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Woman with child drives on Phoenix airport runway

PHOENIX — A woman driving with a small child in her car crashed through a gate at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and drove onto the runway — the latest in a series of similar incidents across the country that have raised questions on whether US airports are secure.

The woman rammed the partially open airport gate about 10 p.m. Thursday and started crossing the runway, police spokesman Sergeant Trent Crump said. Police forced the car to stop in a few minutes and held the driver.

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She was identified as Koko Nicole Anderson, 21, from ­Mesa. She was held on aggravated DUI and criminal damage charges. Police suspect she had taken an unknown drug.

The child — a boy about 3 — was in his car seat. He was not injured and has been turned over to relatives. Crump said Anderson was so impaired she did not even know her son was in the car.

‘‘We don’t believe her intent was to harm here,’’ he said. ‘‘We believe it’s impairment.’’

Such incidents are troublesome because a vehicle that crashed into a jetliner landing or taking off could cause a catastrophe, whether it was an intoxicated driver behind the wheel or a terrorist, said Jeff Price, an aviation professor at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.

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