Man sentenced to 19 years for crash that cost teen volleyball player her legs

ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis man has been sentenced to 19 years in prison for causing a downtown accident that resulted in the amputation of the legs of a teenage Tennessee volleyball player.

Daniel Riley, 22, was convicted last month of second-degree assault, armed criminal action, fourth-degree assault and driving without a valid license. Judge Michael Noble followed the jury’s recommendation Thursday by sentencing Riley to 19 years, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

“The verdict represents the judgment of the community,” Judge Michael Noble said Thursday. “The jury found this was not an accident.”

The February 2023 crash set off a chain of events that led to the resignation of District Attorney Kim Gardner.

Riley was a robbery suspect who was out on bail when he sped through an intersection and struck an occupied car and then a parked car, pinning 17-year-old Janae Edmondson between two vehicles.

Janae from Smyrna, Tennessee, was in St. Louis with her family for a volleyball tournament. They had just left a restaurant after having dinner after her match when the crash occurred.

Her father, a U.S. Army veteran, used a bystander belt to place a tourniquet around his daughter’s legs and is credited by doctors with saving her life. Janae also suffered internal injuries and a broken pelvis and has undergone almost thirty surgeries. She is suing the city of St. Louis and Riley.

On Thursday, Janae walked towards Noble on prosthetics. Her mother, Francine Edmondson, read a victim impact statement outlining the difficult days that followed the crash and Janae’s resilience in dealing with the mental and physical toll. She asked the judge to give Riley the maximum sentence, saying he had shown “no concern for humanity.”

“He must face the full extent of the consequences,” Francine Edmondson said.

Riley declined to speak during the hearing. His attorney, Dan Diemer, said an appeal is planned.

The crash led to efforts to remove Gardner from office. Gardner’s critics blamed her when it was revealed that Riley had violated the terms of his bond dozens of times but remained free.

Gardner, a Democrat and St. Louis’ first black prosecutor, initially fought the effort, saying the effort to oust her was politically and racially motivated by Republicans with whom she had long been at odds.

But she resigned three months later, citing legislative efforts that would allow Republican Gov. Mike Parson to appoint a special prosecutor to handle violent crimes, effectively removing most of her responsibilities.