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Driver, Kids Survive Her Suspected Suicide Try

June 25, 2003|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

An Upland woman who allegedly tried to kill herself and her two children by driving her car off a Mt. Baldy cliff Sunday night faces two felony counts of child endangerment.

The woman, 23-year-old Leigh Catherine Schneberger, was reportedly upset about a recent dispute with the children's father when she drove her 1995 Honda north, up winding Mt. Baldy Road about 8:20 p.m., according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

Investigators believe Schneberger intended to kill herself and her children when she veered off the road.

The car's plunge was stopped when it lodged between two boulders, sparing Schneberger, her 2-year-old daughter and 5-month-old son from any apparent injuries. Neighbors who heard the crash phoned it in.

Deputies who arrived at the scene were relieved that tragedy was averted.

"The side of the cliff she was headed down was very steep -- steep enough to allow her to do what we believe she was trying to accomplish," Deputy Bonnie Cobley said. "We were very, very pleased to get there before anything more serious happened."

Rich Maxwell, chief deputy district attorney, said he may upgrade charges to attempted murder pending more investigation by his office and the Sheriff's Department.

"The charges reflected what we know of the incident now," he said, "and felony child endangerment is definitely provable."

The children were released to their father Sunday night, deputies said. Schneberger was jailed at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga on $500,000 bail.

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