Daniel Riley, a St. Louis criminal, who violated bond over 40 times, was out on bond for a felony robbery when he crashed into 17-year-old Janae Edmonson, leaving her permanently paralyzed in both legs. Edmonson, a volleyball player who had just received a scholarship to play at the University of Tennessee Southern, received a double amputation as a result of the crash.
During the evening of Feb 20th, 21-year-old Riley was illegally operating a vehicle without a license while speeding through downtown St. Louis before crashing into another vehicle. Edmonson, a Tennessee resident who was in St. Louis for a volleyball tournament, was walking down the street with her parents when the crash left her pinned between two cars.
Riley was later arrested “for three counts of assault, armed criminal action, and operating a vehicle without a valid license,” according to KMOV4. Police stated that he was driving 20 miles over the limit while operating the vehicle without a license. He had also received a violation of his bond for a prior felony robbery, just five days prior to the crash.
After the crash, Edmonson’s mother and father fought to keep her alive as they waited for paramedics, with her father using his belt and the belt of a stranger as a tourniquet for his daughter’s legs. Edmonson was subsequently put on a ventilator.
This week, Edmonson's parents publicly announced that their daughter had both of her legs amputated. They shared that Edmonson has had five surgeries and a steel rod is holding her pelvis together.
Just two weeks ago, Edmonson had received a scholarship to UT Southern, with the head volleyball coach sharing that the university is still going to honor her scholarship, and she will still be a part of the team. The community has also rallied behind Edmonson, and a GoFundMe has been set up, having already raised over $650,000.
Per 5 On Your Side, a local St. Louis outlet, the 22nd Judicial Circuit Judge Rochelle Woodiest was considering a motion from Riley to set a bond for him as he awaits trial. The bond was denied and he will be held in custody while he awaits trial.
Many are pointing to St. Louis District Attorney, Kim Gardner, for the handling of this situation, calling attention to her apparent soft-on-crime policies that ultimately resulted in Edmonson losing her legs.
Riley, who had previously violated conditions of his bond over 40 times, was out on bond for a felony robbery the day he hit Edmonson. His robbery charge was initially dismissed before being re-filed. The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that a “spokesperson for Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner defended the office on Tuesday, saying the case was dropped and re-filed because the victim died before trial, throwing a wrench into prosecution.”
However, it was later discovered that the victim of this crime was still alive and present during the day of the hearing, and that the case was dropped because state prosecutors were not ready to proceed.
Gardner has since deflected blame onto the judge who granted Riley bond after the Mayor of St. Louis criticized Garnder’s office, sharing that a number of “improvements need to be made,” per 5 On Your Side.
Gardner has refused to take responsibility for the events that led up to this horrific incident. She has since used the tragedy to label herself the victim and blames racism for the public criticism of her office.