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Driver Found Guilty in Crash That Severed 17-Year-Old Volleyball Player’s Legs

"I will not let this define who I am and what I bring to this world," said the teenage victim

Gofundme Janae Edmonson
Gofundme Janae Edmonson

The driver who crashed into a 17-year-old girl, Janae Edmondson, and pinned her in between two vehicles was found guilty on Thursday, per St. Louis' Circuit Attorney Gabriel E. Gore’s Friday press conference.

Daniel Riley, 22, was convicted of second-degree assault, armed criminal action, fourth-degree assault and driving without a valid license, reports the Associated Press. The jury recommended that Riley serve an 18-year and nine-month prison sentence, reports First Alert 4. He will be sentenced on April 18.

Prior to the February 2023 accident, Riley was out on bond after he was a suspect in an armed robbery, although he had violated the conditions of his release more than 40 times, reported KSDK.

Following the crash, Edmondson had both of her legs amputated. Riley hit her with the 2023 Audi Q5 after he ran through a yield sign at 11th and St. Charles in St. Louis, Mo. The teenage girl was visiting from Tennessee for a volleyball tournament when the crash occurred.

<p>KSDK News/Youtube</p> Daniel Riley

KSDK News/Youtube

Daniel Riley

Related: Teen's Legs Amputated After She Was Hit By Car While Attending Volleyball Tournament: 'Her Life Has Changed'

Edmondson and her family were walking to a hotel when Riley’s car struck her, according to a statement shared on Edmondson’s Mid TN Volleyball Club’s GoFundMe campaign for her.

The teenager’s father, a veteran, shared during the trial that he created a tourniquet with his belt when he saw her severed legs and before the ambulance arrived, reports First Alert 4.

She explained during the trial that while in the emergency vehicle, she was talking to her parents. “I was talking to them and saying, ‘My mom said don’t close my eyes. I have to stay awake,’ and I was just sitting there, looking up, repeating that to myself,” recalled the teenager, per First Alert 4.

She was then rushed to a nearby hospital with her parents, James and Francine Edmondson, at her side, per the GoFundMe description.

She suffered internal injuries and a fractured pelvis. Since the crash, Edmondson received 29 surgeries, 23 of which occurred two weeks after the accident, reports First Alert 4. She is expected to have more surgeries in the future.

During her victim impact statement, the teenager thanked her parents for saving her life and said the tragedy "taught" her "how to be tough and resilient, through adversity, and to be strong."

"While this tragedy has severely impacted my life, I will not let this define who I am and what I bring to this world," she said.

<p>KSDK News/Youtube</p> Janae Edmonson

KSDK News/Youtube

Janae Edmonson

Related: Ga. Man Says He Crashed Car at 100 MPH When Accelerator Stuck and He Feared Killing Other Drivers

Along with Riley’s conviction, the Edmondson family is suing him and the city of St. Louis.

The family is suing the city after it was discovered that Riley had violated his bond over 40 times and remained free.

This led to efforts to remove then-St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner from office. Initially, Gardner fought the efforts, but three months later, she resigned.

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Representatives for the circuit attorney's office and Riley’s attorney, Daniel Diemer, did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for more information on Friday.

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