Pittsfield Man Killed in Train Accident
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Authorities are investigating the death of a Pittsfield man who was hit and killed by a train late Tuesday afternoon.
Rodney Sumner, 54, died in the collision shortly after 4 p.m. Investigators believe Sumner was in the area observing nearby construction and was unable to get out of the path of the eastbound train.
According to reports in The Berkshire Eagle, Sumner had apparently been watching the demolition work on the Tel-Electric dam on Mill Street for most of the day. The man was apparently on the tracks above the river between South Church Street and Mill Street when a train came through and was unable to get off in time.
A statement from the Berkshire district attorney's office says investigators did not find evidence of Sumner being distracted or impaired. Pittsfield Police are investigating the death as accidental.
According to Amtrak's Twitter alert account, the Lakeshore Limited Train 448 that departed Chicago on Monday was currently east of Pittsfield "due to a trespasser incident." A following tweet stated the train would not continue on to Boston but that alternative transportation would be provided.
The $3.8 million Mill Street dam removal project began last August. The defunct am has been considered a hazard for nearly two decades.
Pittsfield Police, the district attorney's office, and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner responded to the scene. The investigation is ongoing.
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Crash in Stockbridge Leaves Wales Man Dead
STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — The driver of a logging truck was killed Sunday morning after his truck veered off the Massachusetts Turnpike and into a gully.
State troopers from the Lee and Westfield barracks responded at about 7:32 a.m. to reports of a logging truck crash on I-90 Westbound at the 5.6 mile-marker in Stockbridge.
Upon arrival, troopers located the truck off the left side of the highway, where it had crashed into the gully in the median. The driver was identified as Roger F. Tetreault, 73, of Wales and was determined to be deceased at the scene.
The left lane was closed until approximately 2:52 p.m., after the truck was towed and crash reconstruction was complete.
The remaining facts and circumstances remain under investigation by troopers assigned Troop B Headquarters, the Commercial Motor Vehicle Enforcement Section, Crime Scene Services Section (CSSS), Collision Analysis Reconstruction Section and the detective unit assigned to Berkshire County district attorney's office and the state Department of Transportation, all of which assisted on scene.
No further information is currently available.
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Lanesborough Woman Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Lanesborough woman pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court on Friday to embezzling nearly $50,000 over a period of two years.
Elizabeth Hakes, 48, admitted to guilt on two counts of larceny over $1,200 by a single scheme related to embezzling funds from Berkshire Works and the Austen Riggs Center.
The Berkshire district attorney's office requested 18 months of incarceration and two years of probation following. Defense counsel requested a suspended sentence and two years' probation. The state's sentence guidelines call for up to two years of incarceration.
Judge John Agostini sentenced her to two years at the House of Corrections, with one of those years being suspended, and two years of probation following.
Hakes managed federal grant funds for job creation programs at Berkshire Works, the regional office of the state's employment board now known as the MassHire Berkshire Career Center. She used approximately $21,000 of that for personal use between May 2016 and August 2017. Hakes then embezzled approximately $26,000 from Austen Riggs Center while working at the Stockbridge psychiatric center between October 2017 and October 2018.
"This was an abuse of taxpayer money intended to help residents improve their lives. Those who work in the public sector have the responsibility to use taxpayer's funds to strengthen the community they live in," said District Attorney Andrea Harrington. "Crimes like this undermine the public’s trust in government. My office prosecutes these 'white-collar' crimes with the same vigor as any other type of crime."
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Pittsfield Firefighters Douse Structure, Kitchen Fires Thursday
The first was at 6:30 a.m. at 73 McArthur St. According to Deputy Chief Daniel Garner, the Fire Department found fire in the attic and roof on arrival. E-5 crew stretched a 1 3/4-inch hand line and attacked main body of fire. E-1 crew stretched a 2-inch backup hose line. E-3 crew provided water supply and searched the building for occupants. Truck-2 ventilated the roof and salvage/overhaul. Fire was contained to the attic and roof of the single-family residence.
The building's two occupants were displaced but able to find assistance and the Red Cross will assist if needed. The roof and attic space sustained severe fire damage and there was moderate water damage throughout the building. The cause is unknown at at this time and the damage estimate is $25,000.
The second was an oven fire at 38 Grove St. at around 8 p.m. Engine 2, Engine 3, Truck 2, Engine 5, and Car 2 responded. Upon arrival, Deputy Chief Matthew Noyes said firefighters found light smoke coming from the front door of the 2 1/2-story, wood frame, two-family home.
The occupant of the first-floor apartment stated that there was a fire in the kitchen in the rear of the apartment and that everyone was out of the building. Moderate smoke was found in the kitchen as well as fire underneath and behind the gas-fired range extending onto the cabinets and range hood above.
The oven was pulled away from the wall and the fire extinguished with a 20-pound dry chemical extinguisher. Engine 3 went to the basement and found embers smoldering on the sill plate below the oven. This was extinguished with a 2 1/2-gallon water can. The gas supply to the range was shut off in the basement. The electric was also shut off to the first-floor apartment at the master disconnect to that apartment located in the basement.
Truck 2 set up positive pressure ventilation and performed overhaul of the wall behind the oven where no fire extension was found. Engine 5 staged for water supply. Car 2 also requested a fire investigator and the Red Cross responded to provide assistance to the occupants of the first-floor apartment who were displaced. The occupant of the second-floor apartment (40 Grove St.) was able to remain as there was still electrical power to the apartment and no apparent hazards.
The building suffered minor fire heat and water damage and the cause is considered accidental.
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Adams, State Police Investigating Death During Dog Attack
Complete write-thru with updated information from original post at 4:14 p.m.
ADAMS, Mass. — An Adams man is dead after a bizarre incident in which he was mortally wounded when a good Samaritan tried to save him from a dog attack.
The name of the victim is being witheld pending identification by the Chief Medical Examiner's Office and notification to the next of kin.
According to a statement from the Berkshire district attorney's office, the responding police shot two aggressive dogs outside an apartment on Bellevue Avenue and found a man with a fatal crossbow injury inside the apartment and an unharmed child in a nearby room.
Investigators currently believe a neighbor heard the commotion, called police, and then made entry into the apartment. The neighbor got a crossbow and shot at the dogs. The arrow struck one of the dogs, went through a door, and then struck the individual being mauled as he was attempting to barricade himself from the attack.
The early indications are that the death is accidental and the neighbor is cooperating with authorities.
The incident began after the police received multiple 911 calls around 12:15 p.m. reporting that the victim was being mauled at 19 Bellevue Ave. Adams Police say responding officers and a K9 Unit found two mature male pitbulls — both with a history of being aggressive — engaging in a volatile confrontation. The dogs then turned to attack the officers.
Officers used their service weapons to neutralize the animals. The ballistics portion of this incident remains under investigation.
State and local authorities were stationed on Bellevue Avenue near the Glenn Street intersection for most of the afternoon. The street was closed off with crime scene tape and the Berkshire County Law Enforcement Task Force's vehicle was parked blocking the entrance onto Bellevue. Something small was lying in the roadway, presumably one of the dogs, and covered by a blanket.
Police vehicles were parked near a multi-unit building a short way up the narrow road from Glenn Street. The area is densely populated and not far from the downtown. A neighbor at the scene told iBerkshire that he had heard a gunshot around the time of the incident.
The State Police Detective Unit assigned to the district attorney's office as well as the state police Crime Scene Service, Crime Lab and Firearm Identification Section, along with Adams Animal Control, Adams Police, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and the DA's office responded to the scene and will perform a full investigation.
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