Pedestrian killed in fire truck collision remembered for positive outlook

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) — When Tami Knight came to Club Pilates in Liberty, she brought stories of adventure and a spirit of kindness.

“When you saw her on the list for the class, it was something to look forward to,” said Patrick Copley, the Pilates studio’s owner.

Her smile beams in a photo holding a sign that reads, “Welcome to the 250 club,” taken when she completed 250 classes.

“Tami was a light, always had something positive to say, one of those people who never had a bad day, one of those people who always had something coming up on the horizon, whether it was scuba diving or skydiving or hiking.”

She owned a photography business and worked for the Kansas City Public schools in their administrative office.

KCPS Chief Communications Officer Kelly Wachel worked closely with her.

“Tami was our quiet, rockstar data analyst,” the Wachel wrote in an email. “The night of her death, she spent time telling each of her teammates personally why she was grateful for each them. It gives me emotional goosebumps just thinking about it. We are heartbroken.”

Knight was on the sidewalk on December 15th when and SUV and fire truck collided, hitting a building, which collapsed. She was found under the rubble the next morning.

Police told us the fire truck passed through the intersection of Westport Road and Broadway on a red light with their lights and sirens activated.

KCTV obtained department policy, which states, “Unless all lanes can be accounted for by the driver during an emergency response, all Fire Department vehicles shall come to a complete stop at all red light intersections and negative right of way situations.”

The two people in the SUV were also killed.

Jennifer San Nicholas was driving a co-worker home from Ragazza, the nearby restaurant where they worked.

That co-worker, Michael Elwood, was planning to move back to his hometown three days later to help care for his mother, who is battling cancer.

As for Knight, Copley has a message for all the others who are holding her close in their hearts.

“To her mom, specifically, you had an awesome daughter. We’ll never forget her. She was special and we are all better for having known her,” Copley said, fighting back a lump in his throat.

Police and fire officials say the investigation into the wreck will likely take a month or longer.

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