A Fairfax County woman charged with murder in the death last year of her roommate was admitted to the psychiatric unit at Mount Vernon Hospital last night after swallowing what police called a large overdose of sleeping pills.

Ilona Szabo, 45, a former fast-order cook, was rushed by ambulance to the hospital after Fairfax County police, called by her attorney, discovered her lying disoriented and semiconscious in a Rte. 1 motel.

Szabo is awaiting a preliminary hearing scheduled for Feb. 14 on charges that she fatally shot her roommate, Ibolya Jones, last October, her attorney Allan Plevy said yesterday.

Plevy said that when he arrived at work yesterday morning he found a letter from his client announcing her intention to commit suicide at the Southern Motel, at 8527 Richmond Hwy.

"Because of the snow, I almost didn't come in today," Plevy said.

A hospital psychiatrist said last night that the combination of 90 tablets of medication would probably have proved fatal but for the timely police rescue.

"Her respiratory function would have stopped," depending on when the pills were swallowed, the doctor, Noori Mirmirani, said.

Szabo, who is free on $25,000 bond, was found about 11 a.m. yesterday lying asleep but fully dressed in bed in a room she had occupied for the past week, police officer Charles Arnone said last night.

Arnone said the woman appeared disoriented, had a "real high" pulse rate, and was unable to say when she took the pills. "I just asked her if she was okay, and she said no," Arnone said.