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President of Enviro-Labs Faces Additional Charges
Staff Reports On: 02:33PM / Tuesday April 02, 2013
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — William Enser Jr., the president of Berkshire Enviro-Labs, was back in Superior Court on Tuesday facing new charges.

Enser previously pleaded not guilty to 15 counts of knowingly falsifying reports submitted to the state Department of Environmental Protection and 15 counts of willfully making false reports to MassDEP. He allegedly backdated drinking-water sample analysis to cover up misconduct and feign compliance with environmental laws.

He now faces an additional 14 counts of willfully making false reports to the MassDEP and another 14 counts of knowingly falsifying submitted reports, all of which he pleaded not guilty to in Berkshire Superior Court on Monday. The additional charges brings the total counts up to 58.

According to Attorney General Martha Coakley, Enser, 63, of Lee, continued to work at the lab through February 2013 and failed to submit required sampling that showed bacterial contamination in drinking water samples.

Enser allegedly hid samples that revealed contamination and instead took multiple samples and sent only passing results to the state. Authorities say that in one instance in October 2012, Enser directed an employee to report a drinking water sample which had come from the tap in the Enviro-Labs’ office instead of the public water source.

The lab's certification for testing samples has been revoked by the state.

"These additional charges allege that this defendant failed to submit water sample analysis that showed bacterial contamination to the MassDEP," Coakley said in a press release issued on Tuesday. "He is now prohibited from being involved in the operation of the company and is no longer able to tamper with water testing reports and potentially put people at risk."

After the first arraignment, Enser was prohibited by the court to act as the drinking water system operator, take drinking water samples, conducting water testing or reporting water data. But, he remained active with the company and Judge Daniel Ford ordered receivership of Enviro-Labs. Enser is prohibited from being involved in the company in any way.

"The Environmental Strike Force's continued investigation into the activities of Mr. Enser, who has already been indicted for falsifying drinking water reports, has now revealed evidence of additional fraud," said Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell of MassDEP. "MassDEP is committed to upholding the integrity and the safety of drinking water programs across the Commonwealth."

The investigation began in September 2012. Enser is due back in court in June.



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Pittsfield Police Seeking Suspect in Bank Robbery
Staff Reports On: 04:59PM / Monday April 01, 2013
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Pittsfield Co-op's Dalton Avenue branch was closed Monday afternoon after it was robbed. Above, the suspect in the robbery captured by cameras leaving the scene.

UPDATE: Tuesday, April 2, 2013: Police have released photos of the suspect.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Pittsfield Police Detective Bureau at 413-448-9705.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police are searching for a suspect in the robbery of Pittsfield Cooperative Bank's 110 Dalton Ave. branch.

According to Pittsfield Police, the robbery occurred at about 1 p.m. when a man passed a note to a teller. Police say no weapon was shown but they have not revealed the contents of the note.

An undisclosed amount of cash was taken and the suspect left on foot on Dartmouth Street.

Police Chief Michael Wynn said no one was injured in the incident.

"In a very quick period of time, patrol responded, had good information, description information," he told the Police Advisory Board on Monday evening. "K-9 tracked to an adjoinng street where the suspect, they believe, got into a car."

The suspect is described as a white man, in his late 30s to mid-40s, approximately 5-feet-8 and weighing between 200 and 210 pounds. He was wearing a yellow "Pelle Pelle" T-shirt, tan cap and black rectangular-frame glasses.

The Detective Bureau is reviewing video from the bank and adjoining businesses.

If anyone has information, call the Pittsfield Police Detective Bureau at 413-448-9705.



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Superior Court Briefs: March 25 - March 28.
Staff Reports On: 05:10PM / Friday March 29, 2013
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Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, March 25.

Kevin White, 45, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of breaking and entering in the daytime and larceny over $250.

He was placed on one year probation and ordered to pay $1,500 in restitution. White broke into a home in Hancock on September 7, 2011.

Danielle Kenyon, 50, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to five counts of armed robbery while masked.

She was ordered to serve eight to 10 years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction.

Kenyon took money from the Getty Gas Station on February 5, 2012, Angelina's Sub Shop on February 18, 2013, Palmer's Variety Store on February 21, 2012 and Lipton Mark on February 25, 2012. All incidents were in Pittsfield.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, March 26.

Anthony Teti Jr., 31, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to 21 counts of misuse of a credit card, 20 counts of fraudulent use of a credit car, 17 counts of uttering a false document, 16 counts of forgery of a document, four counts of receiving stolen property over $250, four counts of identity fraud, four counts of larceny from a building, three counts of larceny over $250 from a person over age 60, two counts of attempt to commit a crime to wit: fraudulent use of a credit card, two counts of larceny under $250 from a person over the age of 60 and single counts of forgery of a check, uttering a false check, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, breaking and entering in the daytime, breaking and entering a motor vehicle in the daytime, larceny under $250 and common and notorious thief.

He was sentenced to concurrent three to five years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction all charges except for three counts of identify fraud, two counts of larceny under $250 from a person over age 60, two counts of attempt to commit a crime, two counts of misuse of a credit card and single counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle, larceny under $250 and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license.

He was sentenced to serve concurrent sentences at the Berkshire County House of Corrections on those charges.

A single count of common and notorious thief was dismissed by the state. The incidents occurred in Pittsfield and Cheshire between April 5, 2012 and August 12, 2012.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, March 27.

Christopher Harrison, 44, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of caretaker abuse or neglect of an elder and threat to commit a crime, to wit: murder.

He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $5,000 cash or $50,000 surety bail.

Harrison allegedly failed to take care of a 67-year-old woman between January 1, 2012 and February 22, 2013. He also allegedly threatened to murder a 41-year-old woman between January 1, 2013 and February 22, 2013. Both incidents allegedly occurred in Pittsfield.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, March 28.

Martini Martin, 29, of Englewood, N.J. was sentenced to three to five years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction after pleading guilty on November 7, 2012 to two counts of possession of Oxycontin with intent to distribute and two counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws.

Martin possessed Oxycontin with the intent to sell and conspired with others on April 2, 2010 and May 6, 2010.

Brenda Santos, 23, of Whitman pleaded guilty to a single count of unarmed robbery in connection with the theft of money from the Elm Street branch of Greylock Federal Credit Union on March 30, 2012.

She was placed on two years probation on the condition that Santos attend a six month residential drug treatment program.



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Tractor-Trailer Crash Sends 3 to Hospital, Closes Rte. 2
By Tammy Daniels On: 04:40PM / Monday March 25, 2013
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The impact was so great that the cab on the ABF truck was sheared off and settled pointing in the wrong direction. The small Civic in the middle received minor damage.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A horrific collision between two tractor-trailer trucks on Route 2 on Monday afternoon sent four three people to the hospital and is expected to close the road between Miner and East Main streets for hours.

[Both drivers were in fair or stable condition on Tuesday morning. The road was not reopened until 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday.]

Police say the westbound semi lost its brakes around the Hairpin Turn on the Mohawk Trail. State police followed as he tried to slow the vehicle without success.

The truck hit the median on the eastbound lane at the intersection of Union and Beaver streets and rammed head-on into an ABF semi in the eastbound lane that had just passed Gallup Street.

The accident occurred at about 3:30 p.m.

The impact was so great it sheared off the ABF cab and and destroyed the cab on the runaway truck. The collision also sheared off a utility pole at the bottom of Gallup Street and damaged the corner of a home.

The runaway semi came to rest against the concrete wall of the flood control at the Eclipse Dam. Both drivers were transported at first to North Adams Regional Hospital and were expected to be taken to Baystate Medical or Albany, N.Y. Lifeflight was on its way to North Adams.

Pieces of the cabs and materials inside them were scattered along the roadway, with parts of the blue runaway cab mixed in with the green ABF. Paper littered the road, presumably manifests and other paperwork that was stored in runaway's cab. Diesel fuel was leaking from both trucks.

Sgt. James Burdick said more information on the identities of the drivers would not be available until late Monday or Tuesday. It was not known what the trucks were hauling other than they were not hazardous.

Crews were still working at 9:30 p.m. to get the road cleared and the power back on.

Burdick said he could not remember a similar accident in his nearly 30 years on the force.

A neighbor said she'd heard a bang similar to snowplows hitting her driveway. When she looked out the window, she could see the smashed up blue cab and smoke rising from it and called 911.

Two cars were also involved in the crash. A small gray Civic Honda following the ABF truck had minor damage but a blue Toyota Highlander behind the Civic was hit and received significant front-end damage. The driver of the Highlander, Susan Konopka, 57, was taken to the hospital; the driver of the Civic was speaking to police but was expected to go to the hospital on his own.

Numerous emergency management officials were called to the scene in addition to North Adams Fire and Police. North Adams Ambulance Service was remaining on the scene and setting up its triage tent. The state police were assisting and the accident reconstruction team was on the way. Clarksburg police were also assisting with traffic and Williamstown and Adams Village Ambulance Service was being called for backup coverage. Joseph Dean of Dean's Quality Auto was assessing the damage and getting a team in place for recovery and removal of the vehicles.

The highway is expected to be closed for several hours for investigation and cleanup.


Update: The driver of the runaway truck, Mihai Goaga, 39, of Revere, who is listed as a trucking operator since 2011 by the U.S. Department of Transportation, is at Albany (N.Y.) Medical Center. The driver of the ABF truck, Michael Lemieux, 53, of Bennington, Vt., is at Berkshire Medical Center.

Police Director Michael Cozzaglio said three flatbeds and a dump truck of debris were removed from the area on Monday night and a second dump truck was used on Tuesday morning for final cleanup. Dean's Towing called in a second heavy hauler to aid in the removal.

On Tuesday, the site was limited to one lane as Maxymillian Technologies and the state Department of Environmental Protection's Emergency Response Team removed soil along the flood-control chutes that had been contaminated by diesel fuel.

The sidewalk along the eastbound lane was covered in absorbent material. A strong smell of fuel was still evident at around noon. But fluid seen dripping from Goaga's orange trailer wasn't diesel, said the police director.

"It was partially loaded, it was about one-quarter filled with cooking oil," said Cozzaglio, however, he added that "we estimated approximately 100 gallons of diesel fuel was dumped out all over the area."

Cozzaglio said he and other veterans on the force could not remember any accidents of this magnitude.

"We've never had anything of this size and scope in this confined a space," he said. The emergency training between the various emergency responders came into play as multiple players — from state police to National Grid to local media — descended on the scene.

"That worked out well, that's something we can take out of it. ... I thought everything went pretty smooth for such a horrific event," said Cozzaglio.

North Adams officials have not yet spoken to Goaga but he is believed to have lost his brakes coming down west side of the Mohawk Trail. The accident occurred minutes later.

Cozzaglio confirmed a state trooper came up behind the truck on the descent and noticed the brakes smoking and attempted to stop it on the flatter section of the road approaching West Shaft Road.

"The trooper did make every attempt to try to stop the truck, he used his siren, his lights, the PA system, his radio ... he was trying to contact that truck driver to stop," said Cozzaglio.

It is likely Goaga was no longer able to brake the vehicle, which continued to careen down the highway. A driver who pulled out of Mohawk Forest estimated the truck was doing 65-75 mph as bore down on him; the driver, who posted his experience in the comments below, pulled into the VFW as the truck swerved into the eastbound lane to avoid him. Goaga is also believed to have tried to slow down by hitting the median at the Beaver Street intersection.

This isn't the first time a tractor-trailer has had brake issues coming down the steep trail and a number of readers have wondered why a truck ramp isn't available. Cozzaglio said having one would certainly help but he thinks too often truck drivers unfamiliar with the road overestimate their vehicle's abilities.

"The signage is good on the mountain but these tractor-trailer truck drivers don't heed them and once they get on the slope of the mountain it's too late. ...  He couldn't stop the big rig and this what we have. It's an unfortunate event."



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Superior Court Briefs: March 20 - March 22
Staff Reports On: 11:24AM / Friday March 22, 2013
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Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, March 20.

Matthew King, 31, of Adams pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

He was sentenced to 18 months at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the possession charge and placed on one year probation on the conspiracy charge.

The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at 17 Spring Street in Adams on March 13, 2012.
 
Jessica Marino, 25, of Adams pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

She was sentenced to 36 days at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the possession charge. The conspiracy charge was continued without a finding for six months.

The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at 27 Spring Street in Adams on March 13, 2012.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Friday, March 22.

Kevin Reale, 20, of Pittsfield had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of possession of heroin with intent to distribute.

He was released on personal recognizance. The charge stems from an incident in Pittsfield on Feb. 12.



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News Headlines
Ski Season Gets Under Way
Adams-Cheshire First-Graders Find Success In New Reading Initiative
Mass MoCA's Festival Field Getting New Features
Guest Column: Keeping Your Pet Safe This Holiday
Thanksgiving Greetings
North Adams Church Welcomes New Pastor & Music Director
Lanesborough Outlines 250th Celebration Calendar
'Dumb and Dumber To': It Sure Is
Williamstown Chamber Executive Director Departing
Selectmen May Seek Peer Review of Dollar General Traffic Study
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