Pledger trial: Witnesses say she was speeding before hitting, killing teen

Posted at 8:20 PM, May 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-24 18:21:29-04
Day two of the Tamika Pledger manslaughter trial included 11 witnesses called by the special prosecutor, including four teens who were involved in a street fight that happened just minutes before Pledger drove down the street.

A jury of 7 men and 5 women will decide if Tamika Pledger is guilty of aggravated battery and manslaughter in the January 30, 2015 death of 16-year-old Tierra Smith. Three other teens were also injured.

Pledger showed little emotion and appeared to assist her attorney as witnesses were called to the stand and cross-examined.

NeKe'Yah Barnes, 21, told the court that she and three other girls, including Tierra Smith, were in a car and followed a bus from Wyandotte High School to a bus stop near 13th and Troup Avenue so she could fight Ta'Mya Coulter. 

Coulter told jurors she was knocked unconscious before Pledger got to the scene. She didn't see anything.

The crash was in the middle of the street and witnessed by others. RayVon Hill testified that he saw the accident and described Pledgers' demeanor as panicked and scared.

"She was going highway speeds," said Hill.

Crash reconstruction experts told the court Pledger was going a minimum of 35 miles per hour when she hit the teens.

Special prosecutor James Spies has called a number of experts to the stand who said Pledger was traveling at a high rate of speed, and there was no heavy breaking or heavy skid marks prior to her hitting the teens.

The prosecutor is expected to call more witnesses Wednesday before defense attorney Michael Gunter calls his first witness. The trial will resume at 9:00 a.m.