Woman pleads guilty to wild chase through Schenectady, Rotterdam
SCHENECTADY & ROTTERDAM The woman who led police on a wild chase through Schenectady and Rotterdam over the summer that ended with her slamming into a closed bank pleaded guilty Friday to a felony.
Natasha Popolizio, 25, is to get a total of two to four years in state prison in exchange for her plea.
Popolizio pleaded guilty in Schenectady County Court to one count of first-degree reckless endangerment, admitting she created a grave risk of death throughout the Aug. 1 chase, including nearly hitting a pedestrian on Broadway.
No one ended up being seriously hurt as a result. The chase ended after Popolizio lost control of her SUV and slammed into the Trustco Bank branch on Altamont Avenue, near Curry Road. The SUV hit a window and came to rest inside the structure. The bank had already closed for the day.
There were two passengers inside the car with Popolizio, but no one was seriously hurt.
The chase began just after 6:30 p.m. when police attempted to stop her on Albany Street in Schenectady, authorities said. Popolizio stopped her vehicle, but sped off after officers got out of their car.
At various points the chase went onto Interstate 890 near Rotterdam Square mall, and eventually, after about 20 minutes, to Curry Road and Altamont Avenue. Police said the car was believed to have been involved in a pellet gun assault earlier that day in Schenectady.
Popolizio was also found with a small amount of drugs, authorities said.
She is to be sentenced in January. Judge Polly Hoye on Friday accepted the plea.
The case was not the first time Popolizio had been involved in a chase. On Feb. 1, 2008 she was arrested and charged with reckless endangerment, driving while ability impaired, unlawfully fleeing from police and other charges after allegedly attempting to run over a police officer in Johnstown. In that incident, she pleaded guilty to first-degree reckless endangerment and was sentenced to 1 to 3 years in state prison.