Community activist allegedly driving when car strikes 4 teens - KCTV5


Community activist allegedly driving when car strikes 4 teens

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(Erika Tallan/KCTV) (Erika Tallan/KCTV)

Four young teens were critically hurt after a driver ran them over Friday afternoon.

Witnesses said the kids were there to watch a fight, and the woman who struck the four teens with her car was on her way to break the fight up.

The woman allegedly behind the wheel is a community activist who is among seven candidates running for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County Commissioner, 1st District at large position. According to online booking records, Tamika Pledger is being held in the Wyandotte County jail on a charge of aggravated battery.

Pledger has not been charged and likely wouldn't face a judge until Monday at the earliest. She is being held on a 48-hour hold for "aggravated battery and intentional great bodily harm or disfigurement," according to online records.

The car's license plates are registered to Pledger.

Those on the scene said Pledger was desperately screaming for help and saying she had killed someone.

“One of the young men said, and this won't escape me, he looked at her and I was right there, and he said, ‘You just kept going, you didn't stop. You just kept going, you didn't stop.' And her response was, ‘I tried to stop and I couldn't,'" said passerby Tarence Maddox, who is on the Board of Commissioners for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, KS.

Kansas City, KS, police said the incident happened about 2:35 p.m. at North 13th Street and Troup Avenue.

Police said a silver Mercedes Benz was eastbound on Troup and, as the driver was coming down the hill, hit the four kids.

“It didn't look good. I seen a few kids trying to move and they couldn't physically stand up,” Maddox said.

He and another witness describe the moments just after the crash, saying it was very chaotic and panic-filled. A neighbor said she was inside at the time when she heard her own son screaming for help. He wasn't involved in the crash. Maddox said he happened to be driving in the area on an errand and he rushed to the aid of those injured.

"The lady started hollering, ‘I killed someone, oh Lord, I killed someone.' I wasn't mad at anyone, I was just trying to help," Felice Myers said.

Myers said she rushed to help the injured children. A boy had a gash on the side of his head and couldn't move his leg. A girl was lying face down on the ground.

"I put my hand on her stomach. She was grasping for breath. I said 'don't move, don't move.' She was alive. And by that time someone had called the ambulance and they came pretty quick. I'm so glad they really did," Myers said.

The four kids were taken to two separate hospitals with critical injuries. The following day the University of Kansas Hospital said they have two of the victims. One is in serious condition and the other remains in critical.

"I just hope they'll be OK,” Myers said.

Those in the neighborhood said the kids were fighting before the accident, which doesn't sit well with community leaders.

“A fight has led to a shooting death and that's what's in my head. How do we get them out of that mode so we don't end up here?” Maddox said.

Neighbors said this was a horrible accident and that the driver tried to stop, but said her brakes failed.

The Mercedes' front windshield was smashed. Police continue to look into how this happened and if the kids were in the middle of the street.

Pledger has become visible in KCK community affairs recently in the wake of senseless violence. Pledger has been especially vocal about children being gunned down. She has helped organize events on behalf of the family of 10-year-old Machole Stewart who died after dozens of shots were fired into her home while her family watched a World Series game last October.

Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerome Gorman said he will be meeting with police to gather information and decide whether to charge Pledger or release her. By law, she must be either charged or released by Sunday night.

Coming up on KCTV5 News at 10 p.m.: Maddox explains why he is convinced the crash was not intentional.

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