Tamika Pledger found guilty of manslaughter

Posted at 12:25 PM, May 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-26 19:50:51-04

Tamika Pledger was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

A jury of 7 men and 5 women found Pledger guilty in the January 30, 2015 death of 16-year-old Tierra Smith. Three other teens were also injured when Pledger drove her car into the group.

Pledger was found guilty on all counts: one count of involuntary manslaughter and three counts of aggravated battery. 

The 41-year-old claims she was on her way to break up a fight involving a relative when she crashed into the teens.

When the verdict was announced, chaos erupted in the courtroom. The Wyandotte County Sheriff's Office said Pledger's son jumped the court railing and hugged his mother. Deputies detained him but didn't charge him with any criminal acts; he wasn't arrested. 

The prosecuting attorney told 41 Action News the victims’ families are very relieved, especially considering they were unsure if the case would ever make it to trial. They feel like they have closure. 

"But just a sigh of relief to have a verdict and to know that she's been found guilty, they're very pleased. And they think that that is the right outcome," said James Spies, prosecuting attorney. 

He also said he would be recommending the maximum sentence for Pledger due to what he called "extremely reckless behavior."

"In this case, four kids were hurt and could have been far more because there were more kids there. And I say four kids were hurt, one was killed and three kids were hurt," he said. 

Pledger will be sentenced in July. 

She faces a maximum sentence of 68 months in prison but could also just receive probation.