A Tennessee woman on vacation with her five children led cops on a wild pursuit that ended shortly after an officer fired upon her minivan.
Newly released video recorded by a police cruiser's dashboard camera shows an officer with New Mexico State Police fire three shots at a vehicle. It was driven by 39-year-old Memphis resident Oriana Ferrell during a high-speed police chase last month.
On Oct. 28, Ferrell was pulled over on a state highway south of Taos. According to court documents, she was allegedly driving 71 mph in a 55 mph zone.
When the officer attempted to issue a citation for driving in excess of the speed limit, she allegedly argued with him over the $126 fine and sped off in her Kia Sedona.
She had five children in her minivan, aged 6 to 18, police said.
The officer pursued Ferrell for a short distance before she again pulled over to the side of the road. During the second traffic stop, Ferrell allegedly ignored the officer's orders to exit the vehicle. A struggle ensued, during which Ferrell’s 14-year-old son exited the vehicle and confronted the officer. The teen retreated when the officer drew his Taser, police said.
"Look, I'm going to ask you one more time to get out of the vehicle and then I'm going to pull you out, OK?" the officer can be heard saying on the video. "You are already facing evading charges. You ran away from me."
Ferrell denied any wrongdoing. She eventually exited the vehicle, but ran back to the driver's side door and attempted to get back in when the officer instructed her to turn around, police said.
Additional officers soon arrived on the scene. One of them used his baton to smash out a passenger side window of the vehicle, at which time Ferrell tried to flee.
Her failure to stop prompted another officer to fire three shots at the vehicle.
Ferrell is accused of leading the officers on another high-speed chase that ended when she stopped in front of a Taos hotel.
The mother of five was arrested on suspicion of intentional child abuse, fleeing and possession of drug paraphernalia. Her 14-year-old son was charged with battery of an officer.
Officials with the state Children, Youth and Families Department assumed custody of four of Farrell's children. The kids were later released to a friend of the family who resides in New Mexico, police said.
The names of the officers involved weren't released. According to New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas, an internal investigation is underway.
"I have, of course, reviewed the video and do have concerns relating to the conduct of the officer who discharged his firearm," Kassetas said in a press release.
During Ferrell's arraignment in Taos Magistrate Court last week, her attorney, Alan Maestas, said the New Mexico State Police officers who were involved in the incident are the ones at fault.
"She was flat-out scared that something was going to happen to her children. We ought to talk about the stupidity and recklessness of shooting at a car that has five children in it," Maestas told the court, according to The Taos News.
Eighth Judicial District Judge Jeff McElroy said he was "concerned about the nature of these charges."
The judge ordered Ferrell held in lieu of a $10,000 unsecured bond and scheduled a trial for April 21.