Plane crashes beside runway; pilot, 87, walks away

A 1978 Cessna 172N crashed into the wooded area on the east side of the airport runway. Photo contributed

GHENT—An attempt to take-off from the Columbia County Airport ended in a crash into the woods for an 87-year-old pilot, July 29 just before 2 p.m.

Columbia County 911 dispatched Sheriff’s deputies to the crash just off the airport runway at 1142 Route 9H.

Sheriff’s Sergeant Brian Molinski arrived on the scene and found Fred DeFilippis, 87, of Dobbs Ferry (Westchester County) at the crash scene.

Mr. DeFilippis was the pilot, and sole occupant of the airplane—a 1978 Cessna 172N, single-engine, fixed-wing craft. He was trying to take off from the airport, but as the airplane became airborne, it veered to the left for an unknown reason, and crashed into the wooded area on the east side of the runway.

Mr. DeFilippis was able to get out of the plane and walked away unhurt.

He was evaluated on the scene by members of the Greenport Rescue Squad and refused any further medical treatment.

Along with the squad and Sgt. Molinski, Sheriff David Bartlett, Undersheriff John Davi, Lieutenant Louis Bray, Senior Investigator Mark Dunspaugh, Investigator Reagan Anderson, Sgt. Eli Fieser, and Deputy Daniel Keyser were all on scene. State Police, West Ghent firefighters were also there.

The Federal Aviation Administration in Albany was contacted regarding the crash. Firefighters were back in service at 2:29 p.m.

New Lebanon

An investigation into a July 6 domestic dispute in New Lebanon led to the arrest of Deborah A. Racine, 62, of New Lebanon for fourth degree criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor, by Deputy Patrick McMahon at 2:45 p.m. that date. Ms. Racine was arraigned by Justice Delena M. Schaefer in Canaan Court. She was released on her own recognizance, and directed to appear in New Lebanon Court for further proceedings August 13.


John A. Southard, Jr., 30, of Clermont was charged with second degree criminal contempt, a class A misdemeanor, by Deputy Matt Leonard and Sgt, Brian Molinski, July 13 at 10:03 a.m.

Mr. Southard is accused of violating a stay-away order of protection. He was arraigned in Germantown Court before Justice John Rustici. He was released on his own recognizance and directed to return to Clermont Town Court at a later date.

The following face drug- and/or alcohol-related charges:

*Kristin A. Derosa, 49, of Salt Point was charged with seventh degree criminal possession of controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor; second degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a class U misdemeanor; possession of a controlled substance not in its original container, violation; unregistered motor vehicle; uninsured motor vehicle; inadequate plate lamps; unlicensed operator; improper/switched plates, by Sheriff’s deputies, June 19 at 1:11 a.m. Ms. Derosa was stopped on the Taconic State Parkway in Gallatin for a vehicle and traffic violation. During the stop, she allegedly possessed a controlled substance.
She was issued traffic and appearance tickets returnable in Gallatin Court at a later date.

*Brandon L. Fielder, 31, of Ghent was charged with seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance; driving while ability impaired by drugs, a class U misdemeanor; and unlawful possession of marijuana, by Deputies Michael Meier and John Sullivan, July 11 at 12:23 a.m. Deputies came upon a stopped vehicle, partially in the roadway. A subsequent investigation lead to the arrest of Mr. Fielder who was issued tickets directing him to appear in the Stuyvesant Court at a later date.

Nathanial J. Taylor, 34, of Niverville was charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs (DWAI-drugs), a class U misdemeanor; possession of a hypodermic instrument, a class A misdemeanor, and failure to keep right, a traffic infraction. Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to investigate a personal injury auto accident in the vicinity area of the Columbia County Airport, 1142 Route 9H, a vehicle off the road into pole, July 5 at 3:28 p.m.

An investigation of the accident lead to Mr. Taylor’s arrest.

He was originally taken to Columbia Memorial Hospital by the Greenport Rescue Squad with abrasions and contusions. Upon his release from the hospital, he was charged by Deputy Daniel Keyser and Sgt. Jeffrey Hofstetter at 4:30pm. He was issued tickets directing him to appear in Ghent Court at a later date. West Ghent firefighters were clear from the scene at 4:08 p.m.

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