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Tennessee teenager Janae Edmondson, who lost her legs after being hit by a car, sues St. Louis

Tennessee volleyball player Janae Edmondson had her legs amputated after she was injured in car accident in February 2023. She sued St. Louis, the drivers and other defendants in a recent lawsuit.
Edmondson Family
Tennessee volleyball player Janae Edmondson lost her legs after being injured in car accident in February. She has sued the City of St. Louis, the drivers involved and others.

Janae Edmondson, the teenage volleyball player from Tennessee who was seriously injured and had her legs amputated after a February car crash, has filed a lawsuit against St. Louis.

The suit filed this week in St. Louis Circuit Court also names Dan Riley, the driver of one of the vehicles; Riley’s mother, Kimberly Riley; Elizabeth Smith, the driver of another vehicle, and EAN Holdings, known as Enterprise Rent-A-Car, as the defendants.

The suit seeks unspecified damages of more than $25,000 and alleges EAN Holdings provided a car to Kimberly Riley that was driven by her son Dan Riley, who does not have a license. It claims his car collided with one driven by Smith, who had a suspended license. Riley’s vehicle then hit Edmondson near North 11th and St. Charles streets in downtown St. Louis.

Dan Riley was out on bond on a charge of stealing a gun and had violated the terms of his pretrial release more than 50 times. The suit says Riley “exhibited habitual recklessness while driving automobiles,” and that he was driving in excess of 25 mph at the time of the accident. It also alleges Smith was also driving over the speed limit when her vehicle collided with Riley’s at the intersection of St. Charles and North 11th streets.

“This was a tragic accident that was very preventable,” Edmondson’s attorney Kevin Carnie said. “As our lawsuit spells out, there’s a lot of blame to go around in this one, starting with the idea that we had somebody who shouldn’t have been driving a vehicle at that time.”

Carnie said the accident was compounded by a hazardous intersection. He said the intersection should have had a stop sign instead of a yield sign.

A spokesperson for the city declined to comment.

The accident triggered widespread condemnation of then-Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner. She resigned in May following the accident, after waning support from city leaders, resignations within her office and revelations that she was taking nursing classes during a turbulent time in her office.

Gardner wasn’t named a defendant in this case. Carnie said it can be difficult to include public officials in lawsuits, citing immunity issues. But he didn’t rule out the possibility of including her.

“It's something we're still weighing in this case, it's something we're still evaluating,” Carnie said. “We can of course amend it and add her later.”

He said lawyers plan to soon interview the defendants and seek all documents related to the case.

Chad is a general assignment reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.