Crime - Sacto 911

Woman in Tower Bridge incident pleads not guilty

The woman held in a Tower Bridge bomb scare that shut down the river span before her arrest by West Sacramento police pleaded not guilty to charges Thursday in Woodland and now faces a Feb. 17 preliminary hearing.

Karen Jeffery, 58, was arraigned in Yolo Superior Court on a single count of possession or placing of a facsimile bomb connected to the Tuesday-afternoon incident. The Sacramento resident remains in Yolo County custody with bail set at $500,000 pending a bail hearing, also set for Feb. 17.

No one was hurt in the bizarre episode that began when the woman later identified as Jeffery drove her car onto Tower Bridge Gateway in West Sacramento and parked the vehicle sideways, blocking the bridge’s eastbound lanes into Sacramento. Police who inspected the car saw what they later called “suspicious wiring,” and closed the bridge to traffic as multiple law enforcement agencies came to the scene.

The standoff ended with Jeffery holding a handwritten sign that appeared to ask for a federal public defender.

Jeffery, in green-and-white jail clothes, followed a line of inmates into the courtroom’s Plexiglas-shielded holding cell and behind a wall away from news photographers’ cameras.

She emerged as Yolo Superior Court Judge Janene Beronio read the allegation. Jeffery acknowledged the charge with a loud, clear “Yes, ma’am,” before asking to address the court. Yolo County Deputy Public Defender Joe Gocke quickly stepped in and asked Beronio to set a date for a preliminary hearing to determine whether enough evidence exists for the case to proceed to trial.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith

Related stories from Sacramento Bee