CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia State Trooper Sgt. Aaron Nichols is hoping to be back to work full duty in the coming months.
On New Year’s Eve, Nichols was seriously injured when he was hit by the vehicle driven by Jennifer Garretson, who was attempting to flee after shoplifting from the Goody’s in St. Albans.
Nichols was off-duty at the time, but when he saw the crime taking place, he said he just reacted.
“I went after her and yelled, identified myself as State Police. She got into her car, I went to the passenger side, knocked on the window and identified myself again,” he said. “Went to go around her car and she shot the car backwards into me. I jumped and ended up on the back of her car.”
Garretson then sped off with Nichols still on the back. He was eventually thrown off the vehicle and suffered serious injuries.
Nichols would spend the next 22 days in the hospital recovering followed by three or four months of physical therapy and occupational therapy. Almost a year later, he is slowly getting back to work.
“I am limited duty with hope of being released to full duty around December,” Nichols said.
Despite almost losing his life in the incident, he said he has been looking forward to getting back to work for a long time.
Garretson ended up turning herself into police a couple days after the incident took place in January. She pleaded guilty to malicious wounding in the case on Monday. She faces two to ten years in prison when sentenced December 9.
Nichols said looking back at the incident, he would not have done anything differently. He just hopes citizens realize that they play a big role in fighting crime as well.
“I think it’s important for all of us to try to abide by the law and help law enforcement when that stuff happens and not be afraid to take action when needed,” said Nichols.