Riley, now 20, called Preble County 911 dispatchers frantically screaming that a vehicle was trying to run her off the road at about 1:20 a.m. Riley was traveling north on Ohio 503 in Preble County, and the SUV she was driving went off the road and burst into flames.
Riley was pulled from the wreckage with second- and third-degree burns on more than 50% of her body and was taken by medical helicopter to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton. She underwent multiple surgeries and physical therapy and is continuing to recover, according to family members.
The Preble County Sheriff’s Office and Ohio State Highway Patrol teamed to investigate the apparent incident of road rage, Sheriff Michael Simpson said in October.
Karla Edwards, Riley’s grandmother who lives in Madison Twp., described her as a fighter who struggled to recover when doctors had little hope.
“She is learning to live with her disabilities. It is hard for her to use right hand and arm. She will be in leg braces the rest of her life. She is in constant pain and that will not get better. Mentally and emotionally she will never be the same. She has a long hard road in front of her. The scars and damage to her body will always be a constant reminder of what she has gone through,” Edwards said.
Burned and wrecked SUV driven by Megan Riley on Sept. 19 on Ohio 503 in Preble County SUBMITTED
The incident stemmed from a bonfire party attended by Riley and several other people at a house at Somers-Gratis Road. Alcohol consumption was part of the gathering, according to an investigative file obtained by the Journal-News.
Multiple people, some of them teens, gave statements about what caused the dispute, with varying stories. Riley left the party driving a Toyota 4-Runner, and another vehicle followed, according to the investigation. When the crash happened, the vehicles were side by side on state Route 503 traveling in excess of 90 mph, according to the highway patrol. The speed limit on the road is 55 mph.
“Something occurred there that got everybody all wound up and the second vehicle was also at that party,” Simpson said.
After an extensive investigation, including several search warrants involving cellular phones and social media sites, the case was presented to a grand jury on Monday, Simpson said.
In the lengthy 911 call that ends with Riley crashing, she screams while telling dispatchers, “I am getting chased.”
Riley was unsure where she was on the road but says in the call she needs Gratis 911.
“They are chasing me, they won’t leave me alone," she says. "They are trying to run me off the road.”
Riley’s family has dedicated a Facebook page “Justice for Megan” for updates and fundraisers.