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Woman to Stand Trial Over Car Chase

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A March 21 trial date has been scheduled for a North Hollywood woman accused of leading police on a high-speed chase through Van Nuys with her screaming 5-year-old son in the passenger seat beside her, without a seat belt.

Teresa Ann Weidenfeller, 33, pleaded not guilty Monday after being charged with seven misdemeanor counts, including child endangerment, hit-and-run driving and reckless driving that caused an injury.

Driving a 1985 Pontiac Firebird and hitting speeds up to 70 m.p.h., Weidenfeller ran stop signs and red lights during the pursuit Feb. 24 and hit two other cars, authorities said.

The young boy, whose name was not released, “was crying and screaming hysterically,” both during and after the chase, said Deputy City Atty. Richard Schmidt.

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Police initially stopped Weidenfeller on Van Nuys Boulevard, almost in front of the criminal courthouse, after observing her speeding and making unsafe lane changes, officers said. But when she handed officers her identification, she sped off and the chase began, authorities said.

Weidenfeller ran five red lights, according to a police report.

She was captured when police trapped her vehicle in a parking lot near Victory and Coldwater Canyon boulevards.

Her son, although frightened, was not physically injured during the incident. The boy was turned over to his father’s custody, police said.

During a search of Weidenfeller’s car, police found a cocaine pipe. She was also charged with possessing drug paraphernalia.


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