A group of high school students fighting in the middle of a Kansas City, Kan., street scattered as a silver Mercedes-Benz sped toward them last month, according to court documents released Thursday.
Many of the students fled to the north side of Troup Avenue, but the vehicle appeared to swerve toward them before ramming at least four students, the documents said.
“Most heard a boom and saw bodies flying,” according to court records.
The unsealed documents reveal details of how the events unfolded Jan. 30, when a car allegedly driven by Tamika Pledger hit and seriously injured four students in the 1300 block of Troup Avenue.
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Tierra Smith, 17, a Raytown High School student, died a week later from severe brain injuries. The three other teens suffered leg or arm fractures.
Investigators later determined the car was traveling at least 54 mph in a 20 mph zone, the records said. Pledger allegedly was hurrying to the fight scene after receiving a call from her daughter about the fight, the records said.
Pledger, 38, a candidate for a seat on the Unified Government board, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and three counts of reckless aggravated battery. Prosecutors have not said she intentionally hit the teens, but they contend she drove in a reckless manner before the crash.
According to the affidavit filed by police, Pledger’s vehicle was eastbound on Troup, traveling at highway speeds, between 50 and 70 mph, shortly before the crash. Afterward the vehicle came to a stop in a yard against a fence. Pledger got out saying, “I am sorry. … I am so sorry, everyone, but I’m just protecting my family too.”
Pledger then yelled for someone to call for help. She told her daughter to call her boyfriend.
“My car wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t stop,” Pledger also said. “There must have been something wrong with my brakes.”
Pledger declined to speak with detectives. Investigators used witness accounts to piece together the events. That sequence includes the call from Pledger’s daughter to her mother about the fight. The daughter handed the phone to another girl, who allegedly told Pledger she was about to fight someone and needed help.
Pledger remains free on bond. As a condition of her bond, she cannot have any contact with the victims or witnesses or have anyone contact them on her behalf, a judge ordered this week. The judge set those restrictions after Pledger allegedly made “inappropriate” attempts to contact the victims’ families and dissuade them from pressing charges.
“It happened because of them, not me,” she said on the tape.