December 1, 2020

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A police vehicle was severely damaged after it was allegedly set on fire in Portland, Oregon, authorities said.

The unoccupied Portland Police patrol vehicle had been parked in a city fleet parking lot in the 800 block of North Graham Street when the blaze broke out, Portland Police said in a news release.

Officers responded to the parking lot after a report of a vehicle on fire at around 8.20 p.m. on Saturday, police said. Portland Fire and Rescue also responded and extinguished the flames.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but arson is suspected, according to police. No arrests have been made and police said no suspect information was available.

Portland
A Portland Police patrol car was heavily damaged after it caught fire in an incident police suspect was arson.
Portland Police

Police said the vehicle was a fully marked 2018 Portland Police Ford Interceptor Utility vehicle. It had been involved in a minor crash and had been towed to the parking lot for body damage repairs.

The incident occurred after an outdoor kitchen across from the federal courthouse in downtown Portland was robbed at gunpoint and heavily vandalized in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Police said officers were dispatched to the 1000 block of Southwest Third Avenue after a report of a disturbance involving a weapon at around 2.30 a.m. on Saturday.

Officers spoke with a man who said he was working in the kitchen when he was robbed by a group of about a dozen suspects, including one who was armed with a shotgun, police said in a news release.

“The victim said that some of his cooking equipment was stolen and other equipment was damaged,” police said.

“The suspects also heavily damaged the victim’s car parked next to his canopy.”

Police said the suspects involved in the incident fled the scene in multiple vehicles before officers were called. No-one was injured in the incident and an investigation is ongoing.

The incident took place near the Mark O. Hatfield United States courthouse, the scene of months of protests since the May 25 killing of George Floyd.

Floyd, a Black man, died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes despite his pleas that he couldn’t breathe.

Over the summer, the Trump administration deployed federal agents to Portland in a bid to quell the protests. That prompted nightly clashes that saw
federal agents stationed at the courthouse fire tear gas or less-lethal munitions at protesters on several occasions.

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A 29-year-old man with no address drove a stolen van on Monday from Warren County, N.J., into Northampton County, Pa., on Interstate 78 West before ramming a police vehicle with two New Jersey Stare troopers inside, court papers say.

Brandon Marsalis Wesley, behind the wheel of a 2017 GMC Savana with Garden State registration, crossed into Pennsylvania about 2:45 p.m. while being pursued by New Jersey troopers, Pennsylvania State Police said court papers say.

Near the Route 33 interchange in Lower Saucon Township a “pursuit intervention technique” by a Pennsylvania State Police vehicle spun the van, stopping it facing the right side of the highway, police said. A New Jersey State Police vehicle with two troopers inside pulled forward to within 10 feet of the van, police said. The van sped forward, slammed into the driver’s side front quarter panel of the SUV, breaking the police vehicle’s front axle and pushing the vehicle sideways into a guide rail, where it stopped, police said.

Arrest Nov. 23, 2020, on Interstate 78

A man driving a stolen van was spun to a stop Nov. 23, 2020, on Interstate 78 West in Lower Saucon Township but the driver then accelerated into the driver’s side of an occupied New Jersey State Police vehicle, pushing it into a guide rail, court papers say.Tim Wynkoop | lehighvalleylive.com contributor

When Wesley took his foot off the gas, he was arrested, police said.

The highway was briefly closed westbound. All lanes were reopened by 4:50 p.m.

Wesley was arraigned Monday night before District Judge Nicholas Englesson on charges of aggravated assault on a police officer, simple assault and harassment, court papers say. Wesley was housed in Northampton County Prison in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Van stopped on Interstate 78 West

A van was stopped by Pennsylvania State Police the afternoon of Nov. 23, 2020, on Interstate 78 West just past the Route 33 entrance. Driver Brandon Marsalis Wesley, 29, was arrested after he rammed a New Jersey State Police vehicle at that location, authorities say.Tim Wynkoop | lehighvalleylive.com contributor

Wesley’s preliminary hearing on the Pennsylvania charges is tentatively scheduled 9 a.m. Dec. 2 in District Judge Alan Roger Mege’s court in the township.

It is not clear what charges Wesley may face in New Jersey.

Court papers do not list an attorney for Wesley.

Tony Rhodin can be reached at [email protected].

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A 29-year-old man with no address drove a stolen van on Monday from Warren County into Northampton County on Interstate 78 West before ramming a police vehicle with two New Jersey Stare troopers inside, court papers say.

Brandon Marsalis Wesley, behind the wheel of a 2017 GMC Savana with Garden State registration, crossed into Pennsylvania about 2:45 p.m. being pursued by New Jersey troopers, Pennsylvania State Police said court papers say.

Near the Route 33 interchange in Lower Saucon Township a “pursuit intervention technique” by a Pennsylvania State Police vehicle spun the van, stopping it facing the right side of the highway, police said. A New Jersey State Police vehicle with two troopers inside pulled forward to within 10 feet of the van, police said. The van sped forward, slammed into the driver’s side front quarter panel of the SUV, breaking the police vehicle’s front axle and pushing the vehicle sideways into a guide rail, where it stopped, police said.

Arrest Nov. 23, 2020, on Interstate 78

A man driving a stolen van was spun to a stop Nov. 23, 2020, on Interstate 78 West in Lower Saucon Township but the driver then accelerated into the driver’s side of an occupied New Jersey State Police vehicle, pushing it into a guide rail, court papers say.Tim Wynkoop | lehighvalleylive.com contributor

When Wesley took his foot off the gas, he was arrested, police said.

The highway was briefly closed westbound and then its limited opening led to a traffic backup. All lanes were reopened by 4:50 p.m. and within several minutes the traffic backup was resolved.

Wesley was arraigned Monday night before District Judge Nicholas Englesson on charges of aggravated assault on a police officer, simple assault and harassment, court papers say. Wesley was housed in Northampton County Prison in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Van stopped on Interstate 78 West

A van was stopped by Pennsylvania State Police the afternoon of Nov. 23, 2020, on Interstate 78 West just past the Route 33 entrance. Driver Brandon Marsalis Wesley, 29, was arrested after he rammed a New Jersey State Police vehicle at that location, authorities say.Tim Wynkoop | lehighvalleylive.com contributor

Wesley’s preliminary hearing on the Pennsylvania charges is tentatively scheduled 9 a.m. Dec. 2 in District Judge Alan Roger Mege’s court in the township.

It is not clear what charges Wesley may face in New Jersey.

Court papers do not list an attorney for Wesley.

Thank you for relying on us to provide the journalism you can trust. Please consider supporting lehighvalleylive.com with a subscription.

Tony Rhodin can be reached at [email protected].

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St. Charles Parish law enforcement officials want to put convicted, chronic drunk drivers on notice: If you get behind the wheel again while impaired they’re coming after your vehicle. 

St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne and District Attorney Joel Chaisson announced at a news conference Wednesday that they will begin using a using a clause in Louisiana’s DWI law to seize vehicles driven by habitual drunk drivers.

Toilet-papered homes, egged vehicles, spray-painted road signs, paint-balled property manifest passion

If a person is convicted of DWI for a third time — including convictions in other jurisdictions — state law allows the district attorney’s office to impound and auction off the vehicle the offender was driving at the time of the arrest. 

The bulk of the sale proceeds, 60%, will go to the arresting agency. The rest is split between the district attorney’s office and the Louisiana Property and Casualty Insurance Commission’s efforts to reduce drunk driving and insurance rates. 

“It’s not about making money. It’s the deterrence factor,” said Champagne, who admitted that chronic drunk drivers get behind the wheel many times before they’re arrested. “We don’t catch everybody. We know that.”  

The law allowing such seizures has been on the books since the late-1990s, but Champagne wasn’t aware of it, and said neither were most of the law enforcement agencies he queried around the state. 

Champagne learned of it after Deputy Bobby McNulty brought it to the attention of Traffic Commander Sgt. Matthew Songy and Capt. George Breedy, an executive assistant to the sheriff. 

Seizures must go through due process, and there are some caveats. The car can’t be seized if it was stolen, if there’s still money owed to a financial institution or if it was owned by another person who did not know the operator was under the influence, Champagne said. 

Thus far, St. Charles Parish authorities have they’ve seized one vehicle and plan to look at a few other habitual offender DWI cases from the past three months, Champagne said. 

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A car crashed and burst into flames Monday afternoon on Route 1 in Lynnfield after a pursuit by Peabody and State Police, officials said.

The suspect, whose identity has yet to be released, was flown to Massachusetts General Hospital with minor injuries, said Peabody police spokesman Captain Dennis Bonaiuto.

At about 12:08 p.m., a Peabody officer saw a vehicle operating erratically on Main Street in Peabody and tried to pull it over on Lowell Street, Bonaiuto said.

The car continued onto the Route 128 South on-ramp, deflating “one or two” tires when it hit the curb, Bonaiuto said.

The vehicle continued onto Route 128 South at a more “moderate rate of speed,” he said.

“But because of the tires, they couldn’t keep up with the speed of the other cars on the road,” Bonaiuto said. “They still didn’t pull over.”

The suspect was chased by Peabody police with the assistance of troopers, according to State Police.

After getting onto Route 1 southbound, the suspect drove into the Lynnfield Tunnel, with the car eventually wedging against the guardrail on its own just south of the tunnel, Bonaiuto said.

The driver wasn’t able to get out before the car caught on fire, he said, but officers were able to eventually pull the suspect out before they were medflighted to the Boston hospital.

All lanes were open on Route 1 and the crash site was cleared, State Police tweeted at 2:30 p.m.

State Police said they will handle the crash investigation and Peabody police will handle charges against the suspect.

The incident remains under investigation.

This is a developing story and will be updated.


Breanne Kovatch can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @breannekovatch.

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A Utah man accused of fatally shooting his wife five times in the back before admitting to the crime in a phone call with his son was found dead in his car Thursday night after an apparent crash, authorities said.



a group of people posing for the camera: The Weber County Sheriff’s office


© Provided by The Daily Beast
The Weber County Sheriff’s office

The Weber County Sheriff’s office said 53-year-old Scott William Russell, who has been on the lam since he was charged with his wife’s Tuesday murder, was found at around 6 p.m. on Thursday after deputies received a call about a car crash off Highway 39. An officer came upon a wrecked black Toyota Land Cruiser more than 300 yards from the highway and noted the driver was dead from injuries consistent with a car crash.

Russell’s fatal crash came just two days after police issued an alert for an “armed and dangerous person of interest” when his wife was found shot five times in the back in her Weber County home. On Wednesday, authorities charged the 53-year-old with eight crimes, including felony murder, discharge of a firearm with injury, and possession or use of a controlled substance.

The 53-year-old is believed to have fled the scene shortly after the alleged murder and was heading toward Colorado before his fatal crash. The identity of Russell’s wife has not been released.

“We want to thank the public for assisting us in our effort to locate Scott,” the sheriff’s department said in a statement. “Our condolences go out to all those that were affected by this tragic incident.”

According to court documents first obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune, deputies responded to Russell’s home, about 45 minutes outside of Salt Lake City, around 9 p.m. on Tuesday after receiving a call from an unnamed individual. That person told emergency dispatchers they had received information from Russell’s son, who lives in a different state, claiming his father shot his mother after “acting very erratic.”

When deputies entered the house, they found Russell’s wife in the master bedroom with five gunshot wounds “in the back of her body, including one at the base of her skull,” according to the court documents. Several bullet holes were found in the wall and authorities recovered a handgun “embedded into the drywall” of another bedroom in the home.

Several other guns, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia were also found inside the house, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

In conversations with police, the 53-year-old’s son stated that his father’s “erratic” behavior on the phone included him “repeating statements.”

“Scott repeatedly told his son that he was going to come to his state to give him a hug and other strange statements like how Scott’s ‘soul was on the line,’” according to court documents, which noted the son described his father’s behavior as “very strange and out of character.”

The court documents state that when Russell’s son asked his father about his wife, Russell allegedly called out to her and his son could hear the couple talking. At one

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A Liberty County mother ran over her 4-month-old with a car in an apparent accident Friday evening, resulting in the hospitalization of the infant, sheriff’s officials said.

Investigators said preliminary reports from witnesses show the mother, whose name was not released, was in the front yard of her Cleveland home at about 6 p.m. when she put her vehicle in drive. The car then ran over her daughter, who was in a swing, Liberty County sheriff’s officials said.

Investigators said the mother called sheriff’s dispatchers, described what occurred and told them she planned to drive to a hospital. Emergency responders met the mother and child at Casey Ridge Grocery, about 8 miles from her home, and transported them to a Houston hospital, sheriff’s officials and witnesses said.

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Investigators said a full medical evaluation would occur, but preliminary reports indicated the child appeared to have serious head injuries, sheriff’s officials said.

Billy Reynolds, an employee at Casey Ridge Grocery, told the Montgomery County Police Reporter service that the mother frantically arrived in the store’s parking lot.

“I kept snapping to see if it would look at me, but one of its eyes kept rolling in the back of her head,” Reynolds said. He added that the infant was not crying and did not appear to have superficial injuries.

Investigators said they were in the process of interviewing the mother.

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In an odd turn of events, two suspects accused of robbing a Stop & Shop in Massachusetts on Thursday towed their car to a Burger King afterward before being apprehended by police, authorities said.

Massachusetts State Police troopers and a K9 team responded around 8:45 a.m. to help officers in North Attleborough find the man and woman authorities claimed robbed the Stop & Shop at 406 East Washington St.

The suspects sped away after the alleged armed robbery in a white Acura with a Massachusetts registration, state police said in a statement.

Authorities learned roughly an hour later the suspects had their car towed and brought to the Burger King and gas station on the northbound side of Route 24 in Bridgewater, according to the statement.

As troopers closed in on the suspects, the man, later identified as 36-year-old Justin O’Connell, allegedly carjacked a Toyota Camry and drove away.

The woman, later identified as 41-year-old Valerie Proulx, was arrested at the service plaza, according to state police.

Troopers chased after the stolen Camry into West Bridgewater, where O’Connell is accused of crashing near the intersection of Crescent and Spring Streets. He was taken into custody at the scene of the collision, authorities said.

O’Connell and Proulx, both of whom are from Brockton, were booked at the state police barracks in Middleborough, where the suspects claimed to need medical attention. They were being taken to an area hospital shortly before 12 p.m., according to officials.

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State police said Sunday they were still trying to identify the driver.

The 2014 Volkswagen was traveling in the eastbound lanes of I-66, near exit 66, when it changed lanes and struck the patrol car, police said.

A female trooper who was inside the patrol car was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital with serious but nonlife-threatening injuries, police said. She was released from the hospital Saturday and is recovering at home, authorities said.

Following the crash, police arrested the passenger, Christopher G. Rush, 37, of Woodbridge. Rush is charged with being drunk in public and obstruction of justice. He refused to identify the driver, police said.

Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said the crash remains under investigation and as of Sunday morning, police had not located the driver.

Authorities are urging drivers to be extra cautious while traveling in highway work zones. A large segment of I-66 — both inside and outside of the Capital Beltway in Northern Virginia — is an active work zone as the state pursues road widening projects.

In December, six highway construction workers were struck and injured when a man in an SUV crashed into a work zone also on I-66 in Arlington. In that overnight incident in the westbound lanes of the highway near Quincy Street, the driver and two passengers also fled on foot but were quickly caught. A Centreville, Va., man was charged with driving while intoxicated.

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CHICAGO — A car collided with a Brown Line train during a police pursuit Saturday night in Albany Park, leading to serious injuries for the driver.

The driver of the car, a 38-year-old man, sped away from a traffic stop about 8:20 p.m. and drove through a gate crossing in the 4600 block of North Albany Avenue and into the train, Chicago police said.

The driver was seriously injured in the crash and taken by paramedics to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Chicago fire officials said, and a passenger in the car was taken to Swedish Hospital in good condition.

Police said the train’s conductor was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center for treatment, as well, but no passengers on the train were hurt.

The driver was expected to face charges, police said.

The crash caused significant delays on the Brown Line and shuttle buses were provided to riders between the impacted stations, according to the CTA.

Normal service resumed with residual delays around 2 a.m. Sunday.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire – Copyright Chicago Sun-Times 2020.)

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