LA VERGNE, TN (KTRK) --A Tennessee elementary school employee was arrested Sunday and charged with child endangerment after police said they found three children in the trunk of her car.
Andrea James tells station WKRN she is not the person people are making her out to be. James said, "There were never nine in my car or in the store. Never."
James also says none of the children were ever in the trunk. "Well, the doors were opened, so let's say that," she said. "When the trunk came up, we had all their things in the back trunk because they needed to go home. I only needed to transport them at that point."
However, station WKRN reports a customer at the store called police and said there were a large amount of children getting out of the car and three had gotten out of the trunk. Police said surveillance video from store confirms that.
La Vergne Police Sgt. Bob Hayes said, "Was able to view video footage of the gas pumps and observe the vehicle pull up to the gas pump and three children exited the trunk of the vehicle once it stopped at the gas pump."
Police say the nine children ranging in age from 8 to 10 years old were James' students.
James is a tutor or what she calls an "intervention specialist" at Alex Green Elementary School in Nashville.
She says she picked the children up from a basketball game and they spent the night with her at her La Vergne home.
James said, "All of them didn't get in the trunk now, let's not get it confused. All of them never got into the trunk."
Police say she put them in more danger. Hayes told WKRN, "It's very saddening and heartbreaking, and I have children of my own, that an adult would put other peoples' children or children in harm's way like that."
James is charged with three counts of reckless endangerment.
Police called the student's parents or relatives to pick them up and they say parents were furious.