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Great Barrington Fire Department Rescues Hiker from Monument Reservation

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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Chief Charles Burger reports that the Great Barrington Fire Department rescued an injured hiker on Monument Reservation last Friday.

At approximately 11 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 5, members of the Fire Department's technical rescue team responded to Monument Reservation for reports of a 22-year-old woman with an injured ankle.

Upon arrival, rescuers determined that the hiker was stuck on a steep hill, and the Western Mass Technical Rescue team, along with the Sheffield Fire Department's ATV and Rescue Sled, were called to assist.

Rescuers hiked for approximately 45 minutes to reach the victim, carrying extensive medical and rescue equipment. The victim, who had slipped while hiking with her dog, was found in stable condition but in severe pain from a broken ankle. Medics from South Berkshire Ambulance treated her injuries.

Firefighters rigged rope systems to lower the victim in a Stokes basket (rescue stretcher) down a steep, rocky section of trail. She was then carried a half mile to a Sheffield Fire Department ATV specifically designed to carry the rescue stretcher.

Firefighters and rescue officials completed the rescue around 1:30 p.m. The hiker was transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield for further evaluation.

"These operations always take an extended period of time to ensure that the victim and all crew members get out of the situation safely," Burger said. "I would like to thank everyone who worked hard to make this a successful rescue, including the incredible help from other responding agencies."

Southern Berkshire Ambulance, Sheffield Fire Department, the Western Mass Technical Rescue Team, and a county fire coordinator were on scene to assist.

The Western Mass Technical Rescue Team is run by Western Mass Fire Chiefs and covers Berkshire, Hamden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties. Firefighters from Great Barrington, Lenox, Pittsfield, Dalton, and North Adams staff the Berkshire County Division.

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Pittsfield Police Investigating Stabbing At Burbank Park

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police are investigating a stabbing which left one man in critical condition.
 
Police say at 1:49 a.m. Tuesday morning patrol units were leaving Berkshire Medical Center when a man with traumatic injuries resulting from a stabbing at Burbank Park arrived. The victim was being transported to the hospital in a privately-owned vehicle.
 
"Initially witness account were contradictory, some claiming that the victim was suffering from a gunshot wound, others claiming a stab wound," Police wrote in a statement released Tuesday evening.
 
BMC staff administered medical attention while additional police patrol units were dispatched to Burbank Park. There a crime scene was secured and evidence and interviews led to "preliminary information that he suffered multiple stab wounds."
 
Police say the victim is "in critical condition."
 
Evidence was collected at both BMC and Burbank Park and Police are asking anyone with information about the incident to contact them at 413-448-9700, through the drug tips line at 413-448-9708, or by texting PITTIP and a message to 847411.
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Superior Court Briefs: Aug. 1 - Aug. 3

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Monday, August 1.
 
Israel Delgado, 43, of Mellville, N.J. had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of trafficking in cocaine.
 
He was released on $3,000 cash or $30,000 surety bail. The charge stems form an incident in Great Barrington on February 20, 1998 - he has been in default since then.
 
Cases Heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Wednesday, August 3.
 
Ronald King, 56, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to a single count of possession of heroin with intent to distribute.
 
He was ordered to serve 194 days of a one-year sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction. He was also placed on one-year probation.
 
The charge stems from the execution of a search warrant at 51 Cherry Street on March 20, 2014. Single counts of drug violation in a school zone and conspiracy to violate drug laws were dismissed by the state.
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North Adams Firefighters Rescue Man From Gorge

By Tammy Daniels
iBerkshires Staff

Firefighter Matthew Davis calls down to Taylor Sheldon as he puts on a safety harness.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Firefighters rescued a 21-year-old man Thursday night who became trapped in a gorge at Natural Bridge State Park.

Taylor Sheldon of North Adams had been swimming with friends at the park when the group headed back up toward where their car was parked at the Franklin Street gate. Sheldon, however, climbed up through a waterfall and became separated from the group, said Officer Kyle Cahoon.

The found him nearly an hour later stuck in the dark in the rushing water at the bottom of the 60-foot gorge. He couldn't make his way back down in the dark and couldn't get out from the top.

Firefighter Matthew Davis took the lead in the rescue as a member of the Western Massachusetts Regional Technical Rescue Team. Fire Director Stephen Meranti said the other firefighters were also trained in rope rescue at an operational level.

A harnessed Davis worked his way through the bushes at the top of the gorge down to spot where he could speak to Sheldon as other first-responders watched from the bridge over the chasm.

There was difficulty in communicating with Sheldon over the roar of the water and flashlights were used to help orient him toward Davis.

"Down in gorge, it's not conducive to sound to begin with plus the water, it amplifies and echoes in there," said Sgt. James Burdick.

Two cruisers were turned to put headlights on the area so the rescue team could see to gear up. Sheldon was dropped a harness to put on to aid in the rescue and a ladder was lowered down to him.

"You want to pick the safest way to pull him out of there and it really was by ladder," Meranti said. "You lower the ladder down and let him climb up ... if he was unconscious or anything like that we would have put him in a Stokes basket and use a really intricate hauling system get him out of there."

Sheldon was alert and conscious able to climb up the ladder. But he was chilled from standing in the water for nearly two hours.

He was, however, released to family after being checked out by emergency medical technicians.

"It worked great with the police officers here, the ambulance EMTs were right in with us," said Meranti. "Everybody worked well together."

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Williamstown Motorcyclist Struck by Dump Truck

By Stephen Dravis
iBerkshires Staff

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A Williamstown man was transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield on Tuesday evening after a two-vehicle collision on Curran Highway (Route 8) near Hodges Cross Road, police said.

Matthew Wilson, 24, was taken by North Adams Ambulance Service to Pittsfield after his motorcycle was struck by a dump truck driven by a New York man, according to Police Sgt. Jason Wood.

Wilson, who was aboard a 2015 Honda CBR, was traveling south, as was the 2000 Ford F450 driven by John Williams Jr. of Troy, N.Y., Wood said.

"[Williams] stated that he was looking to turn into Walmart," Wood said. "He missed that [right hand turn] and then made an abrupt left toward Hodges Cross Road, hitting the motorcycle, which at that point was roughly parallel.”

Williams initially was cited for an unsafe lane change, Wood said. After further investigation, he was arrested and charged with unlawful operation of a motor vehicle, operating with a suspended license in Massachusetts, failure to use care when turning and an unsafe lane change.

Williams was released later Tuesday evening by the Clerk of the Courts, Wood said.

Wood said police have yet to determine the owner of the Ford dump truck, which bore paper license plates from New York.

Both the truck and motorcycle were removed from the scene by Dean's Quality Auto and Truck.

The initial call reporting the accident was received by North Adams Police at 7:18 p.m., Wood said. The North Adams Fire Department and Adams Police Department assisted at the scene.

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