep incline above the Cold River.

The state highway was closed shortly before 5 p.m. from South County Road to Charlemont and was expected to be shut down until later Wednesday night.

The driver of the truck, who has not been identified, was taken by North Adams Ambulance to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield.

"He lost control coming down the hill," said Florida Fire Chief Michael Bedini. "He's lucky to be alive.

"We used the Jaws of Life and the wreckers to get where we had to go."

The truck was eastbound on the steep curving section of the highway went the driver apparently lost control coming around the curves and flipped the truck onto the guardrails. The cab of the truck was situated on its side in a way that the driver's head was just past the guardrail and his body still seat-belted in the cab.

Joseph Dean of Dean's Towing positioned two of his large wreckers with cables attached to the truck's underside while emergency responders jacked up the cab an inch or two at a time until they could cut away the driver's seat and pull him out. The driver was reportedly alert and speaking to rescuers during; state police reported that he did not have life-threatening injuries.

State police investigators were at the scene and pointed to the cab's destroyed dashboard and broken off brake controls. The truck apparently sliced through a section of the guardrails before coming to rest on top them.

Clarksburg Fire Department also responded to the scene.

The semi is owned by Paladino Farms of Rosenhayn, N.J., which transports agricultural, fuel and building supplies, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The trailer was carrying pallets of lime, bagged as ViCALity Albaglos, a product of Specialty Minerals in Adams. Dean said the trailer was destroyed and would have to be removed in pieces.

While the dangerous curve has seen plenty of crashes in the past, firefighters at the scene couldn't think of one this significant in the last few years. "It's been a long time since we had an accident up here," said Bedini. 

This is the second significant accident in three weeks on the steep state highway. On March 25, two tractor-trailers collided head-on in North Adams when one lost its brakes coming down the west side of the Mohawk Trail. Both drivers survived the crash.

 

 

 

 

 



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Pittsfield Police Seeking Witnesses Of Car vs. Pedestrian Crash
Staff Reports On: 10:35AM / Wednesday April 10, 2013
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police are looking for anyone who witnessed a car collide with a pedestrian on Tuesday.

Police say at 8:47 a.m. a 2009 Hyundai Tuscon operated by 65-year-old Marie Guertin Fedoryshyn collided with a pedestrian at the intersection of First and Fenn Streets. The pedestrian was transported to Berkshire Medical Center and then later to Baystate Medical Center by life flight.

Police are now asking anyone who may have witnessed the collision to contact Officer Michael Silver in the traffic bureau at 413-448-9700 ext. 409.



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Adams Police Seeking Information in Bar Robbery
By Tammy Daniels On: 04:27PM / Tuesday April 09, 2013
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ADAMS, Mass. — Police are asking the public for help in finding a thief who made off with a safe from Chick's Lunch last month.

The burglary occurred in the early morning hours of Saturday, March 23, after the Columbia Street bar had closed. Owner Dennis Knapp discovered the break-in at about 10 a.m. when he went to open up.

Video from security cameras show the thief coming from the back of the building, around into the kitchen area and behind the horseshoe bar. He is wearing a two-tone jacket, lighter on top, and a baseball cap pulled down over his eyes, and is carrying some type of strapped bag. He looks away and down from the cameras — located at three spots around the bar — the entire time.

He enters the screen at about 1:13 a.m. and leaves about a minute later, hauling the small safe with the belts. He also appears to open some of the cooler doors as he moves around the bar.

Police didn't want to give out too much information during the investigation but confirmed there was cash in the safe. They released the video to see if anyone could aid in identifying the suspect.

"We're hoping someone might recognize the jacket or the way he walks," said Officer Keith Erdeski.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Erdeski at 413-743-1212.  
 



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