Updated at 7:48 with confirmation from Missouri Highway Patrol (with later updates and more information below):
The Missouri Highway Patrol has officially identified Gregory Carter, alderman of the 27th ward, as the victim of the early morning vehicle crash on eastbound 370 in St. Charles County.
Carter was killed after the UPS truck he was driving for work collided with a tractor trailer, which was apparently stopped to assist a previous accident. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Carter was 54 years old.
According to several of his colleagues, St. Louis Alderman Gregory Carter has died in a vehicle crash.
The crash happened early this morning near Truman Road in St. Charles and involved four vehicles, including three tractor trailers. Carter was apparently driving one of the tractor trailers.
According to his website, Carter is a native St. Louisan elected to the St. Louis Board of Alderman in April 1993 and has been Alderman of the 27th ward for 13 years. He has been an employee of the United Parcel Service since 1984. Carter has two children. His mother, Paula, was also politically active, serving as a ward committeewoman, and state Representative and Senator, and his nephew Chris is a state Representative.
Following the news, reaction from many different public figures poured in:
On his blog, Mayor Francis Slay called Carter "well-liked, respected, and missed," and extended condolences from he and his wife, Kim. Slay is also asking that flags on city buildings be lowered to half staff in Carter's honor.
Comptroller Darlene Green expressed her condolences to the family on Twitter, asking "God to bring them comfort at this time."
The African-American Aldermanic Caucus, of which Carter was the vice chairman, released the following statement:
"The St. Louis African American Aldermanic Caucus is greatly saddened by the recent death of our friend and colleague Ald. Gregory Carter. Our hearts and prayers go out from us to his family.
Alderman Carter was a vigilant advocate for his ward and all of St. Louis. He was greatly concerned with the blight of the poor and disenfranchised. He was keenly concerned for the development of the City of St. Louis. He was an organizer establishing programs, activities and services for the community and his constituents.
In the tradition of his mother, the late State Senator Paula Carter, he advocated for fairness and parity for minorities, women and residents of the city. His energy and bubbling personality will be greatly missed and we are proud to have known and worked with him."
Brian Wahby, the chair of the city's Central Democratic Committee, made the following statement:
"On behalf of the Democratic Party in St. Louis, we all have very heavy hearts on the loss of Aldermen Carter, and our thoughts and our prayers are with the family as they struggle through what is a clearly a very difficult time.
Wahby called Carter a consummate gentleman who always worked hard to serve his constituents.
"In the political realm, you find yourself from time to time in different position on issues or campaigns and whatever, and Greg was always forthright and frank about where he was going and why he was going that way, but he never personalized any of it," Wahby said, adding that there needed to be more people like Carter active in civic affairs.
Ald. Kacie Starr Triplett says Carter was incredibly supportive of younger politicians just entering city government, including herself.
"He talked about doing the most of what we could with what we had. He was just such an encouraging spirit," she said. "I will miss his smile, I will miss his camaraderie down at the Board of Alderman, I will miss his vision, I will miss mentorship, but most importantly I will miss his friendship."
Ald. Antonio French, who was Carter's second-in-command on the Public Safety committee, says he learned a lot from watching how his older colleague handled the tensions around reforms of the city's pensions for firefighters.
"There were some heated tempers on both sides of the issue, but Greg always kept his cool, made sure that both parties would come together and try to do what was best for the citizens of the city of St. Louis," French said.
He echoed Wahby's remarks that Carter never allowed political disputes to trump personal relationships - but said Carter's most important relationship was with his family.
"At the end of the day this is a father who died at work working to put his daughter through college. And that’s probably one of the most tragic things about today’s incident," French said.
Lewis Reed, the president of the Board of Aldermen, called Carter one of the city's "biggest advocates for fairness and equality."
"Alderman Carter was a charismatic, hard working, and determined public official. He was well-liked by all members and staff of the Board of Aldermen.
Greg passionately worked on matters of health and wellness for all city residents as former Chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee. His dedication to his constituents was second to none and his leadership as Chairman of the Public Safety Committee was exemplary. Alderman Carter will be greatly missed."
Congressman Lacy Clay also expressed his condolences:
"Alderman Greg Carter (D) 27th Ward was my good friend and a dedicated public servant who worked tirelessly on behalf of his community. My heart goes out to his children and the entire Carter family.
Like the Clays, the Carters have a remarkable history of serving St. Louis. The City of St. Louis has lost an exceptional public servant, and I have lost a dear friend. May God grant strength, comfort and courage to his family as they bear this terrible loss."
Congressman Russ Carnahan issued a statement as well:
“Today is a sad day in St. Louis, particularly in the 27th Ward, but across our entire city,” said Carnahan. “Sometimes, politics can be a tough business, but I have never met anyone more pleasant, accommodating and personable than Greg Carter. He always welcomed me and my family into the 27th with a kind word, a glad hand and a proud outlook on his city. He will be missed by his friends, his constituents and the people who will continue to seek his goal of making St. Louis a world-class city. Debra, myself and our entire family will keep Greg and his family in our prayers. We will miss his smile, his energy and his spirit of public service and giving back to his community.”
Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill expressed her thoughts in a statement also:
“I’m deeply saddened to learn the news of Alderman Greg Carter’s passing. I know that Greg’s mother, the late Missouri Senator Paula Carter, would be incredible proud of his service to the St. Louis community. Greg was a smiling, competent, and all around wonderful guy and I join folks across Missouri in expressing deep sorrow at this loss. The Carter family has done so much for so many, and my prayers go out to them and to all those touched by this tragedy.”
According to the city charter, (Article IV, Section 5) Carter's replacement will be selected in the following way:
- There will be a special election because the vacancy occurred more than 180 days before the next city general election
- That election will be held at least 75 days after the Board of Aldermen declares that a seat is vacant, but cannot be held more than 90 days after a vacancy.
- The central committees of both major parties (Republicans and Democrats) will meet to nominate candidates for that election. There is no primary. Those names are due to the election commission at least 30 days before the contest.
- The individual voted into office in the special election will serve the remainder of Carter's term, which was set to end in April 2013. Carter was already planning to run for re-election.
Here's a summary of the times of updates to this story so, if you missed some information, you can know where you left off:
- Updated at 1:45 p.m. with comments from Alderwoman Kacie Starr Triplett and to correct a typo.
- Updated at 10:25 a.m. with comments from Alderman Antonio French and board president Lewis Reed.
- Updated at 9:47 a.m. with comments from Congressman Lacy Clay and Sen. Claire McCaskill.
- Updated at 9:15 a.m with comments from Mayor Slay, Bryan Wahby and the African-American Aldermanic caucus, and details of replacement.
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