State Police Photo
Jennifer Elaine Garretson sought by State Police in hit and run which left trooper injured

UPDATE:  State Police tell MetroNews Jennifer Garretson is in custody.   She turned herself in early this afternoon.

Previous: A State Police trooper is said to be in stable but guarded condition at Charleston Area Medical Center’s General Hospital more than two days after a fleeing shoplifting suspect hit him with her car.

The injured trooper is identified as Sgt. Aaron Nichols who has 15 years of law enforcement experience.

He was off duty and out of uniform on Monday when he chased and tried to stop a woman who was suspected of shoplifting from Goody’s in St. Albans.

State Police Spokesperson Sgt. Michael Baylous says Sgt. Nichols is showing signs of progress after being hit by and, possibly, thrown from the woman’s vehicle.  Sgt. Nichols sustained a serious head injury.

On Tuesday, “He was finally opening his eyes and recognizing people from time to time.  He’s still heavily sedated.  They’re watching it very closely,” Sgt. Baylous said.

As of Wednesday morning, State Police and St. Albans Police were still looking for the suspect.  Sgt. Baylous said Jennifer Elaine Garretson, 35, from St. Albans should turn herself in to authorities.

“She’s going to wear out.  She’s going to tire out.  She’s going to run out of friends, resources, money and I guarantee you that our troopers will not,” Sgt. said on Wednesday’s MetroNews Talkline.

“They will stay focused at the task on hand and I’m confident that, eventually, we’re going to find her.”

Garretson’s vehicle has been recovered.  She is on parole for two fraud convictions from 2011 in Kanawha County and Putnam County.


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  • cindy

    This is why the shoplifting laws need changed. It's a danger to attempt to approach or chase shoplifters outside the store--which is where they have to be to be considered shoplifting. I've never understood this law. Anyone who sticks things in their pockets or on their persons inside the store should be considered shoplifting.

  • Rachel

    Well, this is a very unfortunate thing. The highway patrolman was acting in good faith, I would hope, that he could get this woman for shoplifting, but his big mistake was letting her get as far as her car! He should have called for back-up, and she would have been cuffed right there at the store, and taken into custody. It's bad enough that some women are crazed when shopping, so imagine how crazy she must have been shoplifting! I hope and pray that the officer recovers completely and that she will be apprehended.