Shots Fired! Orange Man Charged With Witness Intimidation

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Jun 112021

Christopher Barretta

On June 3, 2021, at around 11:30 p.m., multiple gunshots were fired from a vehicle toward a residence on Old Tavern Road. Investigation showed that an occupied house and multiple vehicles in the driveway were struck with bullets. Although the residents were home at the time, there were no reported injuries.

Further investigation and evidence revealed that the suspect vehicle from which the shots were fired was a 2004 Hummer H2 registered to Christopher Barretta, 47, of 476 Alling Farm Road in Orange.
The victim in this shooting incident had also been the victim of a theft in 2020 for which Christopher Barretta was arrested. That court case, along with five other criminal cases involving Barretta, are pending in Milford Superior Court.
Officers seized the Hummer and executed a search warrant, during which evidence was recovered.
An arrest warrant was obtained and on June 10 at 2:19 p.m., officers conducted an investigative motor vehicle stop on Cummings Road, and Barretta was taken into custody and charged with witness intimidation.
He was held overnight and arraigned this morning, June 11 at CT Superior Court, Derby.
According to the police, this investigation remains ongoing. More charges and additional arrests are possible.

Smoke Detectors Save Lives: Orange Man Escapes House Fire Unharmed

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Jun 112021

(Photos by Marianne Miller)

Last night, Orange Live brought you some breaking news about a house fire at 467 Ridgeview Road where the Orange Volunteer Firefighters had been called just before 9 p.m.

Neighbors said a male resident was in the bedroom and awakened to smoke and flames in the room, but was able to escape without injury.
This morning Fire Marshal Jamie Vincent said the fire is still under investigation but based on statements by the occupant of the house at the time of the fire, and the fire patterns found in the area of origin, improperly discarded smoking materials in the bedroom may have played a part in the fire cause.
“We will be back out today to continue our investigation,” Vincent said.  “It’s important to note that the home was equipped with operating smoke alarms!”
Vincent added, “This was an excellent job by the first-in firefighters who, while there was smoke and heat damage to much of the first floor, contained the majority of the fire damage to the room of origin (the bedroom).”

Breaking: OVFD Fighting House Fire On Ridgeview

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Jun 102021

Just before 9 p.m., members of the Orange Volunteer Fire Department were on the scene of a very active house fire at 467 Ridgeview Road.

Word is that it was a real inferno.

The Woodbridge Volunteer Fire Department covered the town of Orange while our firefighters battled the blaze.

Stay clear of the area if you can and let them do their jobs. — The area is roped off.

NEVER run over fire hoses laid out in the road.

By 9:10 p.m. it appeared that the fire was knocked down, but the smoke was still visible from the Ranch-style home.

Neighbors said the whole area of the home where the bedroom once was is gone, and they were relieved to see their neighbor walking around unharmed. Click HERE for an unedited video shot by a neighbor.

We will have more information after we talk to the Fire Marshal.


Police Identify Alegi Field Homicide Victim

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Jun 092021

Woodbridge Police have identified the victim of Tuesday’s homicide that occurred on the property of the Pease Road Playground / Alegi Athletic Fields, located at 160 Pease Road, as Rondell Atkinson, 33, of West Haven.

Detectives from the Woodbridge Police Department and Connecticut State Police Central District Major Crime continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding his death and are seeking to locate his vehicle.

The vehicle, (depicted in the photograph) is a grey 2016 Hyundai Sonata, 4-door sedan, bearing Connecticut Registration:  BC15394.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Woodbridge Police Department at (203) 387-2511. 


Homicide Reported Within Blocks Of Amity High

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Jun 082021

The Woodbridge Police Department, in conjunction with the CT State Police Central District Major Crime Unit, are investigating a homicide after a body was discovered on the property of the Pease Road Playground /Alegi Athletic Fields at 160 Pease Road.

At around 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, June 8, police and emergency medical personnel responded to that location after a jogger reported finding a body.

A male victim, with gunshot wounds was found deceased at the scene and police determined that there was no immediate threat to the community.

Investigators continue to work to positively identify the victim and determine the circumstances surrounding this incident.

NOTE: The playground (as depicted on the map) is not far from the Amity High School campus.

The park area has been reopened to the public.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Woodbridge Police Department at 203-387-2511.

Orange Police: Man Charged With Disorderly Conduct

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Jun 062021

On Wednesday, June 2, officers were dispatched to the Orange Police Department to process Nicholas Fronek, 22, of West Haven (and Endicott, NY) who was turning himself in on an active arrest warrant for Disorderly Conduct at 12:26 p.m. 

According to the report, the warrant stemmed from an incident that occurred on May 8 at the Home Depot. 

Fronek was taken into custody and charged with disorderly conduct.

He was released on a promise to appear in court on June. 16.


Orange Police: Woman Charged With Criminal Impersonation

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Jun 032021

On Tuesday, June 1, at 8 p.m., Orange Police responded to the City of Derby to pick up Janai Broadnax-Jenkins, 23, of Stratford, who was being detained by a state trooper. 

According to the report, she was stopped on an unrelated matter when it was discovered that she was wanted on an active arrest warrant out of Orange. 

The warrant stemmed from an incident that occurred on Oct. 10, 2019. Subsequently, she was taken into custody and charged with interference/resisting arrest, criminal impersonation, and second-degree forgery.

Broadnax-Jenkins posted a $2,500 bond and received a court date of June 15.


Orange Memorial Day Ceremony Rainy Weather Style

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May 302021

The Memorial Day Ceremony at the gazebo is a treasured tradition in the town of Orange. The Memorial Day Committee works tirelessly for months to plan the events, from who the honored veterans will be to inviting town and state dignitaries and putting together the marching order for the parade.

So when Mother Nature sticks her nose into the mix and decides to rain on the parade, the committee has to quickly change the logistics — move the very important ceremony indoors — inform the public that there won’t be a parade, and ensure that the building custodian is available at the conclusion of the ceremony.


This year, longtime chairman Kevin Gilbert, who ran the events for decades, took a step back and handed the reigns over to Kellie Martino. Oh, Kevin is still a part of the planning but he is happy to see things run so smoothly with a new chairman at the helm. “She did a wonderful job, thinking to do things we’ve never done before,” Gilbert said. “Like the Facebook page.”

Martino brought the Committee into the 21st century, introducing an Orange Memorial Day Parade Facebook page to which everyone could refer for information and last-minute updates, such as posting the parade cancellation at 8:30 a.m.

The indoor ceremony was last-minute indeed, but very well organized and well attended. The Orange Police Honor Guard, accompanied by Chief Robert Gagne and Assistant Chief Max Martins were present. Members of Orange CERT, a scout troop, and the American Legion Post 127 Honor Guard also attended. The entire rear corner of the Community Center Gym was filled by the rank and file of the Orange Volunteer Fire Department.

Many veterans filled the seats, that were spaced a “safe distance” apart. Some in the audience wore masks, others did not.

The ceremony followed the regular schedule, invocation; Pledge of Allegiance; Diane Raikis’s beautiful rendition of the National Anthem; comments from First Selectman Jim Zeoli, then the introductions of, and comments by the three honored veterans — Grand Marshal Dr. Norman Marieb Lt. MCUSNR US Navy 1961-63, Chief of Staff Kevin Hadlock Lt. US Navy 1971-74, and Honored Veteran Louis Eagle SP4 US Army 1960-63.

Our lawmakers came next: Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Senator Richard Blumenthal, and former House Republican Leader Themis Klarides.

They were followed by Keynote speaker Chris Carvath, an attorney who also serves on the Orange Police Commission.

Anna May Pieger, the president of the Post #127 Auxiliary presented the sons of Al Pol and Richard Manley the sashes that their fathers wore in past parades.

One staple of the ceremony is the student essay winners’ reading of their winning submissions. The subject of the 2021 essay was “Why do we celebrate Memorial Day?”

The winners, one from each Orange elementary school were Armaan Shrivastav, Chloe Chang and Avery French. Their essays won the approving nods of the veterans in attendance.

Rosa DeLauro and Richard Blumenthal both took copies of the essays to enter into the state’s congressional and senate records.

New this year, was the Memorial Day Program Cover Contest. The winner of the inaugural contest was student Avery Alves.

Fred O’Brien read the names of every Orange veteran who passed away between May 2019 to May 2021.

Kevin McKeon played Taps as the veterans stood at attention and saluted.

The ceremony concluded with a benediction from Antoinette Hudgens.

It was wonderful to see so many families come out to honor the brave men and women who helped to secure our freedom.



Unusual MVA Leaves Man With Injuries In Orange

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May 282021

When a reader sees something happening in town and asks me about it, I try to get answers as soon as possible.

In this case, the caller asked “What happened near the Duchess Restaurant? It looks like someone was run over by a car or something.”

I called Asst. Police Chief Max Martins and the short version of the event goes like this.

A car broke down at Racebrook and the Boston Post Road on Thursday night.

The male driver wanted to get the car out of the roadway and put it in neutral, then began pushing it, steering it down Racebrook/Indian River with the driver’s door open.

The vehicle picked up momentum as it proceeded down the hill.

Unfortunately, the man lost his footing and fell onto the road, and the car continued rolling on without him.

As he lay in the street, a vehicle being driven up the road from the opposite direction hit him, running over his leg(s) and pelvis.

Emergency personnel attended to the injured man.

His car came to rest near Connecticut Pest Elimination, Inc. on Indian River Road.

The names of the victim and the other driver were not available.




May 282021

Orange Live has been in business for 9 years. Over that time I’ve had many “favorite stories” and with Memorial Day coming up this weekend, my thoughts immediately went to this pearl from our second week online.  

I was talking to Denise Mirto near the bleachers during the ceremony at the gazebo and right before our eyes, this happened:

For the longest time Parade Committee Chairman Kevin Gilbert and his crew worked to plan the perfect Memorial Day Ceremony and parade.

On Sunday, May 27, the streets were lined with residents anxious to see the parade pass by, while others gathered on the Orange Fairgrounds for the Memorial Day Ceremony, which included a special tribute to WWII Veterans.

The Asst. Police Chief jumped into action during a medical emergency at the Orange Fairgrounds on Sunday.

Everything was running smoothly at the gazebo, with Orange First Selectman Jim Zeoli giving one of his now-famous “off the top of his head” speeches and Grand Marshal Jim White being brief, but inspirational in his words to the audience.

The air was thick with humidity and the heat rather stifling, but that didn’t stop the veterans from enjoying themselves or keep the lines of National Guardsmen, Volunteer Firefighters, CERT members, or the Police honor guard from standing tall in their formations.

As Chief of Staff Vito DeVito began his speech, there was a “thump” near the bleachers to the left of the gazebo, an audible gasp as someone recognized an elderly resident who had fallen from his third-row seat.

People who knew what to do rushed to help, among them Asst. Police Chief Edward Koether, who had witnessed the fall from his vantage point in the gazebo.

It’s a well-known fact that Orange Police Officers are all first responders and trained EMTs. Koether recently earned his EMT certification and quickly took control of the situation, making sure the elderly man was breathing and then had room to breathe as more and more Good Samaritans gathered around him.

Several people instinctively called 911 and brought water to the scene. Police officers arrived with their medical supply bags, Walter Bespuda rushed to his car to get an umbrella to help keep the patient out of the hot sun, and an ambulance arrived with paramedics to provide advanced medical assistance while state Rep. Themis Klarides held the umbrella over them.

The ceremony was delayed for several minutes until the patient’s condition was stabilized and then, when we were assured that he would be alright, the program continued.

The buzz on the far right of the gazebo was not about the patient, but about the Asst. Chief, who surprised and amazed many members of the CERT group who were at the best vantage point.

It seems that Koether saw the man drop to the ground and he didn’t want to waste time walking around the ramp or risk tripping over a speaker wire, so he simply “flew” over the gazebo railing and hit the ground running in what was described as a perfect 10.

CERT member Annie Davis said, “He just jumped over the rail like a track star and made a perfect landing, then took off. It was amazing.”

CERT Leader Al Mushin said, “He one-handed that railing and went over it like a professional athlete. I’ve said before we have a great professional police department in Orange… and you can see why by the leadership.”

Koether’s wife, Peggy, later told Orange Live that her husband was on the track team in High School (more than 30 years ago) and jumped hurdles.

After he was cleared by AMR, the patient joined Koether in the shade of the gazebo and stood for the remainder of the ceremony out of the hot sun.

Chief Robert Gagne leaned into Koether and asked, “Did you jump over the railing?”

“Ya,” Koether responded with a smile.

The only thing wrong with Koether’s remarkable feat is that no one captured it on video.

Editor’s Note: Never one to blow his own horn, Koether had no official comment about the event. But the look in his eye said it all — he was just doing his job.

Congratulations to you, Ed, and all the responding officers, for a job well done.

— originally published on May 28, 2012