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River Street's East End Closed for Pole Replacement in North Adams

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — River Street was closed between Freeman Avenue and Eagle Street for a few hours on Monday afternoon to replace a utility pole. 
 
Police reported that the pole was struck in a motor vehicle accident on Monday morning. The pole is located by Dave's Package Store at the corner of Eagle and River. 
 
"Crews are working diligently to resolve this issue and the roadway will be reopened as soon as possible,"  stated Lt. Anthony Beverly in a posting on the Police Department's Facebook page. 
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Woman Killed in Two-Car Crash in Richmond

RICHMOND, Mass. — A two-car crash on Route 41 at Dublin Road at about 5:30 on Wednesday evening resulted in the death of a 72-year-old woman.
 
On Thursday, Police identified the victim as Barbara Detlefsen of Slippery Rock, Pa. The crash is still under investigation.
 
Preliminary investigation by troopers assigned to state police barracks in Lee show that a 2012 Toyota Camry and a 2016 Honda Accord were operating on Route 41 when, for reasons still under investigation, they collided resulting in injuries to three people. 
 
Two occupants in the Toyota and one occupant in the Honda were all transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield for treatment. The 73-year-old woman succumbed to her injuries shortly after arriving at the hospital.
 
The cause of this crash remains under investigation with assistance from the state police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section, Crime Scene Services Section, and troopers assigned to the Berkshire County district attorney's office. State police were assisted on scene by Richmond Fire and EMS and West Stockbridge Police Department.
 
No further information is available at this time, an update will be provided as more information becomes available.
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Former Great Barrington Assistant Tax Collector Charged With Embezzlement

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A former Great Barrington assistant tax collected is being charged with embezzlement after allegedly stealing more than $100,000 in excise and property taxes.
 
Deborah Ball, 63, of Great Barrington was arraigned in Superior Court on Wednesday for what officials are calling a "Ponzi scheme." Ball is accused of taking real estate and excise taxes residents and business owners paid in cash and attempted to cover it up by applying portions of check payments made by others. The scheme was allegedly uncovered in 2018 through an audit by Scanlon and Associates.
 
"The Town of Great Barrington will continue to work closely with our auditors and state and local authorities until this matter is resolved. The town has implemented proper controls to prevent this type of incident from happening again in the future.  Regarding the current incident, the Town is bonded and insured for losses such as this," reads a statement from Town Manager Mark Pruhenski.
 
Ball was indicted on July 31 on charges of embezzlement by a municipal officer and larceny. Officials suspect the embezzlement had been ongoing for at least three years. 
 
"As public officials, we have a responsibility to represent our communities and keep their best interests in mind, but Ms. Ball failed in that critical duty," District Attorney Andrea Harrington said in a prepared statement. "In bringing these charges, we are holding Ms. Ball accountable for betraying the trust that the community
placed in her."
 
The district attorney's office said that in 2018 Scanlon and Associates first noticed discrepancies and the State Police assigned to the district attorney's office and Great Barrington police began investigating. 
 
Ball had worked with the town for close to 35 years and was played on administrative leave on Feb. 21 and separated from employment on March 15.
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Lee Woman Seriously Injured in Stockbridge Road Accident

Staff Reports
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Police say a pot-impaired teenager seriously injured a young Lee woman on Wednesday night when his car hit her on Stockbridge Road.
 
Police say 19-year-old Khali Zabian was northbound when her car veered off the highway and struck guardrails near Fountain Pond. She called 911 to report the accident. 
 
But when Officers Timothy Ullrich and Elias Casey arrived, they found that Zabian had been struck by an oncoming car and had been thrown some distance from her vehicle. 
 
A good Samaritan who had stopped to help her told police that the other vehicle "suddenly came upon them," according to the police report, and "they attempted to run to safety but the female operator was struck."
 
Zabian was taken by Southern Berkshire Volunteer Ambulance to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield. 
 
Police say the driver of the second vehicle is a 17-year-old from Great Barrington who also had a juvenile passenger with him. Ullrich charged the teen with operating under the influence causing serious bodily harm. "Police have probable cause to believe he was impaired after having used marijuana," according to the police press release, and that field sobriety tests were performed at the scene. The boy's name is being withheld because of his age. 
 
Both vehicles sustained significant damage, Zabian's from hitting the guardrails and the boy's from hitting Zabian. 
 
The incident is being investigated by the Police Department and state police Accident Reconstruction & Analysis, Crime Scene Services and detectives from the district attorney's office. The Fire Department, Stockbridge and Monterey officers and state troopers from the Lee barracks also assisted.  
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North Adams Police Investigating Feces Vandalism

Staff Reports
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Authorities are investigating a disturbing incident that occurred early Wednesday morning at Brayton Hill Apartments.
 
According to Facebook posts made by friends and neighbors of the victim, someone smeared feces over her door and air conditioner and left a pile on her deck. 
 
The victim, a single black woman with small children who is not being named, told friends that there had been a loud party in the apartment next door on Tuesday night and a racial slur could be heard repeatedly. That has lead some to believe that it could be a hate crime.
 
The perpetrator was reportedly caught on video by security cameras at the housing complex around 3 a.m. 
 
Police on Thursday offered more information in that officers responded to the 
 
The Facebook post also averred that the perpetrator was wearing clothing similar to that of one of the men at the party, but none of this information could be confirmed. Another poster, who says the gathering was at her home, denied there were any racist elements and said she was told by management that the suspect appeared hours after her guests left.
 
Police Lt. Anthony Beverly on Wednesday stated that police were actively investigating the incident but referred any further questions to the chief of police or the district attorney's office. 
 
According to Facebook posts made by friends and neighbors of the victim, someone smeared feces over her door and air conditioner and left a pile on her deck. 
 
The victim, a single black woman with small children who is not being named, told friends that there had been a loud party in the apartment next door on Tuesday night and a racial slur could be heard repeatedly. That has lead some to believe that it could be a hate crime.
 
The perpetrator was reportedly caught on video by security cameras at the housing complex around 3 a.m. 
 
Police on Thursday offered more information in that officers were dispatched to Brayton Hill at about 8 a.m. on Wednesday.
 
The responding officer and detectives assigned to the case are working with the Brayton Hill property manager, Millenia Housing Management, to determine if a suspect or suspects can be identified. 
 
Police Chief Jason Wood said the department also is working in collaboration with District Attorney Andrea Harrington's office, including investigating possible racist motivations for the act. 
 
"The district attorney's office condemns this behavior,” said Harrington in a statement forwarded by Wood. "We will use the full force of the law to hold accountable those who undermine the peace and safety of our community."
 
Mayor Thomas Bernard on Wednesday night said was aware of the incident and police investigation.
 
The Facebook post also averred that the perpetrator was wearing clothing similar to that of one of the men at the party, but none of this information could be confirmed. Another poster, who says the gathering was at her home, denied there were any racist elements and said she was told by management that the suspect appeared hours after her guests left.
 
Wood's statement said law enforcement will pursue every lead while ensuring that every citizen's constitutional rights are upheld, protected, and respected in the pursuit of justice for the victim of this reprehensible crime.
 
Outrage over the incident was immediate as the post was shared with community groups. A GoFundMe was set up to help the victim purchase a new air conditioner, security cameras in addition to the facility's and new locks, as well as to provide for moving costs should that become necessary. 
 
Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the North Adams Police Department at 413-664-4945.
 
Write-thru at 2:36 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 8, including statement from Wood and Harrington.
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