Ardmore woman charged with multiple counts of assault with a dangerous weapon after incident at Fraley Park
An Ardmore woman accused of driving through Fraley Park in an attempt to run over several children is facing five felony counts of assault with a dangerous weapon after her charges were amended Thursday evening when a video of the incident surfaced on social media and was provided to the district attorney's office.
Tammy Marris, 57, was arrested Tuesday evening following the incident at the park. Marris was initially charged with two misdemeanor counts for reckless driving and stalking, which carry lesser punishments than a felony charge for assault with a dangerous weapon.
According to a July 9 statement from District Attorney Craig Ladd, the initial investigation that was submitted to the district attorney's office concerning Marris's actions at Fraley Park on July 7 did not contain sufficient evidence to charge her with any felonious assault charges.
"However, because of the serious allegations and the fact that these events involved children simply playing at the park, the Ardmore Police Department continued to investigate the matter," the statement read.
On the morning of July 9, the district attorney's office was supplied with a copy of security footage from a nearby business that captured the events at the park on July 7. The video was also shared on Facebook.
After reviewing the footage, along with the initial report, the district attorney's office decided that five felony counts of assault with a dangerous weapon were appropriate. The new felony charges against Marris were filed late Thursday afternoon.
On the day of the incident at Fraley Park, Ardmore police made contact with the reporting parties. Ardmore Police Department Capt. Claude Henry said the juvenile victims expressed that they were in fear of being run over or struck by the vehicle.
Jordyn Brown claimed he and his brother had previously been threatened by Marris over the Fourth of July weekend. While walking home during the day, Jordyn Brown said Marris approached them and told them not to pop fireworks at her house because she had a gun.
“She said she has a gun and she’d use it if she had to,” Jordyn Brown said. At the time, they said they laughed it off and didn’t take her very seriously. According to reports, on July 7, Marris approached the two brothers and six of their friends while they were at a pavilion in Fraley Park.
Jordyn Brown said she began taking pictures of them and claimed that she was going to show the photos to the police while accusing them of popping fireworks at her house. The juveniles denied having any fireworks and Ardmore police said they were not connected to any criminal activity.
When the children tried to leave the park, Jordyn Brown said Marris drove towards them and came inches away from running them over. The video released on social media shows the vehicle driving onto the basketball courts twice as several children fled from the vehicle as it drove across the court a second time.
One of Jordyn Brown’s classmates reportedly called the police and Jordyn Brown and his brother ran home to tell their father what had happened.
“I teach them don’t retaliate and, if it’s an adult, you come get me. I’m an adult and we’ll handle it. These kids are heroes in my eyes for handling the situation the way they did. It shows levels of maturity and being brave, as well,” said Lionel Brown, the father of Jordyn Brown and his brother.
Ardmore police responded to the park at around 5:30 p.m. and quickly located the suspect’s vehicle. The responding officer reportedly later identified Marris as the driver.
According to police reports, Marris admitted to driving through the park and told police that she was attempting to identify some juveniles that she had issues with a couple days prior. “It was involving some juveniles shooting some fireworks at her residence,” Henry said.
Upon further investigation, officers located evidence in the park that suggested the suspect had been driving through the park in a reckless manner. Marris was taken into custody on July 7 and booked into the Carter County jail for assault with a dangerous weapon.
“This woman could’ve taken a couple of (the children) out,” Lionel Brown said on July 8, following the incident. “She deserves a charge for each one of those kids that was at the park that she tried to run over that day.”
Assault with a dangerous weapon is punishable by up to 10 years of imprisonment.