Category Archives: Police video

Turner Fatal accident

ImageEvery time I have to go to a fatal accident, I can’t help think about the what if’s.  There have been many books, poems, stories and movies written about how people’s lives are often changed by a decision that changes their lives.  My friend Mark LaFlamme has a story about a woman who obsessed about her son being killed.  If she had not bent over to pick up that penny, everything would be different.  Her son would not have died because the time it took her to do that, she would not have been driving under the overpass at the time the piece of concrete fell off and went through her windscreen, killing him instantly.  What if.  What if Susan Fortier had taken another second to adjust her radio….or…or…or…All the what if’s. Same with Mr. Chabot, driving the truck that hit her.

We have broken away from the pack at the Sun Journal by not allowing just anybody to comment on our stories.  We have had far fewer comments than others, but our conversations are more civil and intelligent for the most part.  I have started adding my comments to some stories, especially when others are either spreading misinformation, have facts wrong, or are just seeking more information.  Following is a comment I posted shortly after others started commenting about this accident, speculating and somewhat accusatory.

In the initial story we published online, we reported that Mr. Chabot was traveling in the middle lane, designated for turning only, as that is was some witnesses said. Later I was told that some said he was not. From the skid marks, it appears he was not, but he could have started to swerve to the right to try avoiding the car pulling out in front of him, and by the time he applied his brakes, he had traveled out of the turning lane. Or, the tractor trailer that was turning could have been in the gigantic breakdown lane and Mr. Chabot was indeed in the travel lane all the time. The state police reconstruction teams are really good at what they do and with the evidence and eye witness accounts, I am pretty confident they will figure out exactly what happened. One thing for certain is that there was a tragic loss of life. I have seen so many of these over the past 30 years I have been a photojournalist, but it still breaks my heart when I am at a scene like this. Perhaps the woman had a mechanical issue with her car, she could have missed the brake and hit the gas instead. However, I would not be surprised if it was just a case of not exercising enough caution. Driver inattentiveness, distractions, and being in a hurry seems to be a factor that is causing more and more accidents these days. Folks, take a little more time, caution and care when driving. As the saying goes, “the life you save, may be yours.” My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the woman who lost her life today…… here to read the full story


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Out of breath skidder run

On my way into work yesterday, two days ago now, I heard a call on my scanner that police were being dispatched for a woman on River Road calling in saying she can hear a man yelling for help in the woods behind her house.  I headed in that direction, could be something.  I hear one cop giving directions to another that he is about 300 feet in the woods with a man trapped under his skidder.  I pressed a little more on the gas and arrived shortly after. Getting out of my car, I can hear them yelling, the skidder still running.  I try to find a path through the woods, but there is none, just downed branches and logs, a stream to cross and lots of slash.  Too much gear to take everything, so I opt for my video bag and head in.  At one point I had to roll over a pile of slash as I was waist deep in it.  About half way there I hear the skidder shut off.  I turn on my camera.  Glad I chose not to wear shorts.  Check out the video here.Image

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Crash, burn and cooking vegan

On my way to the office for the start of my night shift Monday I no sooner turned on my scanner than a call came in for an additional firetruck to go to the scene  to help contain fuel being spilled and heading to the storm drains.  At L-A Harley.    I had nothing scheduled until  later, so I headed that way.  When I arrived, I will not lie.  I was excited.  A motorcycle was crushed under the wheels of a truck.  What a great photo.  Morbid perhaps.  But for a photojournalist, a moving, well not really, but stunning imagery.  I could tell at once nobody was seriously hurt.  The demeanor of the police and firefighters is a dead, pardon the pun, giveaway.   I shot, talked to firefighters and cops, bystanders, employees and the like.  Shot some more and waited until there was a moment when the drivers were done talking with the police and firefighters.  I approached them with my camera not pointing in their face, and managed to talk to both drivers and got information for a caption.  The driver of the bike said the sun was in his eyes and he thought the truck was turning left, so he went to pass on the right.  He made an assumption and paid the price.  He is lucky to be alive.

While skulking around, waiting for one of them to put a hand on his head or face, or  some other more dramatic moment, I got a call from a fellow Sun Journal employee.  They were having mechanical difficulties with their vehicle and asked if I could come over and help.  I hung out at the scene for a few more minutes.  Documenting a scene like this is akin to covering a baseball game.  You might get your best photo in the first inning, but stay the entire game hoping for a better one.  I had some great shots already, but might have gotten a better one.  I stayed a little longer, but didn’t get what I was looking for.  I was focusing so long on trying to get one of the drivers, preferably Don Morris, the lucky one who was riding the bike, hoping he would  express some emotion that would have put the photo over the top.  But that didn’t happen.  I did see the irony of the Ride Safe logo on the license plate and shot a closeup.

The first comment from a reader online said that photo told the story best.  It is a wicked literal photo.

I helped my colleague with their car issue and headed to the office where I uploaded the photos to the website and headed to CMMC where I shot a video and photos of a class about eating better that will be our Eats for this Sunday’s B section.  I learned about the benefits of a vegan diet and was entertained by a former Soviet bloc cook who has traveled the world and for a month, for free, show anyone interested, how to eat better and have it taste good.

About 10 minutes into it, I got a call from Judy Meyer, managing editor days, and a great boss, talented writer, editor and champion of freedom of the press, telling me there is a possible structure fire, but will call back if it turns out to be bad, so don’t go yet, but can you scoot if needed.  Of course.  Don’t worry about it came the call 5 minutes later.  Five after that, it might be something, can you check it out when you get done.

I did and in the middle of shooting that, a call for smoke coming from Blake Street Towers.  Race there and while getting out of my car there, a call for possible smoke coming from Bates Mill.  I can see smoke for sure coming from Blake Street, so I start shooting.  Some trucks diverted to the mill, but later the caller reporting the Bates Mill fire calls back and says it just the smoke from the towers.   Unlike the TV guys who tend to stay in one place, I walk around the entire building and get a variety of different scenes playing out.

Head back to the office, process the lot, and get ready to punch out a few minutes early.  Call it not getting a lunch break.  An eventful, but short shift for a change.  Just then a friend, knowing I am late guy, calls and  says “nice night for a bike ride, ya think!”

Monday night’s I usually get home when everyone is calling it a night anyway, it could not be any better weather,  I did not get to the gym today, ok.   What a perfect night for a ride through LA.   A minute before midnight I get home and my oldest son Ryan is just going to bed.  I say goodnight and tell him I am taking Allie for a walk.  His eyes open wide, sits up and says.  “I’m coming, I want to spend some time with you dad.”   We have gone on hundreds of walks with the dog, many late at night.  But both of us know they will be coming to an end soon as he is heading off to boot camp at the end of the summer.  I am so proud of him, happy for him, and am confident he will do great things.  But damn if I won’t miss my son.  A great way to end my day.

Of all the images I have from today, the one that will last the longest is the look in Ryan’s eyes when he shot up from his bed with a big smile on his face, wanting nothing more than to spend time with me.

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Filed under Day at work, Feature, Fire, Police video

Methadone story

Today I went to St. Mary’s Hospital to shoot a video of an interview with a rehab doctor. He had some interesting insight and theories about people who use methadone and why they are on it, why they need to be on it and how long they should be on it. Last week I went to the prison in Windham for an interview a girl from Lewiston who is 26, and has been in and out of jail for more than a decade. She does not think methadone should be given out. It is ironic that I knew her when she was 12. I had her as a student in my camera club when she went to Longley Elementary School. She only went to school for another two years. I kinda figured she would end up in jail. She was doing drugs then, had an older boyfriend and was getting into trouble. She was a good kid, but had no family life and her circle of friends would only lead her down a bad road. A dozen plus years later she is ready to clean up her act and “grow up” in her own words. We have other interviews with other sources concerning this hot topic. It is scheduled to run this Sunday, but that may change as it might be too much to edit before the weekend. Whenever it runs, it should be very interesting, shedding light on all sides of the issue.

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Filed under Day at work, Police video