(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Officer Nick Hamaker was on duty on July 26, 2022 investigating a DUI crash when his police cruiser was hit by driver Cole Sherod, who was coming in the opposite direction.
“I was traveling west on Dublin, east of Union Boulevard, and another driver coming the opposite direction crossed over the centerline and struck my vehicle head-on,” Hamaker said.
Hamaker recalled the moment before the crash, having little time to react.
“I did try to get my car to move to the left, away from the other car as it crossed the line,” Hamaker said. “I wasn’t able to avoid it.”
When Hamaker tried exiting his vehicle, he could not stand up and needed medical attention.
“So after the impact, I tried to get out of my car and I didn’t stand up,” Hamaker said. “I realized that my foot was dislocated off of my leg. At that point, some bystanders tried to help me and get me away from my car. I called for help and then a couple of ambulances showed up and some backup officers.”
Sherod was driving under the influence of methamphetamine, and he was also a repeat offender.
“So I think anger probably comes over everyone’s mind initially, but clearly anger doesn’t get you anywhere,” Hamaker said. “You know, frustration, I would say, has been the biggest thing that we’ve been dealing with is just, you know, why was this person on the road? We later found out that he was on parole with the state for another felony crime and some issues there. So I guess there’s frustration of just why this person was out on the road, intoxicated in the first place.”
Colorado Springs Police Protective Association (CSPPA) provides benefits for police officers injured in the line of duty. CSPPA Executive Director, Sherryl Dillon, shared why they are supporting Nick.
“This is the first time that it’s come to our attention where somebody was injured and then the defendant is a repeat,” Dillon said. “And so we felt this is bigger even than just our advocacy for our membership. This is advocating as well for the community because next time you don’t want it to be someone you love.”
The court hearing for Sherod is set for February 1. Hamaker explained what his opinion on the sentencing of Sherod.
“So making sure that he serves time is kind of negotiating with the District Attorney’s Office, the defense attorneys, the judge, the court, the whole, the whole system,” Hamaker said. “They did offer in a plea, Community Corrections, if he was able to qualify for that or incarceration in the State Department of Corrections. Clearly with a repeat offender, we want to see that person serve in the Department of Corrections, rather than community corrections, which is a little bit lighter of a sentence and allows him a little bit more freedom.”
Hamaker has been on the road to recovery and said he still has fractures in his foot.
“It’s been, I think we’re six months almost to the day and it, you know it’s been six months we haven’t had a surgery yet and there’s still fractures in my foot,” Hamaker said. “We’re still having other issues with severe whiplash in my neck. There’s a nerve issue in one of my arms from an airbag deploying, as well as potentially even a traumatic brain injury and we’re just starting to learn some of these injuries, even six months after the crash.”
Because of his injuries, Hamaker is questioning if he will ever get to come back to work or if he will need to medically retire.
There is a GoFundMe page to support Hamaker and CSPPA also shared how you can support Hamaker on their website.
“We have a website, CSPPA.org and if they just go to the website, click on the Support Law Enforcement tab and it’ll drop down and there’ll be a whole page that they can fill out with their information of what they’d like to donate, how much, how and then a designation box so they can just pop Nick’s name in there and 100 percent of what we receive goes to Nick,” Dillon said.
When asked what he missed the most about work, Hamaker shared it was his fellow officers.
“You know, number one, I miss the guys that we work with,” Hamaker said. “It’s a brotherhood, just like the military. I’m a veteran, too, so it’s the same thing with the military. It’s the brotherhood. We protect each other and keep each other safe.”
Hamaker shared that this could have happened to anyone and to remember the dangers of driving under the influence.
“And so it can affect anyone, you know, everybody drives, everyone’s on our streets,” Hamaker said. “Just because I’m a police officer doesn’t make me immune to something. You know, along these lines, what I would say to the community is put down your phone, pay attention, you know, be a defensive driver, be aware, know what’s around you.”