Police: Tamika Pledger driving at least 54 mph when she hit teen - KCTV5

Police: Tamika Pledger driving at least 54 mph when she hit teens

Posted: Updated:
KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

Tamika Pledger was driving nearly three times the posted speed limit when she plowed into a group of teens, and some witnesses said she appeared to swerve toward them, according to court records.

A KCK Police Department detective said witnesses claimed that Pledger said she was attempting to protect her family.

Pledger, a community activist who has campaigned against violence, particularly involving children, has vowed to continue her campaign for a seat on the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/KCK commission. She is out on bond after being charged with involuntary manslaughter and three counts of reckless aggravated battery.

The Jan. 30 crash killed Tierra Smith, 17, a student at Raytown High School, and seriously injured two teen sisters and a teen boy. The crash happened about 2:30 p.m. at 13th Street and Troup Avenue just after a bus had let off a group of students.

The posted speed limit is 20 mph. Accident investigators determined that Pledger was traveling at least 54 mph when she applied the brakes.

According to court documents, some girls had been at Wyandotte County about lunchtime apparently spoiling for a fight. They were ordered off property, and police say they went to the bus stop to wait for girls to get off the school bus.

The names of the girls involved have been redacted in the court documents because they are juveniles, but at least one person involved was Pledger's daughter who summoned her mother to the scene. One person claimed that Pledger had been warned via telephone about the fight and she was "mad, annoyed and advised that she was coming," according to court documents. Pledger's son said on Facebook that his cousin was in the middle of the fight.

A fight then broke out in the middle of the street. As this was occurring, Pledger raced to the scene in her silver Mercedes-Benz. Police said Pledger was traveling a "a very high rate of speed," as she came up on the fight.

"Almost all witnesses interviewed indicated that the vehicle was traveling at highway speeds of 50 to 70 mph," according to court documents. "Everyone scattered and as they did most of (the) teenagers fled to the north side of Troup Avenue. It appeared that the driver swerved toward the pedestrians. Most heard a 'boom' and saw bodies flying."

Some witnesses told KCTV5 that Pledger immediately screamed for help and that her brakes failed.

Witnesses told police that Pledger got out of her vehicle and said, "I am sorry. I am so sorry everyone, but I'm just protecting my family too."

Pledger then ordered people to call for help and instructed her daughter to contact her boyfriend, who is a KCK firefighter. Others then heard her say that "her car wouldn't stop," and, "There must have been something wrong with my brakes."

Pledger gave a blood sample. She declined to answer questions, invoking her right to an attorney.

In a Facebook post and a taped jailhouse conversation, Pledger has not expressed any remorse. Instead, she has blamed the devil and those involved in the fight.

In the conversation, Pledger said she would work to get family members of the victims to ask Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerome Gorman to drop all charges.

"All this happened because of them, not because of me," Pledger said during the phone call.

"When I get out of here or whatever, I want to speak to the nature of why these kids aren't caught? Why aren't they locked up for being a part in what happened? They're a big part of what happened," Pledger said during the call. "All of this happened because of them, not because of me."

Smith died a week after the crash. She suffered severe brain injuries including trauma to her brain. Her funeral services are Sunday.

"It's just unfortunate that my niece, their daughter has lost her life over this," said Morris Letcher, who is Smith's uncle and the family spokesman.

He said the family has many questions that they hope the judicial process helps answer.

"You know, we want to believe it was an accident," he said. "You want people to take accountability. I think the thing that's really driving my family right now is the lack of remorse."

Letcher works at the same fire station as Pledger's boyfriend.

Copyright 2015 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
  • Police: Tamika Pledger driving at least 54 mph when she hit teensMore>>

  • NEW DETAILS

    Pledger: 'This happened because of them' after 1 teen dies, 3 injured

    Pledger: 'This happened because of them' after 1 teen dies, 3 injured

    Tuesday, May 19 2015 2:57 PM EDT2015-05-19 18:57:05 GMT
    Community activist and and political candidate Tamika Pledger now faces an involuntary manslaughter charge after authorities say her car slammed into four teens, killing one and injuring three. In a telephone call played in court Tuesday, Pledger said she was not to blame for the crash.More >
    Community activist and and political candidate Tamika Pledger now faces an involuntary manslaughter charge after authorities say her car slammed into four teens, killing one and injuring three. In a telephone call played in court Tuesday, Pledger said she was not to blame for the crash.More >
Powered by Frankly
KCTV 5 News

Online Public File:
KCTV  KSMO

Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2017, KCTV; Kansas City, MO. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.