Son of woman killed while crossing Clayton Rd. asks why punishment for driver wasn’t harsher

Posted at 10:30 AM, Jun 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-26 12:30:36-04

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    CLAYTON, MO (KMOV) — The son of a woman who was hit and killed while crossing Clayton Road in September 2016 is asking for a meeting with the St. Louis County Prosecutor.

He wants answers as to why the driver was basically charged with running a red light.

“It’s like my mother’s death didn’t matter,” Gabe Pearson said.

Pearson was senior in high school when his mom was killed.

“I graduated high school without my mom,” said Pearson.

Gretchen Stahlschmidt was returning from the grocery store, crossing Clayton Road at Highland Terrace when she was hit by a Jeep.

The driver, Michael Loftus, plead guilty in March 2019 to ‘failure to obey traffic control device’.

The police report states he looked down at his radio. A witnesses stated in the same report that they watched Stahlschmidt wait to cross until the signal gave her the right-of-way.

Court records show Loftus was given probation, a $300 fine and an ignition interlock.

The charge in this case originated under the previous leadership of St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch. Current prosecutor Wesley Bell took office this year and the plea happened in March.

The victim’s son is asking for a meeting with Bell to ask why there wasn’t a harsher punishment for her death. Pearson said he and his father have been asking for a meeting with no response.

“We want to know why he mishandled our case so badly and we’ve been repeatedly been ignored for months,” said Pearson.

Bell’s office gave News 4 the following statement:

“We have talked with other members of the family repeatedly. We explained what happened, (under the previous administration) with the plea and that it was the decision of the court to grant the request of defense counsel. We sympathize with Mr. Pearson and his family. We are saddened by his loss and we will meet with him.”

Pearson said he welcomes a meeting with Bell.

News 4 reached out to Loftus’ attorney, who chose not to comment.

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