Charge dropped against teen in Taos chase

TAOS, N.M. (KRQE) – Prosecutors have dropped the charge against the teenage boy who scuffled with a New Mexico State Police officer during a chaotic traffic stop last October that garnered national attention.

The then fourteen-year-old boy was charged with battery on a peace officer.

NMSP dashcam video showed the traffic stop that quickly escalated. Oriana Farrell drove away from police, only to be stopped again. When Farrell got into a confrontation with rookie Officer Tony DeTavis, her teen son hopped out of the van rushing him. DeTavis chased the teen back into the van before bashing out a window. As Farrell sped off, Ofc. Elias Montoya shot at the van’s tires.

Montoya was later fired from NMSP. Farrell and her son were arrested, but the charge against the now fifteen-year-old boy has been dropped.

“This young man gets to move on and have a life,” his attorney John Day told KRQE News 13 Thursday. “My client saw his mom in danger and did what a good son does, which is protect your mother.”

Day said his client is very intelligent with a bright future. He also said dropping the charge makes the case go away quietly.

“They did not want us to have the benefit of the internal review of the shooting incident, of the attack on the van carrying all these small children,” Day said. “I think they decided trying to make this go away quietly was smart and it worked out for the best.”

District Attorney Donald Gallegos told News 13 dismissing the case had nothing to do with evidence and that prosecutors were ready to move forward. The DA dropped the charge after the teen took part in a group discussion, called a restorative justice circle, involving the family, prosecutors and judges.

“We found a resolution to the case that was agreeable to both parties and I think was in the best interest of the child and the community,” Gallegos said. “I believe everyone there agreed it was the best disposition that could be had in this case.”

Gallegos said if the case had gone to court, it could have had the same outcome.

Oriana Farrell is still facing charges of child abuse, aggravated fleeing and possession of drug paraphernalia. A jury trial is scheduled for October.

Farrell’s lawyers filed a motion earlier in April to drop the charges against her, claiming there were improprieties in the grand jury process. There’s a motion hearing in the case coming up in May.

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