Former Kansas City, KS community activist convicted of causing d - KCTV5

Former Kansas City, KS community activist convicted of causing deadly crash

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Tamika Pledger is charged with involuntary manslaughter for the 2015 death of 16-year-old Tierra Smith. (Wyandotte County Jail) Tamika Pledger is charged with involuntary manslaughter for the 2015 death of 16-year-old Tierra Smith. (Wyandotte County Jail)
KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

A former KCK community activist accused of driving into a group of teenagers, killing one of them, has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Tamika Pledger, 41, could face up more than five years in prison for the 2015 death of 16-year-old Tierra Smith in January 2015. Friends and family of Smith were glad Pledger was found guilty.

Emotions ran hot Thursday morning inside the Wyandotte County Courthouse. Pledger and her family cried out loudly when the 12-person jury read unanimous guilty verdicts on the four counts brought against her.

She was charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter and three counts of aggravated battery. Pledger falls into a border box because she does not have any previous convictions.

Because of that, probation is an option during sentencing but that is not what the prosecuting attorney will ask for.

“I will be arguing for the maximum possible sentence for a number of reasons,” said James Spies, the special prosecutor on the case.

That maximum penalty is 68 months in prison.

It took two and a half years for the trial to get underway. Spies says that is only one reason why he wants to put Pledger away for more than five years. 

Spies told jurors Tuesday that Pledger was driving at least 55 mph in a 20-mph zone when she crested a hill and hit the victims.

Pledger's attorney, Michael Gunter, countered that his client was on her way to stop a fight from happening and couldn't see anyone in the street when she got to the hilltop.

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