I’m not here to defend what this mother did. I don’t know why she did it. Perhaps she was scared. Maybe she just wasn’t thinking, or maybe she misunderstood the police officer who pulled her over for going 71 in a 55. What she did was drive off in the middle of a traffic stop.
Apparently, she was an out-of-stater from Tennessee driving in New Mexico in a minivan with her five homeschooled kids on an educational trip. The kids ranged in age from 6 to 18. They were on their way to the Rio Grande when they got pulled over on State Road 518, in Taos County. It sits on the northern border of New Mexico.
Watch the news video for the rest of the story:
According to the news article accompanying the video, the officer gave the mom Oriana Farrell the option of paying the $129 speed ticket fine right then and there or going to the judge to contest it. One or the other. The officer then instructed Farrell to turn her car off while he left to go back to his own car (perhaps to write up the ticket?). While he was in his car, she drove off.
In the video, you see the officer chase her down again and berate her for driving off in the middle of the traffic stop. She agrees to get out of the van to talk with the officer, and as soon as he tries to arrest her, she runs off. Her 14-year-old son gets involved and tries to defend his mom from the cop. The cop pulls his taser on the kid. They all get back in the van and lock the doors. Another officer smashes the windows in with his baton, and another shoots 3 bullets at the van as it drives away.
After a high-speed chase, she eventually stops at a hotel, where she and her 14-year-old son were arrested at gunpoint. She’s being charged with evading police and child abuse, and her son is being charged with battery of a police officer.
Yes, there is fault on both sides here. She shouldn’t have driven off. But are enforcing arbitrary speed codes this important that officers should bash in drivers’ windows and shoot at vehicles full of kids? She was going 71 in a 55. Did she cause any property damage? Did she hurt someone? Kill someone?
Everyone knows that speed codes have nothing to do with ensuring public safety, but are all about generating revenue. Was this out-of-control situation really worth pursuing for $129?