A Mill Hall man who was accused of trafficking large amounts of heroin into the area and who was caught in the act in May — leading to a police chase and serious car accident — has been found guilty of felony charges stemming from the incident.
A Centre County jury found Stacy Fanelle Henry, 38, guilty of possessing heroin with intent to deliver, fleeing from police and causing an accident that resulted in serious injury while not being properly licensed, all felonies. He also was convicted of several misdemeanor and summary counts.
Henry led police on a brief high-speed pursuit May 2 on North Atherton Street and Colonnade Way that ended when he crashed his vehicle. A passenger, Alicia Gardner, of Bellefonte, suffered a broken neck, spine and pelvis.
Gardner also was charged with drug counts, including a felony, after the crash. The case against Gardner is still pending, and she is awaiting a pretrial conference later this month, according to her attorney, Karen Muir.
Gardner previously testified that drugs found in her purse after the crash were put there by Henry and that she wanted no part in an alleged drug deal that happened earlier in the day.
Attorney Steven Trialonas, who represented Henry, said he was disappointed by the verdict regarding the drug counts.
“I thought the evidence was insufficient to prove Mr. Henry possessed heroin that was recovered from inside a female companion’s purse,” Trialonas said in an email.
Police said at the time of the accident that Henry and Gardner were being investigated for selling drugs from the Econo Lodge motel on Benner Pike.
On the day of the crash, police were following Henry’s vehicle from a home outside Bellefonte after conducting a controlled buy.
An officer testified at a preliminary hearing that Henry noticed an unmarked police car following his vehicle and began to drive aggressively, at one point traveling through a red light.
Police initiated a traffic stop in the Wal-Mart parking lot on North Atherton Street. Henry stopped and Gardner exited the vehicle, but was ordered to return to the car by police.
When Gardner got back in, Henry drove off at a high speed. His car ran another red light and struck a vehicle then a lamp post and street sign before landing on its roof in the Penn State Federal Credit Union parking lot.
Gardner was ejected during the crash.
Police said they found 16 bags of heroin, a digital scale, a small amount of marijuana and $8,000 in Gardner’s purse.
Prosecutors said in a statement that the woman testified that Henry recruited her to sell drugs to other locals.
She said Henry was planning to get more heroin from the New Jersey area to sell in Centre County, according to prosecutors.
District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller’s office said in a statement that she will seek “a substantial state sentence” for Henry, who they said has four prior felony convictions for selling or distributing drugs.
“The defendant’s criminal voyage has ended,” Parks Miller said in a statement. “We will not tolerate drug dealers who venture into our community with hopes of easy money and fast getaways. If you are in the business of destroying lives with poison, we will catch you and you will pay.”
Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter.