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Van mom now faces arrest warrant from Tennessee speeding case


Oriana Farrell, who is under a court order to stay in New Mexico pending the resolution of charges she faces related to an incident in which a State Police officer fired at her van, now faces an arrest warrant from Tennessee.

Authorities in Bartlett, Tenn., issued the warrant on Monday with a $500 bond for failure to appear to answer a speeding ticket issued there on Sept. 5, according to officials at the Bartlett City Court.

“She was to appear in court yesterday (Monday) and didn’t appear,” said a court official.


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In New Mexico, Farrell is accused of aggravated fleeing an officer, child abuse and possession of drug paraphernalia in connection with her Oct. 28 speeding stops near Taos.

The incidents were recorded on State Police dashboard video that went nationwide documenting her struggles with an officer, that same officer smashing out her van window as her five children were inside screaming, and ultimately a third officer, who later was terminated, firing three rounds at Farrell’s van as it sped away.

Farrell has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is free on a $10,000 bond. The conditions of her release include that she not leave New Mexico and she sign a waiver stating she would not fight extradition if she were arrested in another state.

Farrell was pulled over in Bartlett, a suburb of Memphis, on Sept. 5 at 3 p.m., driving a 2004 blue Kia minivan that was clocked going 50 mph in a 40 mph zone, according to a copy of the citation.

Farrell was supposed to appear in court in Tennessee at noon Nov. 18, or she could pay a fine before her court date. But on Nov. 12, she was arraigned in Eighth Judicial District Court in Taos on her charges here, when the condition for her to stay in New Mexico was imposed.

The Bartlett court sent a letter to Farrell’s Memphis address giving her a second court date of Monday; the warrant was issued for her arrest when she failed to show.

David Lakin, assistant district attorney and Bartlett’s prosecutor, said “I have no idea” when asked Tuesday how Farrell could appear in Tennessee while forbidden to leave New Mexico.

“She got a simple speeding ticket and that’s all I know about the lady,” said Lakin. Told of Farrell’s New Mexico charges, he responded, “I assume she will eventually come back and face the speeding ticket.”

Taos District Attorney Donald Gallegos, whose office is prosecuting the Farrell case, said that the bench warrant could stay in effect here until her local charges are resolved and then Farrell could return to Tennessee to answer the speeding charge, or her attorney could ask that the conditions of release be modified.

Farrell’s Taos attorney, Alan Maestas, said he was informed of the Tennessee warrant on Tuesday afternoon. Of Farrell’s order to appear in Tennessee while restricted to New Mexico, he noted, “That’s kind of a problem, isn’t it?”

Maestas said he didn’t know if he would seek to change Farrell’s conditions of release. “The easiest thing is to figure out what the speeding ticket is and pay the damn thing,” he added.

The prosecutor in Bartlett said he would like to talk to Maestas and clear up the matter.

Farrell’s local case was transferred to District Judge John Paternoster in Raton after both judges in Taos were excused. Paternoster set a pre-trial plea hearing, if a plea deal were reached, for Sept. 5, 2014, and a trial for Oct. 6.