PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida mother was arrested after she allegedly attempted to hit a school staff member while in the student drop-off line at Port Charlotte High School Thursday.
According to the Port Charlotte Sheriff’s Office, after the mother, Tarajayne Samuels-Catalan, 42, dropped off her child, she tried to exit the parking lot the same way she entered it. That’s when a school staff member stopped her and told her she couldn’t leave that way because buses were coming in to unload students.
Authorities said the interaction “agitated” Samuels-Catalan, who eventually backed up and turned her car around, leading the staff member to believe she was leaving the way she was told.
However, as she was leaving, a bus pulled in and was forced to wait for the woman’s vehicle to clear the roadway. After the bus drove by her, Samuels-Catalan allegedly turned her car toward the staff member, hit the gas, revved her engine and drove towards him at a high speed.
A press release stated the member was “forced to dive into some bushes” to avoid getting hit by her car. The member later reported the incident to the School Resource Deputy, prompting an investigation.
Officials said a witness who saw the incident unfold, along with security footage, aligned with the staff members’ report.
When deputies met with Samuels-Catalan on Nov. 7, she told them she preferred to go out through the entry to avoid speed bumps in the exit area that “cause damage to her vehicle.” She also denied attempting to hit the member with her car.
The 42-year-old was arrested and charged with aggravated assault on a public or private education employee. She is currently being held at the Charlotte County Jail without bond.
“The pick-up and drop-off lines at the schools are frustrating at times, but we absolutely will not cut corners on ensuring the safety of the students and staff. I am glad that our victim here is uninjured, and I hope that this mother rethinks the example she is setting for her child,” Port Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell said in a statement.