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    Sunday, May 19, 2024

    Pair accused of ripping up sections of Essex Steam Train track

    Old Saybrook ―A pair of Clinton residents are accused of ripping up nearly a half-mile of state park railroad track that makes up a popular tourist destination and selling the material to local scrap yards.

    Nicole S. Hooghkirk, 38, and Jason A. Hubbard, 47, were charged April 9 with dismantling and damaging 0.4 miles of railroad track located in the Connecticut Valley Railroad State Park, according to state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Environmental Conservation Police.

    The park and track are leased by DEEP to the Valley Railroad Company, which runs the popular year-round Essex Steam Train and Riverboat outings.

    Police said Hooghkirk and Hubbard were seen on Feb. 26 removing sections of track which were later repaired.

    The two were each charged with first-degree damage to railroad property, first-degree criminal mischief, fourth-degree larceny, second-degree reckless endangerment, conspiracy to commit first-degree damage to railroad property, conspiracy to commit first-degree criminal mischief, conspiracy to commit fourth-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit second-degree reckless endangerment.

    Neither defendant has entered a plea in their cases, according to the state’s judicial website. Hubbard is expected to appear again in Middletown Superior Court on May 24 and Hooghkirk on May 23.

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