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Published: Thursday, 1/31/2008

Britney Spears taken from her home in ambulance to 'get help'

ASSOCIATED PRESS

LOS ANGELES Britney Spears was taken from her home by ambulance early Thursday and escorted to the hospital by more than a dozen police officers in cars, on motorcycles and in helicopters.

The 26-year-old pop star was being taken to get help, said a Los Angeles police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter. The Los Angeles Times cited unidentified authorities who said Spears was being placed on a mental evaluation hold.

Spears was taken to UCLA Medical Center, where her mother, Lynne, was seen leaving its psychiatric hospital at about 5:30 a.m. When asked by a throng of paparazzi and reporters whether Britney was doing all right, Lynne Spears replied, Yeah, before leaving in a Range Rover.

Hours earlier, shortly after 1 a.m., a motorcade nearly the length of a football field pulled away from Spears residence. Along with the ambulance, it included police on nearly a dozen motorcycles, in two cruisers, and two helicopters following overhead.

The scene was more controlled than the one earlier this month when Spears also was taken away from her home in an ambulance. On Jan. 3, police were called to her home when she refused to return her two young sons, Sean Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1, to ex-husband Kevin Federline, who has custody.

Officers had paramedics take Spears to a hospital for undisclosed reasons. She was released after a day and a half in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Subsequently, the Superior Court commissioner handling the custody case held a closed hearing that included exhibits including a photocopy of Application for 72-hour Detention for Evaluation and Treatment. All exhibits were sealed.

Police also went to Spears hilltop residence off Mulholland Drive on Monday night after someone reported a swarm of paparazzi trespassing in the singer s gated community. When officers arrived, they didn t see anyone trespassing, police said, but citations were issued for several illegally parked cars.

Spears has been in a highly public downward spiral since filing for divorce from Federline in November 2006. Her bizarre antics include shaving her head bald, attacking a car with an umbrella and bringing along a paparazzo pal on trips to a courthouse in her child custody case.

Spears child custody case has become a public spectacle, with her skipping depositions and twice this month arriving at the courthouse but not attending the hearing.

The most recent incident was last week, when Spears showed up at the downtown civil courts building for a chance to persuade a Superior Court commissioner to change his order and allow her to see her sons.

Dressed as if arriving for a cocktail party wearing bright pink lipstick, sunglasses, shiny gold platform shoes and a very short black dress with a ruffled hem Spears was driven into an underground garage and then entered the courthouse.

A court spokesman said she got through a security metal detector, then announced, I want to leave, and returned to her car.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com



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