May 14, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services

PORTSMOUTH, N.H.

Bridge damaged by tanker reopens ahead of schedule

A bridge connecting New Hampshire and Maine that was damaged by an oil tanker on April 1 has reopened to traffic.

New Hampshire Transportation Department spokesman Bill Boynton said the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge reopened about 11:30 a.m. Monday, ahead of schedule. Authorities originally said the bridge would remain closed until Memorial Day weekend.

This means two bridges are now open between Portsmouth and Kittery. The other is the Piscataqua River Bridge on Interstate 95. The Memorial Bridge is under construction and is expected to open in July.

JEFFERSON

Man armed with handgun held after police standoff

A Jefferson man who police say was armed with a handgun was arrested Monday after he allegedly tried to "intimidate" a crew of construction workers.

Lt. Rand Maker said John Burbank, 34, of 288 Goose Hill Road was impaired when he approached the road crew that was working near his home. When police arrived around 2:30 p.m., Burbank retreated to his home and refused requests by officers to come out.

Lincoln County sheriff's deputies, the Maine Warden Service and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency surrounded Burbank's home.

After a standoff that lasted about 45 minutes, Burbank surrendered to police. He was charged with the felony of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and the civil offense of creating a police standoff.

AUGUSTA

I-95 interchange bridge closing for three months

A well-traveled Interstate 95 interchange bridge in Augusta is shutting down for about three months.

The Department of Transportation says the bridge leading from the Exit 113 ramp from the southbound lanes of I-95 to Route 3 eastbound will close starting Monday as part of comprehensive $13 million project. The project will improve the interchange and nearby roads and intersections to ease congestion and improve traffic flow with construction of the new regional hospital known as the Alfond Center for Health.

Officials said signs will direct traffic to an alternate route.

The department also said the interchange ramp leading from Route 3 to the northbound lanes of I-95 is due to reopen on May 31. It closed to traffic in April as part of the project.

PORTLAND

Man serving life sentences asks court to admit DNA

A man who is serving two life sentences for the 1999 execution-style shooting deaths of his ex-girlfriend and the toddler she was baby-sitting is asking the state's highest court to admit DNA tests that he says might show somebody else committed the killings.

An attorney for Jeffrey Cookson, 49, will appear before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Wednesday appealing a lower court judge's ruling denying his motion for DNA testing on clothes worn by another man who claimed responsibility for the killings, but later recanted.

In denying the motion, the lower-court judge said he had failed to demonstrate the necessary chain of custody. Cookson is arguing the court held him to a higher legal standard than required by statute.

Cookson denies killing Mindy Gould, 20, and 21-month-old Treven Cunningham in Dexter.

BANGOR

Police officer credited with saving life of man on bridge

A Bangor police officer is being credited with saving the life of a despondent man threatening to jump off a bridge.

Police said Officer Derek Laflin responded to the Valley Avenue bridge about 9:25 p.m. Sunday to reports of a man on the outer railing.

Laflin tried to negotiate with the man but he would not communicate. Laflin backed away and then talked with the man before grabbing hold of him and pulling him to safety.

The police report said Laflin's actions were "decisive and clearly in good judgment."

The man was taken to a hospital for evaluation. He told Laflin that his girlfriend had left him and was taking their children.

 

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