ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–The empty desk by the window was topped with a pile of aldermanic bills, an American flag, a St. Louis flag, and the brass name plate reading — Gregory Carter, 27th Ward Aldermen.
Carter, who sat there earlier this month as the board held its final day before summer recess, was killed in a highway crash overnight driving a UPS truck on highway 370.
The Missouri Highway Patrol says the cause of the crash is under investigation. Carter’s tractor trailer hit the back of another big rig that had stopped on the highway for an earlier accident. There was no word yet on any possible contributing factors — whether it may have been speed, sleepiness or using a cell phone.
The patrol says there was good line of sight on the stretch where the crash occurred, and the only apparent hindrance for Carter to see the stopped vehicles ahead of him may have been that it was night time. Accident reconstruction is reviewing the crash and the report could take weeks to conclude.
Around city hall, where the here-and-now takes precedence over the hereafter, those who knew Carter were in head-shaking disbelief that their 54-year old friend won’t be coming back.
“This is so tragic, especially for the family,” said Aldermanic President Lewis Reed, “I don’t know how any of us get through this any time soon.”
Reed credits Carter with inspiring him to get into public service, and he says he remembers Reed as someone who was a hard worker and a straight shooter.
“Greg didn’t always tell you what you wanted to hear,” Reed said, “He would take a look at the basis of the facts and then formulate a plan to address these facts.”
As Chairman of the Public Safety Committee this session, Carter wielded his power to hold up Mayor Slay’s plan to cut fire fighter’s pensions — long enough to encourage both sides to negotiate further and to allow the state legislature time to debate the issue.
Despite that opposition, Mayor Slay praised Carter as someone with whom he often found common ground.
“Greg and I always had a good relationship,” Slay said, “We spoke very respectfully to each other, worked together on way more things than we disagreed on, and I can tell you this — he worked hard for the people he represented.”
Carter was elected to the 27th ward in 1993. He was the son of Willie Carter and the late state Senator Paul Cater, the husband of Barbara Cater and father to Jennifer Noel Carter and Gregory Carter Jr.