A tutor in Tennessee is facing criminal charges after authorities say kids were seen in the trunk of her car.
Three children were in the trunk of Andria James’s vehicle — and six more were inside the car — when officers showed up at the scene on Sunday, John Fesmire of the La Vergne Police Department told the Daily News Journal.
Lisa Marchesoni, Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office public information officer, said James was arrested on three counts of reckless endangerment. James has since been released on bond, Marchesoni told The Washington Post, and is due to appear in court in March.
WKRN reported that a person contacted authorities after seeing the car at a gas station in La Vergne, a city about 15 miles southeast of Nashville. The children were all 10 years old or younger, according to reports.
James spoke with the ABC affiliate and called the trunk allegations “a complete and utter lie.”
“There were never nine altogether in my car, or in the store,” she told WKRN. “Never.” She also told WSMV, an NBC affiliate, that the car was parked, its doors were open, and the kids were just playing around.
“No, absolutely not, positively not,” James told WSMV. “Not one minute did I leave kids in the trunk.”
La Vergne Police Sgt. Bob Hayes told WKRN that investigators have reviewed video that contradicts James’s story.
“[We were] able to view video footage of the gas pumps and observe the vehicle pull up to the gas pump, and three children exited the trunk of the vehicle once it stopped at the gas pump,” he told WKRN.
James told News 2 she picked the children up after a basketball game on Saturday and they spent the night at her La Vergne home.
“All of them didn’t get in the trunk now, let’s not get it confused,” James said. “All of them never got into the trunk; there was plenty of room, those kids and seat belts.”
James said she only took the children to the store to get away from a dangerous situation.
Metro Nashville Public Schools spokesman Joe Bass told the Daily News Journal that James worked at an elementary school as a part-time tutor. She will be placed on leave, according to the newspaper.
“We are in contact with the authorities in Rutherford County and will cooperate fully with their investigation,” Bass told the Daily News Journal. “Obviously, the acts she is accused of are completely inappropriate for an educator entrusted with caring for students, and we will take further disciplinary action if needed as more details come to light.”
A request for comment from the Metro Nashville Public Schools communications department was not immediately returned Tuesday morning.