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Great Barrington Traffic Stop Uncovers 748 Bags of Heroin

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — A traffic stop Tuesday morning on Main Street resulted in the arrest of a local man and the seizure of a large cache of drugs. 
 
Officer Andres Huertas was on patrol when he noticed Ryan P. Babcock operating a vehicle operating on Main Street at about 10:30 a.m. He knew that Babcock's driver's license had been revoked.
 
Huertas stopped the vehicle in front of Town Hall; Officer James Bragdon assisted with the stop. Huertas advised
the 34-year-old Babcock that he was being placed under arrest. 
 
During an inventory of the vehicle, Huertas discovered an "extremely large cache of narcotics." The car was impounded and taken to the police station, where a search warrant was obtained. Assisting Police Officers Christopher Peebles and Bradley Lupiani helped with the search, warrant process and the over-all arrest and investigation.
 
The inventory found 748 bags of heroin, several bags of cocaine, 18 bags of marijuana and several different prescription drugs. Babcock, of Park Street in Housatonic, was charged with the following:
  • Possession of Class A with intent to distribute
  • Possession of Class B with intent to distribute
  • Possession of Class C
  • Possession of Class D with intent to distribute
  • Possession of Class E with intent to distribute
  • Operation of a Motor Vehicle with a revoked license
Babcock was arraigned via a telephone conference call from a cell because courts are limited because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Judge William Rota held him without bail until a further hearing in Southern Berkshire District
Court on Thursday.
 
"This was an outstanding motor vehicle stop and arrest by Officer Huertas," said Chief William Walsh. "It removes a major player in the drug trade from circulation once again, noting Babcock's lengthy criminal record. That's a huge amount of heroin taken off the streets and all of the officers did a commendable job."
 
 
Also, on Wednesday, another driver was arrested on drug charges after she struck a utility pole on Park Street in Housatonic.
 
The report of the single motor vehicle accident was made about noontime and Officers Sam Stolzar and Kris Balestro responded. 
 
Marla J. Monjardo, 51, of Housatonic, was northbound when she went off the road and struck the pole, two parked cars and a guard rail, according to the police report. There were no injuries. 
 
Police say Monjardo was found to be in possession of six bags of heroin and a black-tar substance. She was arrested and charged with Possession of heroin Class A and released without bail for court at a later date. The accident remains under investigation.
     

Rider Dies After Crashing Motorcycle on Stockbridge Road

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — A Hopedale man died from injuries incurred after he lost control of his motorcycle on Saturday. 
 
Glen Sault, 62, was riding with a larger group, all members of Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association of Massachusettss Chapter 2-1, when he lost control of his motorcycle in the travel lane and crashed. 
 
The accident occurred at 2:25 p.m. on Stockbridge Road (Route 7) in the area of Lover's Lane. The group along with a passing trauma doctor quickly stopped
and rendered medical aid until emergency services arrived. Sault was transported to Fairview Hospital by Southern Berkshire Ambulance then by helicopter to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, where he later died. 
 
Based on video obtained from another motorcycle at this time no other vehicles or motorcycles are believed to be involved in the crash, according to police. The crash is being investigated by the Great Barrington Police and state police  assigned to the Berkshire District attorney's office with assistance of the Accident Reconstruction Unit and Crime Scene Services.
 
The Fire Department and Stockbridge Police also responded and assisted at the scene. The road was closed for some time until the accident could be cleared.
     

Dalton Woman Charged With Hit-and-Run in Great Barrington

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — A Dalton woman was charged with motor vehicle offenses after striking a person walking on the side of the road on Vandeusenville Road on Tuesday morning and leaving the scene, according to Great Barrington Police.
 
Police received a report at 10:45 a.m.  that a woman on the side of the road by Bridget's Cemetery that had been struck by a car. Officers Jonathan Finnerty and Samuel Stolzar responded. 
 
They found a 64-year-old woman from Christian Hill Road badly injured. She was transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield by Southern Berkshire Ambulance. Great Barrington Fire Department assisted at the scene. Several car parts were also recovered there.
 
A short time later, Finnerty observed a vehicle matching the description of the wanted car at the Lipton Mart on Stockbridge Road. After an investigation, the driver admitted to striking something but thought it was the guardrail. 
 
Jamie L. Cartwrightjoyner, 36, has been charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident; negligent operation of a motor vehicle; and failure to stay within marked lanes. She will be summonsed to court. 
     

Great Barrington Police Charge Driver for Leaving Scene of Accident

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Police have charged a local man with leaving the scene of an accident that snapped a utility pole in two. 
 
Sgt. Paul Storti, while on patrol, at about 2:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 24, discovered the downed pole and wires across the road at the intersection of Routes 23 and 71. The vehicle had left the scene and appeared to be heading west on Route 71. 
 
The pole and wires caused the roadway to be blocked while utility companies cleaned up the scene. The road re-opened around 10 a.m. on Friday.
 
The investigation uncovered information on the whereabouts of the vehicle and the owner. The vehicle was located at a local business in Egremont and Egremont Police provided assistance.
 
The vehicle's owner admitted to having the accident, according to police.
 
Johnny T. Kanagy of Pumpkin Hollow Road was issued a citation and charged with leaving the scene of an accident. He will appear later in Southern Berkshire District Court.
     

Second Victim in Great Barrington Fire Dies

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Monday's structure fire in Great Barrington has claimed a second victim. 

Susan Romano, 67, died at Albany (N.Y.) Medical Center on Tuesday night. Her husband, Michael Romano, died Monday night. 
 
"On behalf of the town of Great Barrington, I offer our heartfelt condolences to their family. Every fire death is tragic, but the loss cuts deeper during the holidays," Great Barrington Fire Chief Charles Burger said.
 
The couple were pulled from their 24 Silver St. home by firefighters on at about 7:40 p.m. on Monday night. Both were unresponsive and Michael Romano died shortly after at Fairview Hospital. 
 
The fire was contained to the Romano's unit in the eight-apartment building. The blaze is under investigation but the early focus has been on an accidental cause, according to authorities. 
 

______________________________________________________________________________

Original post: Dec. 10, 2019, at 11:52 a.m.

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — One man has died and a woman is in critical condition after a fire Monday evening at the Beech Tree Commons apartment complex.

The Berkshire District attorney's office has identified the deceased as Michael Romano, 68. As of Tuesday, Susan Romano, 67, remains hospitalized at Albany (N.Y.) Medical Center as a result of injuries sustained in the blaze.

The Fire Department was dispatched to a reported structure fire with possible entrapment at 24 Silver St. at approximately 7:40 p.m. Monday. Fire units found fire venting from a rear apartment of an eight-unit apartment building.

A primary search was initiated along with fire attack, officials said in a news release. Two unresponsive occupants were located and rescued within minutes. Southern Berkshire Ambulance provided medical care and transported both patients to Fairview Hospital, where Michael Romano was pronounced dead. 

The fire was quickly knocked down and contained to one unit. Utilities were shut off to the building, forcing the occupants to seek alternative housing for the evening. Accommodations at local hotels were provided by the Beech Tree Commons management.

A second alarm was initially requested dispatching Monterey, Egremont, Stockbridge and Sheffield fire departments but canceled when the fire was brought under control. Great Barrington Fire received assistance on scene from Great Barrington Police, Southern Berkshire Ambulance and the Fire Department Support Group. Lenox Fire provided a RIT team and Sheffield Fire provided station coverage.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Investigators do not believe the cause of the fire is suspicious at this time but the investigation remains ongoing. The Office of the State Fire Marshal, Great Barrington Fire and Police, and Massachusetts State Police are investigating.

     
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