ST. LOUIS – Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner is now facing criticism from another St. Louis elected official as political pushback grows over a tragic situation involving a teenage girl.
Janae Edmondson, 17, was in town for a volleyball tournament. While walking to her hotel with family, a driver who was out on bond failed to yield and collided with another vehicle. That vehicle then struck the teen. Both of Edmondson’s legs have been amputated since the collision, and she remains hospitalized in critical condition on Wednesday.
St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones plans to hold Gardner’s office accountable.
“This incident and others have highlighted the fact that some improvements need to be made in (Gardner’s) office,” Jones said. “She really needs to do some soul-searching as to whether she wants to continue as circuit attorney because she’s lost the trust of the people.”
Jones, speaking to the media days after the incident, says she has not spoken one-on-one with Gardner since the tragedy, though representatives from their offices have been in contact.
The man accused in the crash, 21-year-old Daniel Riley, was out on bond from a 2020 armed robbery case. Last August, he was given a personal recognizance bond that required him to be tracked by GPS and stay at home. Court records show he violated house arrest dozens of times leading up to the crash.
Gardner’s office issued the following statement on the situation.
“A young girl’s life was tragically changed because of the inexcusable behavior of a young man. Our hearts go out to the victim and her family for this unspeakable tragedy that will undoubtedly have a lasting impact not only on her, but her family and loved ones. It’s unfortunate that there are those who choose to twist the facts to take advantage of this situation for their own selfish motives. This is not the time for finger pointing, it’s time to support this family, and ensure that justice is served.”
While some Missouri state officials and one St. Louis Alderman have called on Gardner to resign, Jones did not disclose any details about Gardner’s future as the St. Louis Circuit Attorney. Jones’ office tells FOX 2, since the circuit attorney is an independently-elected official, only the circuit attorney can disclose such information.
Jones says the top priority is collecting information and taking steps to make sure future incidents like this can be prevented.
“We have to take accountability with where things were dropped,” said Jones. “This individual had multiple violations. We want to make sure this accountability is taken, and that the process going forward is air-tight so that it doesn’t happen again.”
St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Megan Green joined Jones during her media session, echoing similar sentiments.
“Traffic violence has become all too frequent in our city,” Green said. “We also recognize the actions we’ve taken are not enough. … As president of the board, I’m willing to assist the circuit attorney in anything she needs to ensure we can get her office gets to a place where it’s working effectively, efficiently, and can regain the trust of residents.”
Jones and Green noted that the city has worked to install traffic-calming measures to prevent situations like what happened to Edmondson.
The incident adds to many waves of criticism and challenges facing Gardner’s office. She was previously disciplined last year amid allegations of concealing evidence in a high-profile case. Former Attorney General Eric Schmitt also accused her of concealing evidence in efforts to vacate the conviction of Lamar Johnson.