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Security scare driver identified

Police officers keep back reporters during the security scare outside of the arena where President Bush was speaking in Southaven, Mississippi.
Police officers keep back reporters during the security scare outside of the arena where President Bush was speaking in Southaven, Mississippi.

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A car rammed into a building where Bush had just spoken.
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SOUTHAVEN, Mississippi (CNN) -- A car rammed past a security perimeter Saturday and into a facility where President Bush had delivered a speech to campaign supporters just minutes earlier.

The female driver was identified by law enforcement agencies Saturday evening as 29-year-old Betina Mixon. She is being held on charges of trespassing and aggravated assault by the DeSoto County Sheriff's Department, Mississippi law enforcement sources said.

Amy Graves of Walls, Mississippi, told the DeSoto Times that Mixon "is the best person I know. She would do anything for anybody."

She said Mixon is a nurse's aide and works with the elderly and handicapped.

"I don't know what went wrong," Graves said.

Mixon, of Horn Lake, had no weapon, and there is no indication she meant to hurt anyone, an intelligence source told CNN.

The source described the incident as "coincidental and random," and said there was no evidence of alcohol use.

Secret Service spokeswoman Ann Roman said the president was "never in any danger." White House spokesman Trent Duffy said Bush had just entered his limousine at the time of the crash at the DeSoto Civic Center.

Witnesses said the woman and three children were in the car, a four-door Toyota Camry with at least one flat tire. She drove down a street at high speed pursued by police and sheriff's deputies, they said.

The car passed the presidential motorcade, took a sharp left, jumped a curb and barreled across the grass outside the civic center before hitting the building near one of its entrances, witnesses said.

The president "was never in any danger," Roman said. The car blew out some tires when it jumped the curb, according to Roman.

The car hit the building near its upper loading dock area, Roman said. The president's motorcade was in the lower loading deck area, she said.

Authorities surrounded the car, and no shots were fired, Roman said.

Roman said no federal charges had been filed.

An intelligence source said there was no evidence that the incident was a suicide mission, and no indication the woman sought to harm anyone.

The woman was arrested immediately after the incident, which took place about 10:30 a.m. (11:30 a.m. EST). The Secret Service is leading an investigation into the crash, according to Roman.

Video from the scene showed four officials moving the woman, with her arms behind her back, into a white unmarked car.

Chief David Mitchell, spokesman for the DeSoto County Sheriff's Department, would not say why the woman was being pursued. He said the children in the vehicle are with family members and "being well taken care of."

Local and federal officials are conducting a joint investigation, Mitchell said.

Bush left the center shortly after the crash and headed to his next campaign stop in Paducah, Kentucky.


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