WFSB - Eyewitness News

Detours in place in Putnam after “serious” crash, police saidConnecticut State Troopers are urging drivers to take detours after they said a “serious” crash took place on Route 44 on Saturday afternoon. Police are reporting serious to life-threatening injuries in the two-car crash. The crash took place at the intersection of Route 44 and Tucker Hill Rd. Police are investigating the cause of the crash.
Woman killed in crash in Hartford on Friday eveningHARTFORD, CT (WFSB)- A Hartford woman was killed in a car crash in Hartford on Friday night. Hartford Police Department Lt. Paul Cicero told Channel 3 that 47-year-old Hartford resident, Yolanda Santiago was the victim in the deadly crash. The two-vehicle crash occurred around midnight at the intersection of Main Street and Mather Street. Two others are currently being treated at the Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. The intersection was blocked for hours as crews cleared the scene. Police are taking several factors into account as they investigate, including the condition of the road, speed, distracted driving, and if drugs and alcohol were a factor. Stay with Channel 3 for updates.
New details emerge about 'sex dungeon' run by Ellington ambulance workerELLINGTON, CT (WFSB) - New information is being released on the sex trafficking arrest of the vice president of Ellington’s Ambulance Corps. Police say <a href="" target="_blank">Simon Hessler</a> attempted to purchase someone he believed to be a pre-teen girl for sex as part of an underground business that may have been going on for years. There were red flags that had some parents calling police months before this arrest happened. Parents were uneasy when they saw Facebook communication Hessler had with a homeless woman when he offered her this place to stay in exchange for work. At the time, Hessler’s boss thought nothing of it, but parents we spoke with are now glad they told police. Hessler is accused of <a href="" target="_blank">sex trafficking children</a>. Police say this Vernon business on Talcottville Road, full of whips, chains, handcuffs and a cage, was his “sex dungeon.” He was busted after allegedly attempting to purchase a pre-teen girl for sex at this Manchester hotel he owns. Hessler is also a 10-year veteran of the Ellington Ambulance Corps. Channel 3 spoke off camera with President Peter Hany, who says Hessler’s background check was clean and the only time red flags were raised was a year ago, when communication Hessler had with a homeless woman was brought to his attention. Hany says Hessler and the woman discussed exchanging work for a place to stay at his Manchester hotel. Hany told Channel 3 that Hessler was known to offer fire victims this same type of assistance, so he didn’t think anything of it and no official complaint was made to him. But parents, who also saw screenshots of Hessler’s Facebook interaction, say he requested a full body shot of the woman and told her the type of work would be at her discretion. Hany confirms several high schoolers made up a youth group at the ambulance corps, and Hessler, the vice president, was involved in administrative duties and took their ID photos. Hany says the interactions were always with another adult present and were always professional. The knowledge Hessler was around children was enough for at least one mother to bring her concerns to the first selectwoman, state police, and the school superintendent in February. Channel 3 went to the Board of Selectmen on Friday who say they referred the complaint to state police, like they do in all cases. It’s unclear if that tip prompted police to investigate Hessler, but court documents show state police started their undercover investigation that month. Documents show Hessler allegedly asked the undercover officer for photos of pre-teen children in various stages of undress and went to elaborate steps to ensure the delivery of the person he believed to be in 6th grade. Right now, Hessler is being held on a $1 million bond. We reached out to his family, who had no comment. Hany says Hessler, who made roughly $900 annually with the ambulance corps is suspended and will likely be terminated Friday night at a closed door hearing.
Woman's body pulled from river in West HavenWEST HAVEN, CT (WFSB) – A woman’s body was found in a river in West Haven on Friday. According to police, officers were dispatched around 2:30 p.m. for the report of a possible sudden death in the area of Boston Post Road. The New Haven Fire Department had located a female in the water near the West Haven banks of the West River. The woman’s body was pulled from the river and pronounced deceased on the scene. The nature and manner of the death is being investigated. Police said the woman’s identity is unknown at this time. Stay with Channel 3 for updates on this story.
Auto body shops busy following Winter Storm ZoeMIDDLETOWN, CT (WFSB) - Friday’s commute home will be a lot easier and some may feel a bit relieved. On Thursday, there were plenty of accidents and auto body shops are busy. Auto body shops are usually busy after a storm and this storm came a bit early. “When you look at it you can see this is all pushed in, this needs a whole new quarter panel, and if you look at the tire, it’s not sitting proper, it's kicked in, so this has suspension damage. It needs a wheel, a tire,” said Patty Thibodeau, Victor Auto Body Works. This is the first car towed into Victor Auto Body in Middletown, one of many casualties from Thursday’s storm, the front of the car is worse. The radiator and other things under the hood are damaged. “I think this car is going to be totaled,” said Thibodeau. Thursday's storm packed a punch and was an early one and if you want to avoid what's happening here. “Rule of thumb, give yourself room. If you need to break you are not going to stop on a dime,” said Thibodeau. It’s not even winter yet and some are a rough start.
Arrigoni Bridge saw major delays during Winter Storm ZoeMIDDLETOWN, CT (WFSB) - The first snow storm of the season threw quite a punch, making Thursday’s evening commute a white knuckle one. It took hours for many to get home and a bad spot for some was the Arrigoni Bridge in Middletown. Many could be breathing a sigh of relief right now because Friday’s ride home will be a lot better than yesterdays. Snow was coming down hard and the Arrigoni Bridge was packed with cars. Some felt it was like being stuck. Pictures were taken in the peak of Thursday’s storm, getting on and off the bridge was slow going. Traffic was backed up for miles, and at times cars were not moving and there were accidents. “It’s our first snow storm so people are not prepared. People need to slow down, watch out on the roads,” said Susan Dwyer. Michelle Alfonso tries to avoid the bridge in storms but close to it she was driving home from Windsor to Middletown, it took her an hour and a half. “I saw Stop and Shop not being so busy but at the time I thought if I turn in there I am probably not going to get back on the road and then we kept passing store after store and he said just stop at the mini mart and I am like no, we are just going,” said Alfonso. Her husband has a foot injury and can't drive. “When you get off 91 to Route 9, the road just kind of disappeared into the snow. There was like nothing,” said Jorge Alfonso. Middletown police said they responded to 10 accidents from yesterday’s storm.
Winter Storm Zoe is gone, but remnants remainHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Now that Winter Storm Zoe is gone, her remnants remain across the state. A good portion of the state saw between 5 and 10 inches of snow over its course. It began Thursday night. On Friday morning, a wintry mix moved across parts of the state for the end of Winter Storm Zoe. It put down a quick half an inch to 1 inch of snow across the northern half of the state. Bristol and New Fairfield reported 10 inches of snow from the storm. Waterbury saw 8.5 inches and Southington saw 8 inches. With 7.6 inches of snow at Bradley International Airport, Thursday went down as the snowiest November 15 since 1906. As the night goes on, there the air will turn chilly, according to Chief Meteorologist Bruce DePrest. Temperatures should reach the low- and mid-30s. "We’ll have to watch out for some icy spots later tonight due to refreezing," said DePrest. The weekend is looking pretty good. Saturday should be partly sunny and windy. "Afternoon highs will range from near 40 degrees in the Litchfield Hills to the mid and upper 40s elsewhere," DePrest said. Sunday will feature a mix of clouds and sunshine, and highs 38 to 45. While a flurry or two can’t be ruled out, most of the day will be dry. "A light wintry mix of snow, sleet, and rain is expected to develop after midnight," said DePrest. Read the complete technical discussion <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>. For weather alerts on smartphones and tablets, head <a href="" target="_blank">here</a> or text "WFSB" to 23765 to download the Channel 3 app.
Police investigating officer-involved shooting in HartfordHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- Hartford police have identified the suspect in an officer-involved shooting that happened Friday morning. Dennis Lawrence, 39, of Hartford, was arrested Friday at 4:00 p.m. at St. Francis Hospital with multiple charges. The shooting happened at 424 Garden St. around 11 a.m. on Friday, after officers were called to a domestic incident. The initial report was that Lawrence was holding a woman hostage. "They were immediately confronted with an irate individual. The individual was armed with a knife. You could clearly hear the Hartford Police Officers pleading with the suspect over the radio to drop the knife," said Lt. Paul Cicero. Police said Lawrence was shot by a police officer. He was taken to St. Francis Hospital where he remains in critical condition at this time. Two officers were taken to the hospital for observation. Hartford police confirm the names of the officers involved were Officer Michael Bodner and Officer Chris White. White is a 15-year veteran of the department. White is the officer that fired his weapon and hit the suspect. Bodner is a 10-year veteran of the department. He did not fire his weapon. "Any domestic violence incident. It's one of the leading cases of officer injuries and fatalities in the country aside from the motor vehicle collisions," said Cicero. There were no police body cameras during this incident, so state police are investigating witnesses who were in the apartment at the time. Lawrence is being held on $150,000 bond on multiple charges, including Unlawful Restrain in the 1st degree, Criminal Attempt at Assault on an Elderly Person, and Assault 2nd degree. He is scheduled to appear in court on Monday. Hartford police released audio transmissions from the officer-involved shooting. Stay with Channel 3 as more information becomes available.
At peak of storm, it took drivers hours to get homeMERIDEN, CT (WFSB) - Poor driving conditions were reported across the state Friday morning as a wintry mix from Winter Storm Zoe lingered. Interstate 691 in Meriden featured a snowy then slushy mess. At it's height, many drivers reported that it took them hours to get home Thursday night. "[It took] like an hour and a half maybe," said Miguel Hernandez, a truck driver. "It's crazy." A lot of spin outs and crashes were reported in the area in Friday morning. Disabled vehicles littered the median. "[Traffic wasn't] moving at a,," said Gretchen Hayes, a driver. "It was like a standstill. We saw all the trucks stopped so we went around." The state Department of Transportation said it had more than 600 trucks out making sure the roads were clear. "We respond with everything that we have whether it's this one or any other winter weather even. When we know it's coming, we get out there and pre-treat and when the storm comes, we don't hold back," said Kevin Nursick, CT DOT Spokesman. With every storm brings its own set of challenges. With Zoe, Nursick said the timing couldn't have been worse. "You have the highest traffic volumes of the day in the afternoon rush, everyone is getting out there with the mentality of getting home fast in the middle of a snow storm," said Nursick. Channel 3 spoke with state police and they said they responded more than 1,300 calls for help. They said it's hard for them to keep track of the number of times troopers would simply come across a spinout or a driver who needed assistance. The snow made it extremely difficult to drive on Thursday night. Zoe's leftovers continued that trend into the morning commute. Not only are many roads snow-covered, they are slick with ice and slush. Stay with Channel 3 for updates on the driving conditions. For real-time traffic updates, check the Channel 3 traffic map <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.
Despite snow, New Britain holds schoolNEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) - Despite a wallop from Winter Storm Zoe, New Britain held school on Friday. Dozens of schools around the state canceled after several inches of snow fell. Students in New Britain stayed up waiting and hoping for a snow day. It just wasn't meant to be. However, they did get to sleep in due to a delay. "I wish I could play in the snow, but I’m going to school," said Joalix Venotura, a New Britain student. Isaac Burgos waited at a bus stop as mist fell. He also wished for a snow day. "It must be nice, it must be nice," Burgos said. "It’s pretty cold out here." "They have to go to school, it’s a 2 hour delay," said Ginott Venotura. Some parents opted to drive their children because snow piles hid the path to the bus. "And there’s no sidewalks, and it’s at the bottom of a hill, so I kind of don’t want him standing on the side of the street," said Trisha Alvarez, a parent. New Britain students had mixed reactions to the first snowfall of the season. "It’s too cold, I’ll just lay down and watch a movie," said Zayde Shaklor. I feel it’s going to be a good winter in general," Burgos said. Alvarez regardless of what fell, she's ready for the next one. "We got a long winter ahead of us," she said. The roads began clearing up during the late morning hours of Friday. Stay with Channel 3 for continuing coverage of the aftermath of Winter Storm Zoe.