'They are trying to run me off the road’: Franklin teen struggles to recover after fiery crash

Megan Riley SUBMITTED

The family of a Franklin teen is asking for continued prayers as she continues a long road to recovery after a fiery crash last month.

Megan Riley called Preble County 911 dispatchers frantically screaming that a vehicle was trying to run her off the road at about 1:20 a.m. on Sept. 19. Riley was traveling north on Ohio 503 in Preble County, and the SUV she was driving went off the road and burst into flames.

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Riley was pulled from the wreckage with second and third degree burns on more than 50 percent of her body and was taken by medical helicopter to Miami Valley Hospital. She has undergone six surgeries and remains in critical but stable condition, according to family members.

In the three weeks since the crash, the Preble County Sheriff’s Office and Ohio State Highway Patrol have teamed to investigate what they now believe was an apparent incident of road rage, according to Sheriff Michael Simpson.

Burned and wrecked SUV driven by Megan Riley on Sept. 19 on Ohio 503 in Preble County SUBMITTED

The incident stems 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 last week by the Journal-News.

Multiple people, some of them teens, have given 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.

Both vehicles wrecked. Riley’s SUV burst into flames. The occupants in the other vehicle were not seriously injured.

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“Something occurred there that got everybody all wound up and the second vehicle was also at that party,” Simpson said.

He said search warrants for data from cellphones and other devices are in the process of being served or the data is being examined. As of Friday, no criminal charges had been filed, and Simpson said detectives were making good progress in the investigation.

“After we get the technology piece, we will be ready to meet with the prosecutor,” he 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.

Karla Edwards, Riley’s grandmother who lives in Madison Twp., said that “she’s a fighter.”

“We have seen a lot of miracles with her but we still need more,” Edwards said.

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