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Who was FSU student Ellie Sims?

ELIZABETH “Ellie” Sims was reportedly using the crosswalk at a busy intersection near the FSU campus when the horrific accident occurred.

Tallahassee investigators worked quickly to locate and identify the driver in the crash, 18-year-old Willis Trueblood Jr., who told police he “panicked” after hitting Sims, causing him prompted to drive away from the scene of the accident.

Florida State University student Elizabeth “Ellie” Sims was killed by a vehicle in a hit-and-run accident near campus on Monday, April 29, 2024Photo credit: Instagram/esmsims

Who was FSU student Ellie Sims?

Elizabeth “Ellie” Sims was a 20-year-old college student.

Sims is originally from Franklin, Tennessee and had both a brother and a sister.

She lived in Tallahassee, Florida, where she was a sophomore at Florida State University.

At FSU, Sims was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority.

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According to her sisters, Sims was “involved in the FSU Honors College, FSU CHAW, an avid runner, a student of entrepreneurship and a fashionista.”

According to her Instagram, Sims enjoyed traveling, hanging out with her friends, and spending time at the beach.

She also described herself as an “astrologer and clairvoyant” in her social media bio.

Sims has often posted snaps of herself out and about on the town, most recently posting a photo of herself posing next to her mother.

Friends and family remembered Sims as a happy college student with a “positive attitude” and an “infectious smile.”

What happened to Ellie Sims?

On Monday, April 29, 2024, Ellie Sims was struck by a car while walking near West Pensacola Street.

The fatal hit-and-run occurred near the intersection of Lorene and Pensacola Streets around 6:40 p.m.

According to WCTV, FSU students describe the intersection as “always busy.”

Sims was using the crosswalk when she was fatally struck.

Witnesses reported that several passers-by immediately attempted to provide “life-saving assistance,” but Sims died from her injuries at the scene.

“The many conversations we would have were constantly replaying in my head,” said Sims' girlfriend, who did not want her identity made public.

“You are full of love, [and] Laughing,” she said, adding, “I could listen to her for hours and wish I still could.”

“She’s always smiling. She was the most outgoing and beautiful person I have ever met.”

Florida State University President Richard McCullough also released a statement on behalf of the FSU community.

“We are deeply saddened by the heartbreaking loss of one of our students, Elizabeth “Ellie” Sims, who was killed Monday when she was struck by a vehicle near campus.”

“Our thoughts and condolences are with her family and friends at this difficult time.”

“Counseling services are available to all members of the Florida State University family who need support as they navigate this tragedy together.”

“I encourage anyone struggling with this loss to seek help,” he added.

Sims' friends and family have created two ways to honor their life and legacy.

Her sorority sisters created the Ellie Sims Memorial Fund, while Johannah Paiva organized a GoFundMe to cover funeral costs for Sims' family.

As of May 1, 2024, GoFundMe had raised over $54,000 from over 1,0000 donations, exceeding its original goal of $50,000.

18-year-old Willis Trueblood Jr. was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a fatal hit-and-run accident on Tuesday, April 30, 2024Photo credit: Leon County Sheriff's Office

Where is Willis Trueblood Jr. now?

Less than two hours after the hit-and-run, both the vehicle and the driver were found.

The damaged vehicle was located near the intersection of Liberty Street and Holton Street.

According to court documents, the vehicle that allegedly caused the hit-and-run “exhibited damage to the hood and windshield consistent with the accident, as well as blood and hair in the windshield.”

On Tuesday, April 30, 2024, 18-year-old Willis Trueblood Jr. was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident.

The fatal hit-and-run “is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison,” the Tallahassee Democrat said.

Trueblood Jr. reportedly told Tallahassee police investigators that he “panicked” after hitting Sims, which caused him to drive away from the scene.

He claims the sun was shining in his eyes and he was driving with his visor down when the accident occurred.

He also told police that after the accident he drove to a friend's house and called one of his parents.

“I didn't even see her coming. I didn’t know what to do, so I just left,” Trueblood Jr. said, according to court documents.

“I hit someone and just screwed it up,” he added.

Trueblood Jr. has reportedly entered a written, conditional plea of ​​not guilty.

Trueblood Jr. has been arraigned at the Leon County Sheriff's Office, but it is unclear if he is currently in jail or if he has managed to post bond.

Anna Harden

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