Man Charged With Crashing into Police Car, Assaulting Cops

by marcia chambers | Jun 3, 2017 8:19 am | Comments (1)

Branford P.D. An 18-year-old man was arrested Thursday night after he crashed his motorcycle into a police cruiser, then lunged into the window of the police car, attempting to assault the police officer. He was wearing a bandana to cover his face. When another officer attempted to pull the man from the window, he bit the officer on the hand, police said.

After the crash, the man arrested was identified as Gino Vella, who was charged with assault on a peace officer, a “C” felony, and was held in $50,000 bond until his court hearing in New Haven Superior Court Friday morning. Police are seeking a third young man as yet unidentified who joined Vella on a wild ride that ended when Vella went head-on into the front of the police car.

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Branford Police Canine Officer Sues Over Termination

by marcia chambers | Apr 18, 2017 7:31 am | Comments (6)

File Photo Luigi Amasino (pictured), Branford’s former police canine officer, filed a lawsuit against the town of Branford yesterday, asserting Police Chief Kevin Halloran threatened last December that he either withdraw a grievance against the police department or the chief “would destroy the plaintiff’s career as a law enforcement officer.”

In a four-page civil complaint filed in New Haven Superior Court, John R. Williams, Amasino’s New Haven attorney, says Amasino did not withdraw his grievance, a grievance filed in response to a two- day suspension ordered on Dec. 6 for alleged violations of departmental rules and regulations.

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Daylight Robbery at ATM Employee’s Van

by marcia chambers | Apr 5, 2017 9:21 am

An ATM employee who had just reloaded funds at an ATM inside Allegra’s restaurant and was heading back to his van was pistol whipped by a group of men who forced him into his van where he was ordered to open up a safe and turn over thousands of dollars.

The robbery, which occurred in broad daylight at Lakeview Plaza, left the employee dazed and bleeding from his forehead as he sought help near his Mercedes van, which was in the parking lot, about 15 feet from Allegra’s. A woman came to his aid, giving him tissue wipes to absorb the blood on his face. An ambulance was called and he was taken to a local hospital.

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K-9 Joker, Police Handler Abruptly Leave P.D.

by marcia chambers | Feb 8, 2017 9:40 am | Comments (3)

Mary Johnson Photo UPDATE—Police Officer Luigi Amasino and his canine partner, Joker, abruptly left the police department last month, according to several sources. Their departures came after Branford police conducted internal investigations into two events, one in which Joker bit a teenage boy and another in which he bit a firefighter with whom he was playing ball. 

The incident involving the teen, who attends Branford High School, occurred last August; the incident involving the fireman took place in October when the firefighter and the dog were playing with a tennis ball at fire headquarters. Apparently Joker and the fireman went for the ball at the same time and Joker, thinking it was his ball, bit the fireman’s hand. The officer was taken to the hospital where his hand was stitched up, according to those familiar with the event. The bite was not deemed premeditated. Another inquiry may have been initiated. 

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Motel 6 Is Scene of New Year’s Day Arrest

by marcia chambers | Jan 4, 2017 9:07 am

Branford Police Department A 37-year-old West Haven man has been charged with robbery, unlawful restraint and strangulation in connection with a series of events in a room at Motel 6 in the early hours of New Years Day.

Christopher Pruitt, of 129 Park St., West Haven, was arrested on charges of assaulting and robbing two women and a man in their motel room. According to Officer Ryan Gotowala, who investigated the incident, Pruitt allegedly “robbed, assaulted and held the two women and a man captive.”

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Hamden Boy Dies After Branford Crash

by Sally E. Bahner | Nov 29, 2016 9:00 am | Comments (1)

East Haven P.D. Photo The Connecticut State Police Collision Analysis Reconstruction Squad (CARS) is investigating a crash at Exit 55 in Branford Sunday that resulted in the death of a 4-year-old Hamden boy who appears to have been seated on his father’s lap in the front seat of the car when the crash occurred, according to the state police accident report.

The child, identified by state police as Jairus S. Benjamin of 79 Bowen St., Hamden, was taken to Yale New-Haven Hospital, where he died. According to the Hartford Courant, Briana Simuel of Hamden, the boy’s mother, said his personal identification documents had been updated recently and his name is Jairus Little. Simuel said Monday that Jairus died of internal injuries Sunday night, according to the Hartford Courant.  He fought for his life for hours, she said, receiving a blood transfusion and other treatment before dying after 11 p.m., she said.

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Branford Cops Crack Down on Holiday DUI Drivers

by marcia chambers | Nov 25, 2016 9:28 am

Branford P..D. The Branford police have announced they are on the lookout big time for intoxicated drivers this Thanksgiving weekend and onto the Christmas holidays and beyond. 

Never shy about pursuing speeding motorists or stopping drivers who drive without registrations or driver’s licenses, the police are concentrating on drunk driving in the weeks ahead.

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Motorcyclist Seriously Injured In Collision

by marcia chambers | Nov 15, 2016 8:40 am

A 52-year-old West Haven motorcyclist traveling on East Main Street was seriously injured Sunday after a car driven by the former chair of the Planning & Zoning Commission (P&Z) attempted to turn left onto Mill Plain Road and collided with the cyclist. 

Ellsworth (Mac) McGuigan, 79, the longtime and now retired P&Z chair, was attempting to make a left-hand turn off East Main Street and onto Mill Plain Road when he collided with Christopher Scranton, who was driving West on his Harley Davidson motorcycle. McGuigan was uninjured.

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Pick-Up Truck Crashes into Store

by Staff | Sep 29, 2016 8:02 am

Branford Police Department A young woman driving a pick-up truck crashed her truck into the Cork Shop liquor store Monday night causing “significant damage,” the police said.The driver, who lives in New London, was given a ticket, an infraction, police said, for improperly backing up. 

The crash occurred at 317 East Main Street, the address of the Cork Shop, at about 8:15 p.m.

The driver had first backed away from the building when she realized her truck had lodged onto a telephone pole guide wire.

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