(01/03/2013)
A former commander of the Wirt County State Police detachment has been identified as the officer run down by a shoplifter in St. Albans Monday night.

Sgt. Aaron D. Nichols was off-duty when he tried to stop Jennifer Garretson, 34, who was fleeing from a store after shoplifting.

Garretson fled the scene, and was arrested four days later. She is on parole for two fraud convictions in 2011, according to the state Division of Corrections.

She was convicted of a felony charge in Putnam County for attempting to obtain drugs by fraud, and convicted of a felony forgery charge in Kanawha County.

Sgt. Nichols remains in ICU, with his condition currently listed as stable. News reports say he is on a ventilator.

Family members say Sgt. Nichols personally knew how dangerous the job can be. They're from Clay County and are friends of the Workman family. When Trooper Eric Workman was clinging to life after being shot in Clay County in August, Sgt. Nichols never left Workman's side.

State media reports that Nichols was serving a domestic order in 2002 when he was attacked by Phillip Kisamore.

In 2009, Sgt. Nichols shot Elizabeth resident Glenna Westfall after she called 911 for assistance, the officer saying Westfall attacked him with a sword.

The officer shot Westfall twice in the upper body, but after an extensive stay in the hospital, she recovered.

Westfall was a client of Westbrook Mental Health.

Sgt. Nichols was placed on leave and following an internal review, State Police saying he acted appropriately.


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