GARDEN CITY, Rich County — It takes quite a bit of work to build the house of your dreams.
“Yeah, I’ve been working on it for quite a while,” Jon Nichol, chief deputy for the Rich County Sheriff’s Office, said with a smile.
He’s been constructing it and gathering items piece by piece to make it perfect for him and his wife. But finishing the home has been put on hold as Nichol recovers from a close scrape with an out-of-control semitractor-trailer.
“When I saw that semi, I knew I was dead,” said Nichol. “I knew that was the end of it for me.”
On Feb. 5, Nichol was outside his patrol car directing traffic along state Route 30 near Laketown during a snowstorm when the semi started skidding.
It was too late to get out of the way.
“He came head-on over the top of me, and the whole length of the tractor and trailer passed over me,” Nichol recalled.
He suffered severed tendons, cuts, scrapes and bruises, as well as a broken elbow.
But he’s alive.
“It was definitely a miracle,” Nichol said.
Rich County Sheriff Dale Stacey estimates that semitrailer was going at least 55 miles an hour when it hit Nichol.
“I didn’t realize it was him until I got right to the scene,” Stacey said. “We’re not just working together, we’re friends. We trust each other with our lives, literally.”
Looking at pictures of the wreckage, there is no way someone is supposed to survive a hit like that.
“I’m very lucky. Very lucky,” Nichol said.
While Nichol was in the hospital, Stacey told him the driver of the semi was there, too, and was “having a really hard time with it.” Nichol told the sheriff to go to the driver’s room and if he was able to bring him to the emergency room he’d speak to him.
“I told him not to lose a minute’s sleep over it. That this kind of stuff, you know, nobody did anything intentionally,” Nichol said. “Whether he was driving a little too fast for the conditions or out of control for conditions, didn’t make him a criminal, you know? Just made him another person that made a mistake. Who hasn’t done that? Who hasn’t made a mistake?”1 comment on this story
Now, Nichol is home wishing he could get back to finishing it, and doing the job he truly loves. No matter how dangerous it is.
“It’s a good community. People are good people up here,” he said. “There is nothing I would rather do. This, to me, is my dream job.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family.
Friends are also helping to organize volunteers to help finish his home in a few weeks. Those interested in helping with construction or anything in that manner can email firstname.lastname@example.org.