Parents Tell of Teen Athlete’s Reaction to Loss of Both Legs; Missouri Judge Denies Bond for Crash Suspect

Parents Tell of Teen Athlete’s Reaction to Loss of Both Legs; Missouri Judge Denies Bond for Crash Suspect
Teen athlete Janae Edmondson. (Rhonda Ross/GoFundMe)
Janice Hisle

Parents of a 17-year-old Tennessee athlete described to a judge the heartbreaking moment they broke the news to their daughter that she had lost both legs when a speeding vehicle crashed into her.

Janae Edmondson, a volleyball and basketball player, had asked her parents if they would still love her—legless, her mother said at a detention hearing in St. Louis, Missouri.

“‘Of course I will,’ I told her. ‘If I cut all my hair off, would you still love me? This is no different,’” she responded. That’s according to an article posted by KSDK-TV in St. Louis, on Feb. 27.

The report recounted emotional testimony from Edmondson’s parents as they asked a judge to deny bond for the accused at-fault motorist in the pedestrian-vehicle crash, Daniel Riley, 21.

The judge agreed to keep Riley behind bars, noting his history of alleged bond violations, the TV station reported.

As the Epoch Times previously reported, the crash resulted in a public outcry, including calls for St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner to resign.
Critics accuse her of failing to uphold her responsibility to protect the public. After refusing to resign, Gardner faces a possible removal proceeding in St. Louis Circuit Court.

Teen Recalls ‘Everything’ About Crash

On Feb. 27, a judge in the Riley case did not allow audio recordings during his bond hearing, so KSDK-TV posted written quotes from the teen’s parents on its website.

The victim’s father told a judge that, after his daughter learned the devastating news about her legs being amputated,  “She looked at me, and cried and said, ‘I love you, Dad,’” the TV station reported.

Janae has undergone five surgeries so far, her parents said, and has a steel rod holding her pelvis together.

“She told her father she remembers everything about the crash and getting hit,” the report said.

“Her mother told the judge her daughter moans in pain during the night, and has asked her who did this to her and why. She also asked her mother if he was in jail so he can’t hurt anyone else.”

Her parents’ names were excluded from the TV report.

Edmondson was supposed to play volleyball on a scholarship at University of Tennessee Southern. The college has agreed to honor that scholarship and to keep Janae as part of the team, saying she earned that honor.

Social media has lit up with reports of girls’ volleyball teams donning purple, Janae’s favorite color, as a show of support. In addition, more than $600,000 has been raised on to help the Edmondsons cover expenses related to Janae’s injuries.

Court Dates to Be Set

The controversial case prompted Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey to file a court action attempting to oust Gardner from her elected office.

He blames Gardner for the crash that resulted in Janae’s devastating injuries, alleging that Riley should have been locked up rather than behind the wheel of a vehicle on Feb. 18. Bailey asserts that Gardner didn’t take enough steps to get Riley’s bond revoked. Gardner, a Democrat, denies the accusations and accuses the Republican of playing politics.

But Bailey alleges that the case involving Riley is only one of many in which the prosecutor has shirked her responsibilities.

Janae, of Smyrna, Tenn., had gone to St. Louis to participate in a volleyball tournament. She and her parents were walking back to their hotel when Riley allegedly sped an Audi through an intersection, striking two other vehicles and Janae, St. Louis police said.

As a result of the crash, Riley was charged with two felonies and three misdemeanors, including driving without a valid license.

Dates for further action against Riley and Gardner were pending on Feb. 28.

The Missouri Supreme Court has appointed a visiting judge, John Torbitzky, to preside over the hearing in which Bailey is seeking to oust Gardner.
Janice Hisle reports on former President Donald Trump's campaign for the 2024 general election ballot and related issues. Before joining The Epoch Times, she worked for more than two decades as a reporter for newspapers in Ohio and authored several books. She is a graduate of Kent State University's journalism program. You can reach Janice at: [email protected]
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