LA VERGNE, Tenn. (WKRN) – News 2 is learning new information about the Metro Schools employee who is accused of transporting nine students in her vehicle, three of them in the trunk, according to La Vergne police.
Andria James, 33, is facing three counts of felony reckless endangerment, and News 2 talked to one of the students who was in the car.
Alex Green Elementary student Kyron Lewis, 10, and his twin sister Kyrah were in the car with James Sunday when she was arrested.
Their mother didn’t want to speak but allowed her kids to tell what happened.
“She did not put them in the trunk, I was there,” Kyron Lewis said.
Kyron told News 2 everyone but one student was in the backseat. He said no children were actually riding in the trunk; he claims three of the girls got inside by folding down the backseat.
“They let the seat down and got in the trunk and they got out from the trunk while Ms. James was in the store,” Kryon explained.
But the police report obtained by News 2 tells a different story.
According to one of the officers on the scene, he asked James, “if she minded him opening the trunk, she agreed to do so, and when she did there were three juvenile females inside. The officer went on to write all three juveniles advised that they were inside the truck when Ms. James was driving the vehicle to the gas station.”
“I got scared at first … and then when they were telling me what was going on I was shocked,” said a parent of one of the students, who didn’t want to be identified.
This parent said her daughter told the same story as Kyron about what happened in that 2010 Chevy Malibu.
“They didn’t ride in the trunk; they were playing in the trunk,” the parent said. “The release was down, the backseat was down and they were playing in the trunk. Nobody was playing in the trunk, that’s what my daughter told me.”
James allegedly told the parents she was waiting for Enterprise to deliver a larger vehicle to the Speedway to transport the children.
James told News 2 Monday that she took the students to the store to get away from a dangerous situation where someone had been following her near her home. She reported that to police.
Police confirmed they responded to a call at the home.
James, who is an intervention specialist or tutor at Alex Green Elementary, had apparently taken the students to her La Vergne home and to go skating after a ball game Saturday off campus. They spent the night with her.
“She was rewarding us on good behavior,” Kyron said.
Since Monday was a holiday, Tuesday afternoon Metro Schools leaders officially placed James on administrate leave with pay.
“You get paid to get kids in the trunk. That’s what it’s like,” parent Kelci McGee said.
Kryon says he supports James.
“She is a really good person; she wouldn’t put anyone in the trunk,” he explained.
Metro Schools spokesman Joe Bass told News 2 the district could make a determination on James’ future with the school system without having to wait on the case to play out in court.