An intoxicated woman who died in a car accident after being stopped by police was never given a sobriety test, dash cam footage has revealed.
Toni Anderson drove into the Missouri River and drowned on Jan. 15, after having been pulled over for driving the wrong way down a street. Her body was found inside her submerged car, almost two months later, on March 10.
Anderson, a 20-year-old University of Missouri-Kansas City student, was driving from the Chrome strip club where she worked to a friend's house when she was stopped by a Kansas City police officer.
The dash cam captured Anderson giving incoherent answers, as quoted by the Kansas City Star.
Officer: You are heading the wrong way.
Anderson: Yeah, I know (inaudible).
Officer: No, no. This is a two-way street. You’re on the full left-hand side of the street, heading into oncoming traffic.
Officer: Huh? Not funny.
Anderson: I’m sorry.
Officer: That is why I’m asking you if you have been drinking. Are you taking any medications or anything?
Anderson: No, I am just really sick. I don’t feel good.
Officer (after checking her driver license and plate): Toni, do me a favor, pull into that parking lot; sit there a while, gather yourself. So when it clears, I’m going to make sure the light turns. Go over there, park and sit.
Anderson: OK, thank you.
Text messages show Anderson messaged her friend, Roxanne Townsend, at 4.42 a.m., saying, "Omg I just got pulled over again."
She was last seen on gas station surveillance footage in the early hours of Jan. 15.
A coroner ruled that she died from hypothermia and drowning, and ruled her death as accidental. A toxicology report revealed Anderson had ethanol, cocaine and amphetamine in her system, which the coroner said could have led to confusion and impaired driving.
The North Kansas City Police Department reviewed the dash cam footage and concluded that the officer's actions were reasonable, said Maj. Kevin Freeman.
Anderson's friend, Mary Gillespie, does not accept that conclusion, reports the Kansas City Star. "Cops don't tell people they think are intoxicated to go collect themselves. No, they are going to perform a Breathalyzer test or other DUI testing and then determine if they need to take you in or not. He should be punished for the fullest extent for letting her go."
Despite much speculation during the two months that Anderson was missing, authorities have ruled out foul play. About 400 people drown in vehicles every year in the U.S., and some aren’t found for decades.