ST. LOUIS — A 17-year-old is in the hospital with critical, life-altering injuries after being hit by a car Saturday night.
It happened near the Dome at America's Center in downtown St. Louis.
The teenager, Janae Edmondson, is from Tennessee and was in town for a volleyball tournament.
Jeff Wismer has known Edmonson and her family for years as the assistant director of the Mid TN Volleyball Club in Smyrna, Tennessee, near Nashville.
He said Edmonson has been playing with the club for several years.
Wismer said the 17-year-old is stable, but unfortunately both her legs had to be amputated.
He described Edmondson as a "gifted young person," who just last week committed to play collegiate volleyball.
Wismer described the loss as "stunning."
"Her life has changed, and we are going to need people to love her and support her and support that family as they evolve and we are just so thankful that she’s with us," he said.
According to Wismer, Edmondson was walking back to the hotel with her family after her first day playing in a volleyball tournament when she was hit by a car.
"Words can’t describe the sadness that our community has. I think we have words to describe our anger honestly and we think that’s healthy feelings that we have. A sense of loss for Janae and her family right now. We’re so thankful and blessed that she is alive and that may be the starting point for us is that we are thankful that she’s here," he said.
Police said the crash started when a gray Audi didn't yield and collided with another car at 11th and St. Charles a little before 9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18.
Wismer said the car then pinned Edmondson.
"The words we have are just to describe a wonderful family, a gifted kid with a great smile, who has toughness, perseverance and determination and we know those characteristics will shine through during her recovery and next couple of weeks and months ahead for her," he said.
Liz Kramer, St. Louis Community Mobility Committee Co-Chair, said consistent incidents like these are why her group is pushing for improvements.
"I think the way that people’s lives are changed and altered by these horrific crashes, it is something that we need the people in power to really understand. It’s going to take a long time to change our city, so it is a safe place for us to be," she said.
According to Kramer, the streets and sidewalks in the city are not safe.
It's a problem that she believes isn't new and has only gotten worse.
"We really want to see the city change our operations, our practices, our procedures and our culture, so that we can have a city where it’s safe to walk downtown, it’s safe to walk to the grocery store, or walk to your library," Kramer said.
While Wismer said their community will continue to mourn, they're grateful for life.
"We want to try and bring some normalcy to Janae and her family as they move forward in the circle of life that has really been broken and really will change moving forward," he said.
5 On Your Side also spoke to Rhonda Ross, Mid TN Volleyball Club owner and director, over the phone.
She said Edmondson will be staying in St. Louis for four to five weeks before they are able to safely move her to another hospital.
Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Tishaura Jones provided a statement regarding Janae Edmondson that reads:
"This weekend,16-year-old Janae Edmondson’s life was upended by horrific traffic violence as she visited our city for a volleyball tournament at America’s Center Downtown. Violence is always devastating, but it's especially devastating when it touches the lives of our youth. My heart goes out to Janae and her loved ones.
"Visitors and residents alike should be able to feel safe in our city and our downtown. My office has connected with the Circuit Attorney’s Office and judicial partners to review the processes that led up to this preventable tragedy. Our city can and must do a better job of working together to hold those who endanger our communities accountable.
"Traffic violence is an issue that impacts our entire city. While we’re still gathering the facts of this case, I remain committed to major investments in street and pedestrian infrastructure to keep our city safe no matter how they choose to get around - walking, biking, driving, or using public transit - as we also explore enforcement solutions."
Ross set up this GoFundMe to help the family with the medical expenses.
The suspect in this case is 21-year-old Daniel Riley.
He's charged with second-degree assault, armed criminal action and several misdemeanors.
Police said he was speeding and did not brake.
Investigators said he did not have a license, was out on bond for a previous robbery case, and violated an order to wear a GPS monitoring device and be on house arrest.