Close call for Wichita native as she evacuates LSU before Hurricane Ida hits

Local

BATON ROUGE, La. (KSNW) – Wichita native, Ellie Shank, is a sophomore and beach volleyball player at Louisiana State University.

In her freshman year, she experienced a few hurricanes but nothing severe. But last week, when she heard to stock up on non-perishables and gas, she wasn’t too worried until it was almost too late.

“I was like, oh, I’m fine like I don’t need anything. My car has like half a tank,” she said.

The Wichita native had enough gas to go 100 miles, which became an issue when she got the call from her coach to evacuate before Hurricane Ida hits.

“Every gas station in the surrounding area was out,” Shank said. “I was like, well, I can’t get anywhere because at this point, after searching for gas, I lost like 40 miles.”

The LSU beach volleyball player was stuck, but she found a newly refilled gas station 40 minutes away with the help of a teammate.

“She’s like, leave now and hurry, and hopefully, it doesn’t run out by the time you get here,” Shank said.

Shank grabbed her keys and zoomed off. Despite a long line, she was able to fill her tank.

“Saturday, I woke up at like 4:40 a.m. and drove to Dallas trying to avoid the traffic. It was still like bumper to bumper,” she explained.

Shank is thankful to be safe in Dallas, but she still has a surreal feeling seeing the damage from Hurricane Ida.

“Oh, my friend lives in that town, and I know someone who’s evacuating to that town,” Shank said. “It’s just crazy that like those places that normally look a certain way and now they’re like halfway underwater. It’s really sad to see, and I hope that it doesn’t take too much of a toll on Louisiana.”

Shank isn’t sure when she will return to campus. However, she believes the power outages will be the biggest struggle getting back to school.

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