WFSB - Eyewitness News

Snow causes crashes, delays across the state(WFSB) – Numerous crashes and delays were reported on highways and roads across the state. The storm moved into the state during rush hour, making travel tricky for the commute. The treacherous conditions caused crashes all across the state. Standstill traffic on I-84 westbound in Farmington after the highway was shut down for more than two hours after a truck crash. The backup extended miles. Nearly every major interstate had problems, which crept onto secondary streets, which turned much of the state into a gridlock. Travel took hours for many people and plows are having a hard time keeping up with the onslaught of snow. The snow started piling up on I-95 in Fairfield County, but was moving east as the evening went on. Drivers are being reminded to take it slow on the roads. "Just a little bit of snow on the highways causes much bigger headaches than some of the bigger storms we have when people actually stay home," said AAA spokesperson Amy Parmenter. The Wethersfield Police Department posted on Facebook that there are accidents across the town, so many that they can't respond to all of them. Typically drivers have a few weeks before they need to prepare their cars for the wintry conditions. At Tire City in East Hartford, 65 percent of their business is done between October and December. They actually call days like Thursday “Tire-Geddon” because it’s been nonstop with people trying to winterize their cars ahead of Winter Storm Zoe. It was standing room only at the shop and workers say they’re seeing twice the business. “We got the pre-planners, we saw them last month. This month, we have a lot of last minute shoppers. The thing about Connecticut is a lot of people like to use the studded snow tires and things like that, but there’s statutes as to when you can put those on a car so sometimes you kind of have to wait,” said Jevan Vinters, of Tire City. Bradley Airport said flights may be impacted due to Winter Storm Zoe. Bradley is reminding passengers to check with their airlines for the status of your flight prior to arriving at the airport. As of 8 p.m. Bradley was open and snow removal operations were underway. As of 9:45 p.m., AAA has gotten more than 1,200 calls for help in the Greater Hartford area. There have been hundreds of calls since 4 p.m., most of them being tows and winch outs. As of 9 p.m., these are the major traffic incidents across the state Newtown: I-84 Eastbound between exits 9 and 10 is closed Rocky Hill: CT 99/Main Street closed from West Street to Grimes Road due to an earlier incident Southbury: I-84 Westbound is closed between exits 16 and 15 due to a disable tractor trailer. Farmington: Truck Accident I-84 Westbound between Exits 39 and 38. The westbound side of the highway is closed. Andover: Route 6 is closed at Shoody Mill Road due to a jackknifed tractor trailer. To check for crashes or traffic incidents across the state, click <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/traffic/" target="_blank">here</a>.
Northwest corner of CT gets several inches of snowTORRINGTON, CT (WFSB) - With several inches of snow on the way, people in Litchfield County got out to the store before hunkering down in their homes tonight. No matter how many inches of snow we get, people in the northern part of the state are ready for the snow season. In a matter of hours after the storm began, there was around 6 inches of snow in Litchfield around 10:30 p.m. Drivers were stuck on the road for hours trying to find their way through the storm. "I've been traveling from Farmington trying to get home to Warren. I left work at ten of 5 p.m. and it's 8:30 p.m.," said Laura Swett. Traffic was at a standstill on Bantam Road in Litchfield after a crash involving a pick up truck and a state plow. A first responder said two people were taken to the hospital to be treated. Outside trucks dumped salt in the lot and inside people were buzzing at the checkout line. “I have gloves, two shovels, and a doormat for outside,” said Judith Ehrman. Shovels, hats, gloves, snow scrapers, ice melt, and anything else related to snow is front and center at the Ocean State Job Lot in Torrington. “Yeah, there’s definitely a rush on that first snow storm and it amazes me just how many people not have a shovel from the year before and they’re in getting another one,” said Tom Brown, manager at Ocean State Job Lot. For those who have done snow storms once or twice, the essentials back at home are ready too. “I got snow tires and it’s all wheel drive so getting it ready to move early to get ahead of the storm,” said Arthur Fisch.
Schools announce closures, early dismissals for FridayWFSB - Schools are announcing closures and early dismissals for Friday due to Winter Storm Zoe. Waterbury Schools were the first to announce they will be closed on Friday. Holy Cross High school, Kaynor Technical High School, and Scared Heart High School all in Waterbury will be closed on Friday. Winter Storm Zoe is expected to dump 5 to 10 inches throughout most of the state on Thursday night to Friday morning. The shoreline is expected to see between 3 and 6 inches. Check the updated list of closings and delays <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/weather/closings/" target="_blank">here</a>. Stay with Channel 3 for the latest on Winter Storm Zoe <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/news/winter-storm-zoe-to-bring-several-inches-of-snow-to/article_0e42bfa0-e8c7-11e8-82a7-27248c726602.html" target="_blank">here</a>.
Winter Storm Zoe to bring over half a foot of snow to parts of the stateHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Snow started falling in Fairfield County Thursday afternoon, and it's only going to continue for the next several hours across the state. With a half a foot of snow expected for most of the state, Ch. 3 decided to name this storm Winter Storm Zoe. Channel 3 has a long-standing tradition of naming the winter storms that impact Connecticut. It’s a tradition that started in 1971, that the station is proud to carry on today. A winter storm warning was issued for most of the state, including Hartford, Tolland and Windham counties, from 4 p.m. Thursday to 7 a.m. on Friday. Northern Fairfield, northern New Haven, northern Middlesex and northern New London counties were also added. The warning is in effect there until 4 a.m. For Litchfield County, it'll be in effect from 4 p.m. Thursday to 1 p.m. on Friday. Many evening activities were canceled. See the list <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/weather/closings/" target="_blank">here</a>. Chief Meteorologist Bruce DePrest said snowfall rates on Thursday evening could be 1 to 2 inches per hour at times. Heavy snow continues to fall over interior Connecticut, but we are starting to get some mixing with sleet near the I-95 Corridor," DePrest said. "We've already had reports of 8.0" of snow in New Fairfield and Roxbury. " Snow developed Thursday afternoon, just in time for the evening commute. Roads quickly started to become snow covered, starting in Fairfield County and then moving northeast. The shoreline may receive 3 to 6 inches of snow. Most of the state could see between 5 and 10 inches, with the Litchfield hills seeing most of the snow. <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/weather/pinpoint_doppler_livestream/" target="_blank">Track it with Early Warning Pinpoint Doppler here.</a> Temperatures will be in the 20s and low-30s by Thursday night. They'll rise after midnight. "In many parts of the state, the temperature will above freezing by morning," DePrest said. On Friday, the commute will either be slushy or plain wet. "The center of Winter Storm Zoe will move away from Southern New England in the morning and weather conditions will rapidly improve," DePrest said. Rain and mixed precipitation will end between 9 a.m. and noon. While most of the state will see the transition, the Litchfield Hills will see the longest period of wintry precipitation. The Friday evening commute looks much better. "We will likely see some partial sunshine tomorrow afternoon and temperatures will reach the low and middle 40s," DePrest said. Friday night looks to be partly cloudy, breezy and chilly with lows between 30 and 35 degrees. The weekend still looks to be storm-free [and] windy with highs in the 40s both days. Read the complete technical discussion <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/weather/technical_discussion/" target="_blank">here</a>. For weather alerts on smartphones and tablets, head <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/site/station_info/apps" target="_blank">here</a> or text "WFSB" to 23765 to download the Channel 3 app.
Joint pain is common among millions of womenHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- Joint pain is something that affects millions of women. However, what many people don't realize, is that it's something that affects not just elderly women but younger women as well. Donna Brocki was surprised when she was in her 30s and her doctor told her she had rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is auto immune disease that causes inflammation of the joints, pain and swelling. “You're sore, you're sore everywhere and you ache, you feel like a burning pain,” Brocki said. Many people think it's something that affects older people, but it's actually a common disease that mainly affects women age 20 to 50 and it's not something that ever goes away. "Untreated, the disease not only swells joints but attacks the bones underneath. We'll see these little erosions. I use the analogy like PacMan, you know where you see these little bites taken out,” said Dr. John Magaldi, of Hartford Healthcare. Over time, those bites taken out cause deformities. So, every 10 weeks at Hartford Healthcare's Bone and Joint Institute, Brocki gets an infusion of the drug Remicade, which eases the pain and swelling. “Now it really doesn’t affect me. I can do anything anybody else can do,” Brocki said. Dr. Magaldi said being treated early is key. “It could lead to people not being able to ambulate or walk as they get older. So that's the purpose of treating is to keep people functional and enjoy things in life,” he said.
Governor-elect Lamont announces members of transition committeeHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - While campaigning, governor-elect Ned Lamont said he wanted input on ways to fix the state's budget and create jobs. Now, he's following up on that promise. “I wanted it to be a group of different expertise. We really have the chance to bring the very best and the brightest,” said Lamont. The Steering Committee is bi-partisan and includes leaders with a wide array of backgrounds. New Britain mayor Erin Stewart, a Republican, is one of them. Some of the other members are doctors, labor leaders, business executives, educators and several non-profits. Lisa Tepper Bates is part of the CT Coalition to End Homelessness. “All of us on the steering committee hope to bring our thoughts and ideas to the governor's vision,” said Bates. Karen Jarmoc helps protect victims of domestic violence. “We are looking forward to offering our insight and guidance to some important policies,” said Jarmoc, CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Retired Lt. Paul Vance was the face of the state police in the Sandy Hook tragedy. “I am honored to be part of this team and I certainly will offer some public safety suggestions,” said Vance. Last week, Lamont rolled out the co-chairs of his transition team. Perhaps a question on many minds is if there will there be a proposal to raise taxes. “I’ve been pretty clear, we are not raising tax rates, period,” said Lamont. This is certainly a diverse group. The plan is for them to meet regularly either in person or teleconferencing. Something Lamont has not done is name a chief of staff, but we're told that will be coming soon.
Shoreline towns ready for snowy weatherMILFORD, CT (WFSB) - The first winter storm of the season is just getting under way but being prepared before the storm hits is very important. The key to this storm is the changing temperatures both in the air and on the roadway. Plowing and treating the roads during the storm is what we depend on but the Department of Public Works tries to get out ahead of the storm “We can go out three hours ahead of the storm, put the material down and let it stay there,” said Tommy Hunt, Milford Department of Public Works. There is a science behind how they attack different types of precipitation and conditions. Milford’s trucks are computerized so they can determine how much of what substance to dispense. “They’re calling for this snow to come in fast and furious and to come down but with this treated salt that we have it’ll prevent that from happening,” said Hunt. Of course, road conditions should dictate how you drive. One truck driver along I-95 said it’s difficult for them in any type of winter weather. Hunt said he’s been doing this for more than twenty years and he follows the farmers rule of thumb which is, the date of the first snow fall is how many storms we’ll get for the season. He said it’s been pretty accurate so today being the 15th, according to Hunt we can expect 14 more winter storms.
Report reveals details of ‘sex dungeon’ run by Ellington ambulance workerELLINGTON, CT (WFSB) - An Ellington volunteer ambulance worker and hotel owner is being accused of running a sex dungeon. It's a disturbing story we've been following and we are learning more about what may have happened from a state police investigation report. Our cameras captured items described in the investigation report. The report shows that the man arrested, Simon Hessler works for Ellington Ambulance. In the report, a coworker of his complained called police, concerned about prostitution at the Manchester hotel he owns. We reached out to the ambulance company and the first selectman about this complaint and if there are any more, but didn't hear back. The report sheds light on what he was allegedly doing to children. Hessler, 46, is accused of having a “sex dungeon” and tried to buy an underage girl for sex trafficking. Neighbors say he's a father of three. “In shock and what you told me is sick and a violation against kids. I can't put it into words,” said Steve Szestowicki, business owner. The Vernon business, which is less than 2-and-a-half miles from his Ellington home is described as a property management assistance company. Hessler lists himself as the president. Police believe this is where the sex dungeon is. A Baymont van is parked in the driveway on his home. Hessler is also the owner of Baymont Inn and Suites in Manchester. “I’ve never seen any people over at that place. There's a bus there and a car. I walk and look that way every day,” said Szestowicki. The investigation report shows Hessler told an undercover officer via text that, "he had a ‘dungeon’ for ‘slave training.’" He sent them pictures of the room which showed, "multiple beds with whips and chains and handcuffs on the wall." There was walled off area with, "a heavy metal cage with a padlock." Out in the back of the property, our cameras caught mattresses piled on top of one another, a child's bed and children’s toys, items described in the investigation report. Last month, Hessler told the undercover officer that, "he would be picking up three sisters (6, 8 and 12-years-old girls) for sexual slavery..." and that he's been, "training of slaves of over 20 years and has customers all over between NYC and Boston." Just two days ago, he told the undercover officer, "to bring the 6th grader into the unlocked camper trailer in Baymont parking lot and to handcuff, gag and blindfold her with items he had left there and then send him a pic. Once he got the pic ... he would tell where her money was and he'd come get the girl." We went to Hessler's home where he lives with his wife, but no one was there. Also in the report, Hessler's wife asked police if her husband did something with under aged girls, and that she found 11 jump drives in his suit coat. She turned it over to police. We reached out to state police today and they tell us there still looking at more angles as this is an ongoing investigation. For the Connecticut Human Sex Trafficking Hotline, click <a href="https://humantraffickinghotline.org/state/connecticut%20" target="_blank">here</a>.
Schools dismiss early, cancel activities due to snowy forecastSchools throughout the state are keeping a close eye on the snow moving into the state on Thursday. Many announced early dismissals or canceled after school activities. See the complete list <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/weather/closings/" target="_blank">here</a>. The University of Connecticut said due to the inclement weather, all classes starting at 3:30 p.m. or later on Thursday are canceled at all campuses. It directed students to <a href="http://alert.uconn.edu/" target="_blank">alert.uconn.edu</a> for more information. Due to forecasts of inclement weather, all classes starting at 3:30 p.m. or later on Thursday, Nov. 15, are canceled at all campuses. For more information, visit <a href="https://t.co/sN0zL01VJC">https://t.co/sN0zL01VJC</a>.&mdash; UConn (@UConn) <a href="https://twitter.com/UConn/status/1063091943322906624?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 15, 2018</a> Before the first flakes fall, Waterbury, Wolcott and Watertown all called for early dismissals. The day still counts, so it won't go down as a cancellation in the books. Wolcott Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Tony Gasper said on a regular school day, students are on the bus at 2 p.m. The last children aren't off of them until 4:25 p.m. There could be an hour and a half period of accumulating snowfall by the time all of the buses are off the road on Thursday. That's why Gasper said he made the call to dismiss early. Dozens of school systems followed suit. When it comes to Friday morning, superintendents said they will continue to monitor how the roads look for travel. They said Thursday morning was too early to make the call. For a look at the forecast, head <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/news/forecast-on-track-for-evening-snow-schools-dismiss-early/article_0e42bfa0-e8c7-11e8-82a7-27248c726602.html" target="_blank">here</a>. Stay with Channel 3 for continuing coverage of the storm.
Crews pre-treat roads ahead of snowHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - A strategy is in place to take Thursday's forecasted snow, state officials said. Public works departments across the state, including in Hartford, spent Thursday morning getting plows ready to go. Since the storm is expected to arrive during the late afternoon hours, the evening commute could be tricky. In Hartford, the city said it budgeted $924,000 for snow removal this season. The city's public works department said its plows are ready to hit the road as soon as the flakes start falling. "We’re just doing minor checks on different pieces of equipment. We’ll have about 24 trucks out for our storm that’s coming this afternoon," said Vernon Matthews, superintendent of Hartford Public Works. As of Thursday morning, the city didn't anticipate a parking ban. The state's Department of Transportation said it started pre-treating the roads on Wednesday. Its focus was problem areas on the highways. The white lines from the solution could be seen on the roads. It's a liquid with 25 percent salt and 75 percent water, the DOT said. The state has $38 million set aside for this snow season, which started this month and runs until April. Last year, the state spent $39 million. "We have them stationed at roughly 50 satellite facilities around the state because we respond geographically with weather events," said Kevin Nursick, Department of Transportation. "Things could be different in one part of the state versus the other." The DOT sought to remind people to get into the winter driving mindset ahead of Thursday's storm. They urged drivers to keep their distance from one another and slow down. See the forecast <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/news/snow-and-ice-to-become-prevalent-tonight/article_0e42bfa0-e8c7-11e8-82a7-27248c726602.html" target="_blank">here</a>. For real-time traffic updates, check the Channel 3 traffic map <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/traffic/" target="_blank">here</a>. Stay with Channel 3 for continuing coverage of the storm.