SALEM, Mass.

Salem police investigate bizarre fender-bender

Salem police are investigating a bizarre fender-bender in the city.

Police said a woman told them she was driving on Hancock Street on Saturday night when a red pickup truck backing out of a side street struck the rear quarter panel of her vehicle, causing minor damage.

Police told The Salem News that when she pulled over, a man wearing a red hooded sweatshirt came up to her passenger-side window, threw $500 in cash inside and walked away without saying a word.

Police looked for the pickup but could not find it.

On Sunday, the woman called police again to tell them she had located the truck parked just around the corner from where the accident occurred.

Officers obtained the license plate number and are investigating.


State inspector general will take over drug lab review

Gov. Deval Patrick has asked state Inspector General Glenn Cunha to take over the review of the former state drug lab at the center of a testing scandal.

Patrick said Cunha has the independence and expertise to conduct the broader review of the Hinton lab.

Attorney General Martha Coakley, who will continue to handle a criminal probe into the mishandling of drug tests at the lab, asked that Patrick appoint an independent investigator to determine whether the failures at the lab go beyond former chemist Annie Dookhan and her immediate supervisor.

Legal groups including the Massachusetts Bar Association were the first to ask for the independent probe.

Dookhan has pleaded not guilty to obstruction of justice. Officials say she tested more than 60,000 drug samples involving about 9,000 individuals over a nine-year period.


Cause of lumber yard fire classified as undetermined

The New Hampshire state fire marshal says the cause of a fire that destroyed a lumber yard in Brookline last week has been classified as undetermined.

Fire officials have completed their investigation into Thursday night’s fire at the Bingham Lumber Company and say no criminal intent is suspected.

No one was injured but the owner’s dog had to be rescued from an office in the building.

About 100 firefighters from New Hampshire and Massachusetts battled the blaze.

The owners said they plan to rebuild.


Vermont hoping to reach deal with software company

The Vermont court system hopes to reach a settlement soon with a software company over its online case management system.

In 2009, the system signed a $5 million contract with a Utah company to design a computerized system that would allow users to access case records at any time.

But court administrator Robert Greemore said it’s not working. He told Vermont Public Radio he hopes to reach a settlement with the vendor, New Dawn Technologies, by the end of the year.

The state has spent $1.7 million on the case management system.


Officials estimate Cliff Walk needs $2 million in repairs

Newport officials say it will cost $2 million to repair the city’s famed Cliff Walk that was damaged extensively by Superstorm Sandy.

The Newport Daily News reported sections of the scenic ocean walkway were washed away by a storm surge. It is now closed.

City Manager Jane Howington said the cost estimate is preliminary because a professional assessment has not been done.

Robert B. Power, chairman of the Cliff Walk Commission, called the storm a “game-changer” that knocked over long-standing walls.

The Cliff Walk often is called Rhode Island’s most visited tourist attraction and Howington said it’s of statewide interest to restore it.


Former state treasurer goes on trial in corruption case

A prosecutor has described former Massachusetts Treasurer Tim Cahill as someone who schemed to “reach into the pocket” of the state lottery to boost his sagging 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

But Cahill’s attorney said he was simply acting to defend the state lottery against attack ads when he approved a series of ads lauding the lottery and its management.

The two different pictures of Cahill were described during opening statements Monday at Cahill’s corruption trial.

Cahill is accused of airing $1.8 million in taxpayer-funded ads for the state lottery as a means of promoting his independent campaign for governor.

As treasurer, Cahill oversaw the state lottery. He is charged with violating state ethics laws and procurement fraud.

Cahill has said he did nothing wrong.

Cahill’s former campaign manager, Scott Campbell, is on trial on similar charges.