KANSAS CITY, Mo. — North Kansas City Police released dash cam video Tuesday of their early morning traffic stop of Toni Anderson. It happened January 15th at 4:25 a.m., the same morning she is presumed to have accidentally driven her Ford Focus into the Missouri River and drowned.
The Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office revealed Toni Anderson had drugs and alcohol in her system at the time of her death. It called ethanol, cocaine and amphetamine intoxication contributing factors to her accidental death.
The 10-year North Kansas City Police Officer spotted Toni Anderson sitting the wrong way in oncoming traffic at 26th Avenue and 9 Highway.
“I was working at Chrome tonight,” Anderson told the officer.
“At Chrome, you been drinking?” He asked.
“No,” she responded.
The 20-year-old would explain she’d left one strip club and was heading to another. On the video, Anderson seems to think the officer is talking about her taking the wrong street as she tries to drive from one strip club near the stadiums to another downtown. In actuality, he was trying to explain she was sitting in the wrong lanes.
“You were heading the wrong way, ” the officer said.
“Well, yeah, I know,” Anderson said.
“No, no this is a two-way street. You are on the full left side of the street heading into oncoming traffic. It’s not funny,” the officer scolded Anderson after she giggled.
“I wouldn’t have been surprised at all if the officer had gotten this young lady out of the car and investigate further for DUI and do the field sobriety tests, in fact I would have expected it from watching it. Because out of the thousands of videos I’ve watched, I’ve seen it happened a lot of times on no more evidence than that,” said Brian Leininger, a defense attorney who specializes in DUI case law.
But retired Kansas City Police Major John Hamilton, a criminology professor at Park University, says the officer was processing a lot of information not shown on the video.
“I can’t see her eyes, I can’t smell anything I don’t know what he sees when he goes up there,” he explained.
Neither Leininger nor Hamilton could answer definitively what the officer should have done, but agreed what ultimately happened next was tragic.
The officer instructed Anderson to pull across the street to the QuikTrip gas station and “gather herself.”
After a few minutes video shows the cop drive away with Anderson standing outside of her car at the pump. It was the final time she attempted to use her ATM card or cellphone before she ultimately is believed to have driven into the river at English Landing Park, seven miles away.
“It’s a tough balancing point to get the dangerous people off the road, but leave the people who aren’t doing anything alone, that’s why I don’t want to sit here and second guess this officer,” Leininger said. “He observed her, I can’t say what he did was wrong, but I will tell you I’ve seen people arrested routinely in that circumstance.”
“I think that all these questions people are asking are more than appropriate, I think that’s how you get better, you get better by asking the questions could we have done this differently, is there something that there that was missed?” Hamilton said.
North Kansas City Police say they have reviewed the video and called the officer’s actions “reasonable.”