EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSTROOPER HIT AND RUN CASE
from Eyewitness News Online
Troopers Say Hit And Run Suspect Was Shoplifting To Support Drug Habit
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Videographer: Matt Durrett
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: Jan. 11, 2013 10:15 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 11, 2013 10:31 PM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
The woman accused of hitting an off duty state trooper with her car has her day in court.
Jennifer Garretson was in court on Friday for her preliminary hearing on a malicious wounding charge.
She's accused of shoplifting from a store at the Saint Albans mall and backing up into Sgt. Aaron Nichols to get away on New Years Eve.
Garretson was on the run for two days before surrendering to police.
A trooper testified during her hearing on Friday that Garretson told him she was shoplifting to support a drug habit. It's a case that will likely come down to intent, as prosecutors try to prove she maliciously intended to cause serious injuries to Nichols.
"She started to walk out of the door, and the alarm started going off like she stole something. Instead of stopping and looking back, she immediately started running right for the parking lot," testified Christina Smith during the hearing. Smith was shopping inside the Goody's store and says she saw the events unfold.
"Going out the door, he yelled 'I'm a state trooper' and he was yelling 'stop!'" she testified.
There's no dispute between the state and the defense that Garretson was shoplifting. After she was identified as a suspect, a trooper she knew from her days as a CPS worker testified she admitted through text message she was doing so to support a drug addiction.
"She specifically noted she was hooked on morphine," said Sgt. S.E. Wolfe.
There's also no dispute she was driving the car that hit Nichols that night, putting him in serious condition. She claimed to the trooper that she didn't stop for him because she was on parole, didn't want to go back to prison, and thought he was a security guard.
"Whoever chased her out of Goody's was getting in her way, and she did whatever she needed to do to make sure she wasn't going back and that is a malicious act," said Kanawha County Assistant Prosecutor Maryclaire Akers.
"There is no indication through any testimony that we've heard today that her intent was malicious. Only that her intent was to escape going to prison," argued her lawyer, Richard Holicker.
Despite the defense's objections, Magistrate Mike Sisson found enough evidence to move the case forward to circuit court, also refusing to lower her $150,000 bond.
Sgt. Nichols continues to recover in the hospital, as the woman who put him there will stay behind bars.
A charge alleging Garretson took drugs into jail with her the day she was arrested was dropped, but prosecutors intend to present that case to the grand jury.
Sgt. Nichols has been moved from the ICU, but still has a long road to recovery.
MORE NEWS FROM EYEWITNESS NEWS
2012 NEWS: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC
Home | Eyewitness News Newsroom | Storm Team Weather | Eyewitness Sports | Schedules
Send email to email@example.com for information or comments concerning WCHS-TV Eyewitness News.
Copyright ©2013, WCHS-TV8. Portions are
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.