Attorney in van shooting case wants reports

TAOS, N.M. – It’s the video that got national attention – a mother in a minivan full of kids was shot at by an officer as she drove away from State Police.

On Thursday, Oriana Farrell was in court as her attorney asked for the state to either hand over more information, or drop the case.

Farrell was quiet in the courtroom when her attorney asked for a string of items, including the state’s witness list, the crime scene investigation report, and the state police internal investigation that was conducted afterward. If he doesn’t receive those things, he wants the case dismissed.

“What I’m asking for basically is that the court issue an order either dismissing the case, or with some appropriate sanctions,” said Farrell’s attorney Alan Maestas. “The one I can think of off the top of the head is they can’t put anyone on the witness list that wasn’t there as of yesterday at 3:30.”

In late October, Oriana Farrell of Memphis, Tenn., drove away from State Police after she was stopped for speeding outside Taos.

When Farrell was stopped a second time, she and her 14-year-old son struggled with the officer.

The officer used his baton to break out a window on the van. Farrell then sped off as officer Elias Montoya showed up and fired his gun at the van. He said he was aiming for the tires.

Inside the van were Farrell’s five kids ages 6 to 16.

Police say she then led them on a high-speed chase that ended when she stopped in front of a Taos hotel.

State Police Chief Pete Kassetas called for an internal investigation into the shooting and Montoya was later fired.

The state argued the results of that internal investigation aren’t needed for the case against Farrell and that the dash-cam video speaks for itself.

“Any determination by the State Police doesn’t make a fact in this case more or less true and, in fact, it invades in the province of the jury in determining if Ms. Farrell committed the crimes of child abuse, aggravated fleeing, and I believe possession of drug paraphernalia, your honor,” said prosecutor Emilio Chavez.

The judge has ordered the State Police internal investigation be turned over to the court within 10 days. He’ll then determine if all, some, or none of the investigation will be handed over to the defense.

The judge made it clear he wants everything he ordered Thursday accomplished on deadline so the case stays on track.

Farrell declined to comment following the hearing.

As of now, the trial is scheduled for October.

The judge also ordered officer Tony De Tavis – the rookie state cop who originally pulled Farrell over – be made available to the defense within 20 days for an oral statement.

According to state police, Montoya is still appealing his firing. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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