Lawrence woman who was critically injured in crash hopes to see justice served after drunk-driving suspect arrested over a year later

photo by: Contributed

Sarah Morrison is pictured on the left in the hospital after a man driving the wrong direction on the interstate crashed into her. On the right is the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan that she was driving.

A Lawrence woman is hoping to see justice served after the reportedly drunk driver who grievously injured her was finally arrested — over a year after the crash.

Sarah Morrison, then 32, had spent the evening playing board games with friends in the Kansas City area and was on her way back to Lawrence just after midnight on March 18, 2023. It was a normal night — until, out of nowhere, a 2010 Buick LaCrosse driving in the wrong lane on I-435 near the interchange with I-35 in Overland Park struck her 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan head on.

“I actually don’t have any memories of the accident,” Morrison said. “I just remember waking up in the hospital.”

She spent the next five days in Overland Park Regional Medical Center with her mother and brother by her side. She underwent emergency surgery on her leg, which was broken in four places. Her ankle was broken in half but was swelling so much that doctors had to wait weeks before performing another surgery on it. The ankle was put in a temporary brace that was drilled into her bone to keep it from moving until she could have another operation. Additionally, Morrison had multiple injuries to her brain, a pulmonary contusion, lacerations from her seat belt on her waist, and her body was covered in bruises.

The next 10 days she spent in a rehab clinic before going home and then reporting for regular checkups for weeks until her ankle could be worked on.

Then came the long recovery, both to body and spirit.

“The head injury was so severe at that time I just needed a lot of dark and quiet. If I had a visitor, they would restrict them to a certain amount of time. saying that ‘Sarah is on a kind of brain break,'” Morrison said.

It wasn’t until July, four months after the crash, that she could move around without a wheelchair or walker. Then she spent six months in intense physical therapy to rebuild the leg muscles that had deteriorated. Her physical therapist eventually told her that she had plateaued and that her ankle may never fully recover.

photo by: Contributed

Sarah Morrison, of Lawrence, is pictured in the hospital after the head-on collision on March 18, 2023, in Overland Park.

“Because of how significant the break was, I still have some issues. I don’t have full range of motion in my ankle. My orthopedic surgeon said I have reached ‘maximum medical improvement,'” Morrison said.

Morrison, an attorney who works in the Kansas City area, started driving again in February, 11 months after the crash, and can finally go into the office on her own. She said she is very grateful that her law firm has given her space to recover and has accommodated her with a lighter workload.

Since the crash, Morrison has been focused on two things: recovering from her extensive injuries and learning more about who crashed into her and why.

“I was in constant contact with the (state) troopers following the crash. When I learned that this individual who hit me was driving on the wrong side of the highway, I immediately suspected he was driving impaired,” Morrison said.

The man who hit her, Toure Biggins, 41, of Lenexa, was also injured in the crash and was taken to the University of Kansas hospital, where his blood was drawn for a toxicology screen. Morrison said the report took five long months for law enforcement to return. She said that each time she spoke with a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper, it seemed like there was another reason why it wasn’t ready.

photo by: Johnson County Sheriff’s Office

Toure Biggins

But the results finally came in August 2023, and they supported Morrison’s suspicions that Biggins was well beyond the legal drinking limit.

“He was .291, almost four times the legal limit (of .08), and he had illegal drugs in his system. I remember that phone call; I broke down crying. I just knew it. It felt nice to finally have that confirmed,” Morrison said.

With the toxicology report in, Morrison said she expected swift justice to follow from the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office. She thought surely it would be an easy case, given the evidence in the crash report and toxicology results.

But again, months went by and her calls to the district attorney’s office went nowhere. No charges were being filed; no arrests had been made.

“I’m not only fighting for justice for what happened to me but, even more importantly, we cannot have (individuals) out driving on our roads endangering the lives of others,” Morrison said.

She kept calling until she finally got someone on the line in January 2024 who would listen, a victim’s advocate with the office.

“When I explained what I was fighting for she kind of took it upon herself to say ‘this case is going to get filed,'” Morrison said.

Charges were filed this month, over one year after the crash. Morrison said she was shocked at how long it took, but she is hopeful that justice will ultimately prevail.

“I want to make sure that the sentence and the punishment is appropriate for what happened. Not only to give me justice but also to make sure that this individual learns from this,” Morrison said.

Biggins is currently charged in Johnson County District Court with one count of aggravated battery by DUI, which is a midlevel felony that could come with a prison sentence between 31 and 136 months if he is convicted. He was arrested on the charge on April 9 and was released shortly afterward on a $50,000 bond. He is scheduled for a first appearance in court on Thursday, April 18.

Though she has concerns about people suspected of DUI being able to freely drive around after having caused serious accidents, she’s grateful that a process of accountability has begun. She said that anyone who might be in a similar situation to hers, having been in a crash or having a loved one involved in a crash, and waiting for an answer, should never give up fighting for justice.

“If you’re meeting dead ends, try different phone numbers, try different avenues, do as much as you can,” Morrison said. “What if I had died? What if it was my family having to wait this long for justice?”

photo by: Contributed

Sarah Morrison is pictured on a recent trip to California after having recovered from her injuries.


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