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Passenger accused in Amsterdam-Schenectady chase also arrested in robbery-related conspiracy

Passenger accused in Amsterdam-Schenectady chase also arrested in robbery-related conspiracy

The conspiracy count relates to an unrelated investigation from last month, authorities say
Passenger accused in Amsterdam-Schenectady chase also arrested in robbery-related conspiracy
Destanee Gilchrist
Photographer: Montgomery County Sheriff's Office (inset); file photo (Background)

AMSTERDAM - One of two passengers arrested in connection with Tuesday's chase from Amsterdam to Schenectady is now facing an extra, unrelated conspiracy count in connection with a robbery, records show.

Meanwhile, Montgomery County Sheriff Jeffrey Smith provided more details on the chase itself Thursday, including that the car being pursued drove the wrong way for a time on Route 5, forcing at least one oncoming car off the road.

The passenger facing the extra conspiracy count was identified as Destanee A. Gilchrist, 24, of Amsterdam. She's been listed at both Williams Street and Lefferts Street addresses.

She faces one count of fourth-degree conspiracy, a felony, in connection with an incident from early Feb. 24 at Gilchrist's then-Lefferts Street address, according to police allegations filed in court.

Gilchrist is accused of conspiring with three other people that morning to invite a man to her apartment where the three others then stole the man's cell phone, jewelry and $200 in cash under threat, according to the police allegations filed in court.

The three people threatened the man with a knife and hit him with a liquor bottle and with fists on his head, causing a cut and broken eye socket, according to the allegations. The incident is alleged to have gone on for 50 minutes, from approximately 1:30 a.m. that morning until 2:20 a.m.

Gilchrist faces only the conspiracy count and not a robbery count. No other arrests have been made in the case and neither of the other two arrested in the chase are suspected of involvement in the robbery-conspiracy case, a police spokesman said. The investigation into the robbery is ongoing.

Top: Stanley Lacy, Destanee Gilchrist Bottom: Janelle Vennett; Credit: Montgomery County Sheriff (Insets); File: Background

Gilchrist was charged along with Stanley Lacy, 28, of Strong Street, Schenectady, and Janelle A. Vannett, 25, of Teller Street, Schenectady, in connection with the Tuesday chase.

All three face felony drug charges related to drugs found following the conclusion of the chase. Lacy, the accused driver, also faces charges related to the chase itself.

The chase began at about 1:13 p.m. Tuesday on Church Street in Amsterdam. A Montgomery County Sheriff's deputy attempted to stop the vehicle for a vehicle and traffic violation, Smith said. The deputy had no other knowledge or information about the car, the sheriff said.

The driver, however, refused to stop and sped off. Amsterdam police soon responded with state police joining in later. Lacy took multiple turns in the city and then headed east out of the jurisdiction on Route 5, Smith said.

Route 5 turns into a divided highway east of Amsterdam and, for one stretch, Lacy drove the wrong way down the oncoming lane, Smith said.

Lacy encountered oncoming traffic during that stretch and one oncoming driver ended up in the ditch trying to avoid him, Smith said. While that vehicle had to be pulled out of the ditch by a tow truck, the driver was uninjured, Smith said.

Lacy continued east on Route 5 at speeds topping out at about 80 mph, Smith said. The speed limits on Route 5 and Interstate 890 are 55 mph.

Law enforcement ahead of the chase prepared to try and stop the vehicle on I-890, near the Campbell Road exit, Exit 2, with a spike strip to puncture its tires, but the vehicle got past before they were able to deploy it, Smith said.

Lacy then got off I-890 onto the access road and went to get back on the interstate at the next on ramp when a tire on his vehicle blew on its own, Smith said. The vehicle hit the guardrail and came to a stop. No one inside the vehicle was hurt and all three surrendered there, Smith said.

Just before the vehicle hit the guardrail, though, and at about the time the tire blew, the pursuing deputy saw items thrown from the vehicle, Smith said. Officers soon recovered those items and determined them to include cocaine, Smith said.

Lacy, Gilchrist and Vennett face one count each of third-degree and fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, both felonies. Each of the charges filed in court references cocaine.

Lacy also faces charges related to the chase, including fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle, reckless endangerment and aggravated unlicensed operation, all misdemeanors.

All three were arraigned in Amsterdam City Court. Gilchrist and Vennett were released on their own recognizance to appear in court later. Lacy was held without bail due to two prior convictions and him being currently on parole.

The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office was assisted by the Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Schenectady police departments, the state police, Canadian-Pacific Railroad Police and state parole.

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