Police in Maryville, Tennessee, said Thursday they arrested a woman Monday after she drove her SUV through a county health department COVID-19 vaccination site, evidently in protest of vaccinations. Two Blount County Sheriff’s deputies working at the site witnessed Virginia Christine Lewis Brown, 35, “speed through the coned section” of the vaccine site and drive through the enclosed tent “at a high rate of speed,” the sheriff’s department said in a statement. “Witnesses and staff told the deputies Ms. Brown yelled ‘No vaccine!’ as she drove through the tent.”
“I had several victims tell me she almost hit them as she fled through the tent at high speeds,” one of the sheriff’s deputies wrote in an incident report. “I was advised that they were within inches and feet of the vehicle as it came through the tent. Several victims stated that they thought the driver was going to kill them.” Brown told deputies after her arrest that she drove through the site to protest the vaccine and insisted she was going only 5 mph. She has since been released on bonds totaling $21,000.
The incident in Maryville, a suburb of Knoxville, “occurred as demonstrations from anti-vaccine protesters have unfolded nationwide,” The Washington Post reports. COVID-19 cases and deaths are at their lowest levels in a year, thanks mostly to the relatively high rate of vaccination in the U.S. About 31 percent of Tennessee residents are fully vaccinated, according to a Post database, significantly below the national average of 40 percent of residents. Half the U.S. population has gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.