The Missouri teen volleyball player who lost both her legs after being struck by an out-of-control vehicle while crossing the street says the city of St. Louis should have done more to protect her from the reckless drivers responsible for the collision.
Janae Edmonson has sued St. Louis and drivers Daniel Riley, 21, and Elizabeth Smith, over the Feb. 18, 2023, car crash that resulted in the removal of both of her legs. Edmonson, then a 17-year-old high school student from Tennessee visiting St. Louis for a volleyball tournament, was crossing a downtown intersection when cars driven by Daniel Riley, 21, and Smith collided. The 2023 Audi that Daniel Riley was driving reportedly rolled over and crushed Edmonson into a parked car, pinning her.
“Ms. Edmonson suffered immediate, life-altering injuries including amputation of both legs,” says the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday. In addition to the city and the two drivers, Edmonson has sued Kimberly Riley and EAN Holdings, the parent company of Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
Neither Riley nor Smith were legally allowed to drive that day, the lawsuit says. Riley allegedly didn’t have a driver’s license at all, and Smith was driving on a suspended license, according to the complaint. The lawsuit also says that both drivers were going faster than the 25-mile-per-hour speed limit at the time of the crash.
An investigation by local NBC affiliate KMOV also revealed that Riley had 100 bond violations prior to the collision.
“The crash, involving a robbery suspect who had violated the terms of his bond dozens of times over several months, was completely preventable,” the lawsuit says. According to the complaint, Daniel Riley had “committed multiple felonies” prior to the day of the crash and was out on bond pursuant to GPS monitoring and house arrest.
“Defendant Daniel Riley violated the terms of his bond by allowing his GPS tracker’s battery to die and leaving the area he was confined to over 50 times before February 18, 2023,” the complaint says. “Yet the City of St. Louis never revoked his bond.”
Then-St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner was accused of failing to file a motion to revoke Daniel Riley’s bond. Her office said it did request a bond revocation in December 2021, but the judge in the case refused. In January 2023, Gardner’s office again sought a hearing date to address the bond issue but reportedly did not receive a response. Gardner has since resigned from office.
The complaint says that Daniel Riley had also previously “exhibited habitual recklessness while driving automobiles.”
The lawsuit doesn’t clarify the relationship between Kimberly Riley and Daniel Riley but alleges that the former was responsible for ultimately allowing the latter to drive the Audi.
The lawsuit also says the city was negligent in failing to make the intersection safe by, for example, putting up a stop sign and other “correct signage.” At the time of the crash, only a “yield sign” was used to control traffic at the intersection, and according to the lawsuit, nearby buildings “block any view of traffic” traveling the cross street.
The city has since installed a stop sign at the intersection.
Edmonson, the lawsuit says, “had her bright future brutally ripped away” by the collision. She is seeking more than $25,000 in damages, although KMOV reported that Edmonson’s lawyers expect that number to go up.
Riley has been charged with assault and armed criminal action, both felonies, as well as assault and traffic misdemeanors in the collision, court records show. He has pleaded not guilty.
Lawyers for Edmonson did not immediately respond to Law&Crime’s request for comment. A spokesperson for the City of St. Louis told Law&Crime that city officials do not comment on pending litigation.
Read the complaint, via KMOV, below.
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