Mom who recovered from horrific car crash goes on to complete marathon

Erica Baggett
Posted at 7:53 PM, Apr 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 13:59:25-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — For the last three-and-a-half years, one mother's journey has been nothing short of amazing. An incredible new milestone has just been reached. She now shares her story in the hope it can inspire someone else.

"Hold on tight! Three, two, one... blast off!" Erica Baggett said, giving her son a big push on the swing. "Now kick towards me! Now kick towards daddy!"

When you see Erica out at the park or in the many family pictures around her home, you'd have no idea what she's lived through.

"It crossed my mind a lot," said Erica. "Do people know what happened to me?"

It was October 2018. Erica, husband Josh, and their then-18-month-old son Hall hit the road heading for an Ole Miss football game. Erica doesn't remember what happened next, or the next ten weeks at all. Her first memories are at the Shepherd Center hospital in Atlanta.

What happened in October 2018 on the road to Ole Miss?

Erica said Hall was crying in the backseat.

"I took off my seat belt, and I was getting from the passenger seat to the backseat just to comfort him," said Erica. "In those ten seconds, we were hit by an 18-wheeler. I went through the car and landed in the median. I was, like, gasping for air on the side of the road."

"It was almost like a war scene or something from a very graphic movie that you go, 'that can't be real,'" Josh said. "They were being blunt with us and just saying, 'hey, prepare to take care of your wife the rest of her life. The things you would be lucky to see is her being able to shower by herself.' I should have known better just knowing her."

In the long months of Erica's journey, there was always an inspiration.

"You never know what someone's going through," said Janet Haselton.

In the span of ten years, Janet has been diagnosed with cancer three times. Janet is Erica's mom.

"It's just having faith that's gotten me through all this," said Janet. "It's devastating, but just the way that I think and I am, I did not want to sit in that corner and just die. I've got to start living. I've got to beat this."

"If my mom can be strong and be brave, I can too," said Erica.

That inspiration helped get Erica here. She's spent hours each day running in her neighborhood.

"Every milestone, she just absolutely crushed it," said Josh. "We're talking about someone who had to relearn how to walk and talk again. She had to reteach herself how to put one foot in front of the other."

For the past several months, Erica's been training.

"I feel good!" she said, arriving to the St. Jude Rock 'N' Roll Marathon. "I'm nervous, but I've been training for years to do this. It's a long way to run. Twenty-six miles. I think I can."

"What are you going to do when mommy crosses the finish line? Are you going to cheer for her?" Janet asked Hall, sitting at the finish line. Hall nodded.

"See her! There's mommy! She's finishing! See her?!" Josh shouted, watching Erica run across the finish line.

To see Erica finishing this marathon, you'd have no idea the journey she's taken.

That's just it: inspirational people are all around us.

"Erica, oh! Wow! You did it!" Janet said, running over to give her daughter a hug.