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Niagara Falls woman pleads guilty in stolen van crash

A woman who stole a 2005 Dodge Caravan in Niagara Falls and crashed it in Lewiston while leading police on a high-speed chase appears headed to state prison.

Mariah M. Patterson, 21, of Seventh Street, Niagara Falls, pleaded guilty last week to a felony and two misdemeanors. Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III scheduled sentencing for Aug. 24 and refused a defense request to reduce Patterson's $20,000 bail, saying the woman faces "a lengthy prison sentence."

The legal maximum for the charges is four years.

Patterson stole the van April 25 and led Lewiston Police and State Police in a chase at speeds topping 80 mph before the van went off the pavement and overturned. A female friend and her 6-year-old son also were in the van. Patterson will owe $6,700 in restitution for the wrecked van when her sentence is complete, Assistant District Attorney Peter M. Wydysh said.

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