Judge hands down near-maximum sentence for Tamika Pledger’s conviction in deadly KCK crash

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Self-proclaimed community activist Tamika Pledger hoped for mercy during sentencing for killing a 16-year-old girl and injuring three others, asking the judge for probation. Instead he sent her to prison for 64 months, only four months shy of the maximum he could give her.

"Justice will never be served because we lost Tierra, but you take what you can get," said Morris Letcher. He is the uncle of Tierra Smith, who died at just 16 years old when she was hit by a car driven by Pledger.

Tierra Smith

Pledger says in January 2015, she got a call from a teenage relative saying other girls were trying to jump her. Pledger raced to the scene at 14th and Troup, and police say she plowed her car into the crowd of teenagers fighting in the street.

"America asks us to trust the justice system, which is tough,” Morris said. “Especially when you have to sit and wait for two-and-a-half years and listen to somebody saying they don't have responsibility."

"They are still placing blame on the kids,” said Regina Golden Robinson, whose two daughters were injured in the crash. “I just wish there would have been some type of remorse instead of blaming the kids still."

In court, Pledger stuck to her script and denied responsibility, blaming the victims for their fate and has maintained that position over the years. While Robinson is pleased with the prison sentence, she was hoping for one other thing from Pledger, an apology, which never came.

"No mercy, accidents happen," said Pledger’s pastor, Samuel Young.

After sentencing, Young doubled down on Pledger's belief that she did nothing wrong and the crash was someone else's fault.

“Unfortunately, some people die, some people get maimed for life,” said the pastor. "It is something that God permitted and I don't care what anyone will say, if God didn't permit it, it could not have happened."

“Apple don't fall far from the tree,” said Morris in response to Pastor Young’s comments. “Everybody from that side seemed to take the stance of no responsibility, and so that's the most hurtful thing."

Pledger plans to appeal the decision. Her attorney filed a motion for an appeal bond so she can get out of jail, but that motion was denied, and she's currently sitting in the Wyandotte County Jail.