Erinn Billups returns to the sidelines after hit-and-run


Washburn website

Erin Billups is the survivor of a hit-and-run case. She has persevered through this traumatic incident to continue her education at Washburn.

When people hear of an accident or tragedy, they often view it from a distance. Car accidents, natural disasters and crimes seem so unreal to some of us because we have never experienced them and have the false mindset that we never will. Erinn Billups, a senior at Washburn majoring in education, became a survivor of a hit-and-run in Kansas City on Oct. 24, 2021. It was an unexpected event that changed her life.
Billups had been celebrating her friend’s 22nd birthday in Westport, Kansas City at Levee Bar & Grill until 3 a.m. when the group’s ride arrived. She was keeping an eye on oncoming traffic while she ushered her friends across the street, when suddenly a car from behind swerved into the opposite lane and hit her. The person that struck Billups made no effort to stop and check on her well-being, leaving friends and bystanders scrambling to get help.
She was immediately taken to St. Luke’s Hospital where she was given full CT scans to assess the damage. Billups had suffered a broken nose, a broken eye-socket, a head contusion, six skull fractures, a concussion, road rash on her face and temporary hearing loss in one of her ears.
For three days, Billups rested in the hospital before she was sent home to live temporarily with her parents. This was difficult for Billups since it was her senior year at Washburn and her last year on the cheer team.
After a month at home, she returned for the last two weeks before winter break in an effort to reacclimate to her normal life.
“I remember my first time coming back to school and socializing. Everyone just tells me, ‘You look so good; you look like nothing happened,’ but I still have a lot of mental things going on, on the inside,” said Billups.
She slowly reintegrated into her regular schedule but had to take precautions such as refraining from performing stunts during cheerleading.
“I’ve been pretty positive about the whole situation, but I’ve had two breakdowns where I’ve just been like, ‘Why is this happening? How do you not stop after hitting someone and just leave them unconscious on the side of the road?’” Billups said.
It has been an inspiration to all of her friends to see her persevere despite this traumatic event. Roge Lagahid, one of Billups’ friends who had witnessed the accident, expressed his relief over her progress.
“I honestly can’t put into words what it feels like to see Erinn be herself after going through that. It really makes you think about how fast life goes and how you have to take it day by day,” Lagahid said.
As of right now, the accident is still an open investigation. Billups hopes for closure on this case, but until then, she plans to keep pursuing an education degree and living her life to the fullest surrounded by the friends and family that kept her going.

Edited by: Justin Shepard, Simran Shrestha