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Vermont Principal Charged With Stealing Lunch Money

Staff Reports
Michael W. Heller is charged with embezzling from Readsboro School.

READSBORO, Vt. — The principal of Readsboro Central School has been charged with stealing kids' lunch money.

Michael W. Heller, 40, of Fairfax, turned himself into state police on Monday after an investigation into missing funds at the school. He has been charged with petit larceny, forgery and embezzlement related to the misuse of more than $4,000 in grant funds and $200 in student lunch money.

Windham Southwest Supervisory Union Superintendent Richard McClements contacted state police on Dec. 19 after a financial audit discovered funds were missing. According to state police, the superintendent's office as well as the Readsboro School Board suspected the school's principal was misappropriating funds.

During his two-year tenure, said state police, Heller had applied for and received grant money for school-related items that he used for hotels, meals and shopping.

When questioned by the School Board, Heller submitted self-manufactured lists of transactions in an attempt to cover his illegal activities, said state police.

During the investigation, state police also interviewed the principal's secretary, who reported an ongoing theft of children's lunch money.  Police say they have sufficient evidence that showed Heller was responsible for taking approximately $200 over a period of time, for his own use, instead of handing it in for the students' lunches.

Heller was processed and released on conditions that include an initial appearance date on Jan. 27 in Vermont District Court in Bennington.

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Superior Court Briefs: January 2.

Staff Reports

Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Thursday, January 2.

Kevin Reale, 20, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of illegal possession of a firearm, illegal possession of a loaded firearm, receiving stolen property under $250 and possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card.

He was released on $2,500 cash or $25,000 surety bail. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on November 26, 2013.

Delilah Saunders, 43, of Bronx, N.Y. had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on single counts of trafficking in oxycodone, conspiracy to violate drug laws, to wit: trafficking in oxycodone and conspiracy to violate drug laws, to wit: distribution of cocaine.

She was released on personal recognizance. The incidents allegedly occurred in Pittsfield and Richmond between April 1, 2013 and July 20, 2013.

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Williamstown Crash Sends Three To Hospital

Staff Reports

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Three people were taken to Berkshire Medical Center after crashing into a telephone pole on Cold Spring Road.

Police say a 1996 Honda Civic registered to a woman from Pittsfield crashed into the utility pole near Mezze's Bistro and Bar on Route 7 at about 11:44 a.m. Williamstown Police, Fire and Village Ambulance Service were all dispatched and the Jaws of Life was used to extricate the driver.

The driver and two passengers were transported to BMC in Pittsfield with non-life threatening injuries. Police said the accident is still under investigation but non-criminal charges are probable.

Police are not yet releasing the names of those involved but say none of them have life-threatening injuries.

The crash split a utlity pole and Cold Spring Road was closed to all traffic from the time of the crash until about 1:30 p.m. when one lane was reopened. National Grid and Verizon were called in to replace the pole.

 

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Crash On Mall Road Sends Four to the Hospital

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

State Police closed off the Mall Road at the intersection of Route 7.

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — A two-car crash closed the Mall Road for about two hours Thursday night and sent four to the hospital.

According to Police Officer Brad Lepicier, two sedans collided on what is officially known as the Route 7/8 Connector Road and one vehicle had caught on fire.

Bystanders pulled three people from the burning vehicle and they were transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield. The driver of the other vehicle, who was traveling eastbound, was also transported to the hospital.

"All four people were transported to the hospital," Lepicier said, later adding that "bystanders pulled three people out of the car that was on fire before I got there."

The extent of the injuries is not known at this time but initial scanner reports indicated the injuries were "serious."

On Thursday night, Lepicier said he had not determined a cause of the crash and is not yet releasing the names of those involved.

Police immediately closed the road after responding to the call at about 7:30 p.m. and Cheshire Police and State Police were stationed at each end: Cheshire near the Berkshire Mall and state police at the intersection of Route 7. Lanesborough Fire and Ambulance responded as did County Ambulance.

The road was reopened at about 9:30 p.m. The accident happened near the top of the long, steep Connector Road, which was recently rebuilt. Snow and ice during the day Thursday created dangerous conditions on many county roads. The Mall Road call was the second major accident Lanesborough Police responded to on Thursday. They were also called to assist Williamstown Police in response to a head-on collision on Route 7 earlier in the day.

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Police Identify Victim in Fatal Williamstown Accident

By Stephen Dravis
Williamstown Correspondent

UPDATED: Friday, Dec. 27 at 1:56 p.m.

Arlene Campoli, 72, of Cole Avenue, Pittsfield, has been identified as the passenger killed in Thursday's accident.. Campoli was the passenger in a 2010 Hyundai Elantra driven by Jill Greene, 53, also of Pittsfield.

Greene is currently in "critical condition" at Berkshire Medical Center.

Police say Greene's vehicle crossed into the southbound lane and crashed into the 2009 Buick Lucerne driven by 73-year-old Helen Munzer of Brookline. Munzer and her passenger, John Munzer, also of Brookline, are both listed in stable condition at Berkshire Medical Center.

Police say road conditions "appear to be a principal contributing factor to the crash."

Both vehicles were removed from the scene by Dean's Quality Auto in North Adams.


A two-car accident has closed Route 7; police are warning of slippery roads.

Update 9:10 p.m.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A two-car accident Thursday morning killed one and sent three others to the hospital with serious injuries.

Police have not released the name of the woman passenger killed in the crash pending notification of family; they are also withholding the names of the three others currently at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield.

A 2009 Buick and a 2010 Hyundai were heavily damaged in the crash that occurred about 10:21 a.m. on New Ashford Road about a mile south of the Store at Five Corners.

Each car had a driver and one passenger; firefighters had to use the Jaws of Life to extricate both occupants from one of the cars.

All four were taken to BMC and the female passenger of the Hyundai was transferred to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield where she died from injuries sustained in the crash, said Sgt. Scott McGowan.

It was snowing at the time of the crash and police warned of slick roads. New Ashford Road was closed from 10:21 a.m. until 4:45 p.m.

The investigation to determine the cause of the crash is under way by Williamstown and state police. Williamstown Police and Fire responded to the scene, along with Village Ambulance, North Adams Police and Ambulance Service, Lanesborough Police and state police and the State Police Collision Analysis & Reconstruction Section and Crime Scene Services Unit.


WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Local and state police were on the scene of a two-car accident on U.S. Route 7 about a mile south of the Five Corners on Thursday morning.

At 11:30, a Williamstown firefighter on the scene advised motorists queued up in the southbound lane that the road would be closed for at least two more hours.

Police at the scene reported that at least four occupants — two from each vehicle — were transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield. No information was available about their injuries.

Both cars sustained heavy front-end damage.

North Adams police assisted at the scene by helping keep southbound motorists from proceeding through the Five Corners intersection of Routes 7 and 43.

Officials at the scene advised that roads are very slick and recommended people stay off the road ore use extreme caution.

The region was expected to get an inch or more of snow through the day. Snow has been falling since earlier in the morning.

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