Criminal Court Date Nears After Tragic Collision in 2023 Transformed Smyrna High School Senior's Future

Feb 06, 2024 at 04:14 pm by WGNS News

Above Left: Photo of Suspect Daniel Riley. Above Right: Janae Edmondson, who was pinned between 2 vehicles.


On February 18, 2023, the Edmondson family's evening stroll back to their hotel room after a volleyball tournament in St. Louis, Missouri, was forever altered by a vehicle crash. As a result, the life of Smyrna High School senior, Janae Edmondson, completely changed in the matter of seconds. What would have been a routine walk ended in a devastating collision that would leave Edmondson fighting for her life and facing a dramatically changed future.


Edmondson, a talented multi-sport athlete with a promising volleyball scholarship awaiting her at UT-Southern, suffered catastrophic injuries when she became pinned between two vehicles. She was rushed from the scene of the crash to a hospital, where doctors were forced to amputate both of her legs due to the severity of her injuries.

The incident was believed to have been caused by a driver who was reportedly speeding and ignoring a yield sign. It was a crash that robbed Edmondson of physical abilities while shattering dreams of playing competitive sports at the collegiate level.

Police in St. Louis reported the driver of the vehicle, identified as Daniel Riley, faces multiple charges including second-degree assault, armed criminal action, and operating a vehicle without a valid license. Riley was allegedly driving well above the speed limit when the crash occurred.

It was later revealed that Riley was on bond when the incident occurred and had possibly violated court orders by simply being out of his home and driving when the crash unfolded. At the time, he was under house arrest.

With a jury trial directly around the corner, attorney's for the suspect have asked the court to prevent expert witnesses from discussing a litany of details that could have been collected by the vehicle's data recorder, which is believed to have recorded information from the crash that severely injured Edmondson.

Most Audi vehicles are equipped with Event Data Recorders (EDRs), which collect information like speed, braking, force changes, airbag deployment, and seat belt usage, among other things. These recorders provide crucial details about accidents, including events directly before, during and after a crash.

Riley's attorney made the request to strike expert testimony after claiming they haven't been allowed to examine the data recorder from the Audi SUV, which was reportedly highlighted in a report by a detective involved in the case. The court filing mentions that the State of Missouri has not responded to the request for Riley's attorney to physically examine the actual data recorder. Furthermore, documents indicate that the police reports provided to the defendant's attorney don't mention the vehicle's data recorder ever being seized as evidence.

The motion to strike testimony was submitted late last month, and a hearing for the motion is scheduled for February 15, 2024, just 18 days before the criminal case is set to move forward in the St. Louis Circuit Courtroom of Judge Michael Warren Noble.

With a criminal trial scheduled for the first Monday in March (March 4, 2024), and a civil lawsuit against the City of St. Louis set for March of 2025, Edmondson has demonstrated remarkable resilience and determination. In fact, just eight months after the accident, she made a triumphant return to her high school, walking into a football game with prosthetic legs, a testament to her strength and courage in the face of adversity.

Despite the challenges she has faced, Edmondson's spirit remained unbroken, according to those around her. Graduating from Smyrna High School in 2023, she found a new role as the manager of the MTSU Volleyball team, embracing a different path while continuing to pursue her passion for the sport. While her original plans to play volleyball at UT-Southern were derailed by the incident, Edmondson seized the opportunity to join MTSU with a partial scholarship, allowing her to stay closer to home and remain involved in the game she loves.

The upcoming legal proceedings serve as a reminder of the ongoing quest for justice and accountability in the wake of tragedy. While the road ahead may still be challenging, Janae Edmondson's story is one of resilience, determination, and the power of the human spirit to overcome even the greatest of obstacles.

DISCLAIMER: All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The arrest records or information about an arrest that are published or reported on NewsRadio WGNS and are not an indication of guilt or evidence that an actual crime has been committed.

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