CRIME
09/03/2014 01:24 pm ET Updated Sep 03, 2014

Oriana Ferrell, Mom Whose Van Full Of Kids Was Shot By Police, Breaks Silence

The Tennessee woman who was on vacation with her five children, when she became the subject of a wild pursuit that ended with an officer firing upon her minivan, has broken her silence.

"I was just feeling more and more unsafe," Oriana Ferrell told Good Morning America on Wednesday. "I started thinking about children who have been shot -- families who have been shot. I started thinking about Trayvon Martin."

Ferrell, a 40-year-old mother of five, was arrested in October, on suspicion of intentional child abuse, fleeing and possession of drug paraphernalia. Her 14-year-old son was initially charged with battery of an officer, but those charges were later dropped.

The circumstances of the incident leading up to Ferrell's arrest was captured on a police cruiser's dashboard camera on October 28.

Ferrell, then a resident of Memphis, Tennessee, was driving on a state highway south of Taos, New Mexico, when she was pulled over by a state police trooper.

According to court documents, Ferrell 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, authorities say Ferrell argued with him and sped off in her Kia Sedona.

She had five children in her minivan, aged 6 to 18, police said.

Ferrell denies she sped off in an attempt to elude police.

"He gave me my license back," she told Good Morning America. "I thought it was over … so I started pulling out slowly, like we do from any traffic stop."

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, Zeek Ferrell, exited the vehicle and confronted the officer.

"I got out of the car because he had his hands on her and that wasn’t really OK with me," the teen said on Wednesday.

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."

Oriana 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, identified by authorities as Elias Montoya, to fire three shots at the vehicle.

Oriana Ferrell is accused of leading the officers on another high-speed chase that ended when she stopped in front of a Taos hotel.

Officials with the state Children, Youth and Families Department assumed custody of four of Oriana Ferrell's children. The kids were later released, police said.

Montoya has since been terminated from the state police. According to Koat.com, he is appealing the decision, citing wrongful termination.

According to Oriana Ferrell, her case is still making its way through the court system. Her attorney said he expects it will ultimately be thrown out, she told Good Morning America.

"Even if I was speeding that does not require being shot at, at any point," she said. "Even if he thought I drove off that didn’t deserve us being shot at."

Oriana Ferrell said the incident traumatized her to the point that she is unable to watch the police video of it.

Her daughter, Kana Ferrell, told Good Morning America the traffic stop was "the most horrifying moment of my life."

Like Us On Facebook |
Follow Us On Twitter |
Contact The Author

EARLIER ON HUFFPOST:

CONVERSATIONS