A lengthy police chase that covered parts of Schenectady and Rotterdam ended Thursday evening with an SUV slamming into a TrustCo bank branch near the busy five-way intersection of Curry Road and Altamont Avenue.
As many as four people were in the car during the chase, and some were taken from the crash scene in ambulances. Indications from police radio transmissions and witnesses at the scene indicated the injuries did not appear to be serious.
No one outside the car appeared to be injured.
The chase began just after 6:30 p.m. after an attempted traffic stop on Albany Street, according to Schenectady police. Officers pursued the Ford Escape onto Interstate 890 near Rotterdam Square Mall and eventually, after about 20 minutes, to Curry Road and Altamont Avenue, according to radio transmissions.
Police said the SUV was believed to have been involved in a pellet gun assault earlier in the day in Schenectady.
Witnessing the end of the chase was Lois Fortune, of Rotterdam. She said she was driving on Altamont Avenue and pulled over near Price Chopper and the TrustCo branch for police cars behind her and the chase coming from in front of her.
"The next thing you know, you see the car go into the building," Fortune said. "It came flying around the corner, jumps the curb here, takes out of couple signs and go right into the building."
She then saw the chasing officers swarm from their cars, guns drawn, to pull the occupants from the SUV.
The SUV crashed through a window at the bank, going completely inside the building. It appeared from radio transmissions and witnesses that some of the occupants may have gotten out of the car and were arrested inside the bank.
The scene itself quickly attracted many onlookers. Altamont Avenue remained open, but police had to repeatedly tell people to stay out of the street and on the sidewalks.
Bill Coons, of Rotterdam, was coming out of the nearby Hess gas station when he saw the chase near its end.
"I saw the silver Jeep coming down Curry Road and multiple cops chasing at high speed," Coons said. "It appeared to lose control on this corner and jump the curb.
"It hit the bank, went right into the bank," Coons added, "slammed right into it."
When he saw the officers pull their weapons, Coons said he instinctively ducked, unsure of what might happen. No shots were fired, however.
"It's crazy, it's just crazy," Coons said.
Fortune said it was like watching a movie.
"It's like really being in the movies, seeing a movie," Fortune said. "It just all happened so fast."