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Spears could feel agony of 3 feet

Times Staff Writer

Britney Spears: A podiatrist’s best friend?

Over the last month, Spears has run over the feet of three people -- two paparazzi and a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy.

At least one incident is being investigated, in part because Spears left the scene of the accident. The Los Angeles Police Department has informed Spears that if she does not provide a statement about the case involving the sheriff’s deputy, she could face misdemeanor charges for a vehicle code violation.

The deputy’s foot was run over this month as Spears left L.A. County Superior Court after a custody hearing involving her two children.

“There is no evidence to prove there was malicious intent on her part,” said LAPD spokesman Roger Mora. “She probably didn’t know, but you can still be looking at a misdemeanor for the fact that you left the scene.”

Spears’ latest incident occurred early Thursday as Spears was leaving the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills and rolled over the foot of one of several photographers who were covering her.

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An October incident also took place in Beverly Hills, where the pop princess ran over the foot of a TMZ.com cameraman.

Beverly Hills police said Spears may not have been at fault in Thursday’s roll-over. “There were independent witnesses there who felt the photographer didn’t move out of the way in time,” said Lt. Tony Lee, a spokesman with the Beverly Hills Police Department. “She was driving very slow.”

Lee said an accident report has not yet been completed.

Coverage of these incidents underscores how Spears, who has been front-page news in the tabloids for a spate of odd behavior and a bruising child custody battle, remains a huge draw. The pop princess’ troubles behind the wheel have been a sub-genre for such reports.

She was photographed last year driving with her infant son on her lap instead of having him strapped into a car seat as required by law.

The Los Angeles city attorney’s office charged Spears in September with misdemeanor hit-and-run and driving a vehicle without a license. In that incident, authorities said she left the scene of an accident after her Mercedes-Benz grazed a station wagon in a Studio City parking lot.

And last week she was pictured running a red light at the intersection of Coldwater Canyon Boulevard and Mulholland Drive.

In another incident, a paparazzo was seriously injured when his motorcycle crashed while following her SUV.

Some paparazzi who make a career out of following Spears about town defended her driving.

Francois Navarre, owner of X-17online.com, said she’s a careful driver around paparazzi. “There are some celebrities who take off fast from the curb and there have been cases where people have been hit by the car,” Navarre said.

He said Spears is in a “lose-lose” situation -- choosing between stopping in the middle of a mob or risking hitting someone.

But Frank Griffin, a partner in the Bauer-Griffin photo agency, said Spears is inviting the daily attention that results in such incidents. She could “avoid the whole melee by staying home and reading a book,” he said.

“It’s part of her lifestyle and I wonder if she could live without it,” Griffin said. “If someone gets their foot run over, it goes with the territory.”

There is a silver lining for getting up close and personal with Spears’ tires. TMZ auctioned off its photographer’s tire-tracked sock for $650, with proceeds going to the Children’s Defense Fund.

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com


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