published Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Charges dropped against Tennessee boy in Taos incident

TAOS, N.M. — Charges have been dropped against a teenager whose mother led police on a high-speed chase in a videotaped incident during which a State Police officer fired at her fleeing minivan carrying five children.

The son of Oriana Farrell of Memphis, Tennessee, had been accused of battery and assault in connection with a scuffle with officers during a chaotic traffic stop near Taos last October.

Nobody was injured by the officer's gunfire.

The officer, who said he was aiming at a tire to stop the vehicle, was fired in December.

Taos-area District Attorney Donald Gallegos said charges were dropped against the youth because of concern for his future, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

"We are not out to drag any child through the mud, so to speak," the prosecutor said.

The Associated Press is not identifying the son, who was 14 years at the time, because of his age.

Charges of aggravated fleeing from a police office and child abuse remain pending against the mother. She has pleaded innocent.

The decision to drop the charges against the boy resulted from a three-hour meeting between the prosecutor, the mother and others, Gallegos said.

The meeting, called a "restorative justice circle," was facilitated by a retired judge and was an attempt to come to some form of consensus about what transpired.

Dash-cam video of the incident garnered national attention.

Farrell has said she was trying to protect her family when she twice sped away from officers.

The incident finally ended when she stopped in front of a Taos hotel. That's when then-Officer Elias Montoya learned that there were children in the vehicle.

Montoya, a father of three, later bought the entire family food from McDonald's.

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