On Oct. 28, a family of six from Tennessee was traveling near Taos, N.M., when the driver was pulled over by a state trooper for speeding. There was an argument. The driver—the mother of the five children inside, ages 6-18—attempted to leave and was pulled over again. Her 14-year-old son left the minivan and confronted one of the officers but was backed down with what appeared to be a Taser.
More yelling from police. Children screaming, confusion building.
A window was broken with a baton, more screams from the children. The mother pulled off again, and three shots were fired toward the minivan. The whole scene was caught on tape.
The mother, Oriana Ferrell, then led police on a high-speed chase that reached speeds of 100 mph before she surrendered in front of a hotel, the New York Daily News reports.
That tape, which recently surfaced, is at the center of an investigation as to why police would fire at a car they knew was packed with kids.
At one point on the tape, which was recorded by an officer's dash cam, the officer explains that Ferrell tried to flee the scene. Ferrell can be heard saying, "You see my children. I'm not trying to do anything wrong. I'm just trying to get to Rio Grande."
Ferrell was charged with intentional abuse of a child, aggravated fleeing of a law enforcement officer and a possession of drug paraphernalia misdemeanor after police said they found two marijuana pipes in the minivan. The son was charged with battery of an officer, but has since been released, according to the Taos News.
At Ferrell's arraignment, District Judge Jeff McElroy called the footage of the incident disturbing and puzzling, the Taos News reported.
"The court is concerned about the nature of these charges," he said. "It's a bit of a mystery."
Ferrell's attorney, Alan Maestas, said Ferrell was just scared and so she drove away, the newspaper reported.
"She was flat-out scared that something was going to happen to her children," he said. "We ought to talk about the stupidity and recklessness of shooting at a car that has five children in it."