JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – A woman who rammed her car into an arena where President Bush had just given a speech was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, authorities said yesterday.

Chief David Mitchell, spokesman for the DeSoto County sheriff’s department, said Betina Mixon was being held in the DeSoto County jail without bond and would be arraigned today or tomorrow.

Federal officials said Mixon, 29, had no intention of harming the president and no federal charges are pending against her.

Her friend said she may have wanted to hurt herself.

Mixon, of Horn Lake, had her three children in her car when she crashed into a wall of the DeSoto County Civic Center on Saturday.

Bush had just spoken at a campaign rally for Haley Barbour, the Republican nominee for governor, and was in his limousine preparing to leave, a senior administration official said.

The president left the arena less than five minutes later from an exit about 40 yards from the crash.

The Secret Service was reviewing how the car was able to drive past a police checkpoint and penetrate the security perimeter around the Southaven, Miss., arena, agency spokeswoman Ann Roman said.

Alicia Graves, 19, who said she had known Mixon for about 10 years, said her friend had gone through a lot the last few months.

“With marriage, her dad just dying and her brother sick and all that, I think she had a nervous breakdown,” Graves said yesterday. Mixon, a nurse’s aide, also had a hysterectomy and “was having a lot of stomach problems,” Graves said.

It had nothing to do with politics, Graves said. “She’s not even registered to vote.”

Graves and federal officials said Mixon was trying to locate her mother-in-law, who was attending the rally.

“The kids’ grandma was there inside, and she said she wanted to get her kids somewhere safe,” Graves said.

“I think she wanted to try to get her to get the kids so she could go and try to hurt herself.”

Graves said Mixon’s children were now staying with relatives.

 

 

 

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