Woman picking up kids from anti-violence party allegedly assaults officers, crashes car

Audrell Qualls

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A woman with kids in tow assaulted school officers after an anti-violence block party at Whitehaven High School before fleeing and wrecking their car in a fiery crash, Memphis Police said.

Audrell Qualls, 32, was charged with several counts of aggravated assault and child abuse, in addition to driving with a suspended license, evading arrest, reckless driving and driving without insurance. Police said she had an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court back in February.

Police said it started at 4:30 Friday afternoon when a woman arrived to pick up two children, aged about 5 and 6, who she had dropped off at the party unaccompanied.

Shelby County Schools said the children were found in a parking lot at the school. As SCS and MPD officers attempted to locate family members, the woman,  with another child in the car, pulled up to claim the two children.

A Shelby County officer was attempting to identify the woman to make sure the kids were supposed to be leaving with her. At that point they found she had an outstanding warrant, Memphis Police said.

When officers attempted to stop her, she sped away, knocking one MPD officer to the ground and striking four Shelby County Schools officers and an SCS vehicle, according to accounts from MPD and SCS.

Police said an SCS officer fired a shot, but no one was hit.

From there, police say the four drove south to Mississippi. Officers in Southaven were notified and followed the car back across the state line to the area of Millbranch and Kilarney.

The car crashed, catching fire and ending up on its side in a yard, but police said everyone inside got out safely. The woman was taken into custody.

SCS says the children and the officers were all unhurt. The school district said the children do not attend Shelby County Schools and the woman is from Southaven, although the Shelby County Jail lists her address as Memphis.

“To reaffirm, this incident happened well after the block party ended. The safety of our students and staff is our top priority. This is an ongoing investigation with SCS security, MPD, and Southaven PD,” SCS said in a statement.

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