A school teacher accused of transporting students inside her car's trunk has denied the claim and says she was keeping children safe when she was arrested at a Tennessee service station.
Andria James, 33, had been hosting a group of children ages eight to 10 for a weekend of fun and games at her home in La Vergne when police say she transported nine of them in her Chevy Malibu, including three in the trunk.
By Monday, James was out on bond and defending herself. She claims that at no point were any children transported in her trunk.
What's more, James claims she only transported six children--not nine, as the police say--and that the only reason she had the kids with her in the first place was to get them away from a potentially dangerous situation.
“There were never nine in my car or in the store. Never,” she told WKRN, who James also told that the kids were never transported in the trunk. "That’s a complete and utter lie," she said.
"They were in the car and we had seatbelts they were not transported in the trunk," James told WTVF.
James says she took the group of kids to the Speedway station after she noticed that a stranger had followed them to her house.
"The kids weren't safe at the time so I transported them to a safe environment," she said.
However, La Vergne police believe there was nothing safe about what James did. Sgt. Bob Hayes says cops saw surveillance footage from the Speedway station that shows the vehicle pulling up to a pump just before three kids pop out of the trunk.
"[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," La Vergne police Sgt. Bob Hayes said.
James was arrested and charged with three counts of reckless endangerment.
The parents of the children, including nine-year-old Jashawna Roucker's mother Regina Rogers, were called to come pick them up.
"When I got there all the kids was piled up inside her vehicle, crying , scared. Was crying for their mothers, you know. I was very shocked," said Rogers. "I was very angry, very, very angry, but I kept myself together, as an adult an a mom of 6 kids."
James' first court date has been set for March 9.