Hit-and-run survivor recovering at home -- calls herself "lucky" - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Hit-and-run survivor recovering at home -- calls herself "lucky"


Nearly two months ago, on October 8th, Joan Nicholson was heading home from a day out with friends. She was driving east on Highway C57, and almost made it to Cedar Falls when state troopers say another driver swerved from another lane and hit her head-on.

It's a moment that changed Nicholson's life forever. One she'd be happy to forget, but it's one she remembers vividly.

"Every bit. I can see the headlights... I can feel the impact. I remember laying in the ditch, couldn't breathe. Ambulance ride to the hospital... oh yeah," Nicholson said.

Nicholson spent the day before the accident doing what she loved -- riding her motorcycle and hiking with friends. One of those friends followed her home that evening and, ultimately, helped save her life.

"My mom's fond of saying, I could be putting flowers and a cross out in the ditch-- just like everybody else does. Instead, she can come visit me at home," Nicholson said.

That's where Nicholson is now -- home -- after four surgeries and weeks in intensive care, but the hard part is just beginning.

"It's like... never ending. Medicines, prescriptions..... it's a lot. It's a lot," she said.

Doctors had to amputate Nicholson's leg, and her broken ribs are still healing. Which means she is riding on a different kind of two wheels and forced to depend on others for help. Nicholson is fortunate to have an abundance of people willing, and wanting, to pitch in.

"I've had a terrific support system. Mom, sister, boyfriend, friends.... people I don't even know," she said.

But there is one person Nicholson is still waiting to hear from.

"For my own closure, I would like to see somebody get charged. Everybody makes mistakes. That's why they're called accidents. But not everybody drives away. That's the hardest part for me. I can't... imagine," she said.

She knows, however, that an arrest won't bring back her leg, or her life as she knew it. All Nicholson can do now is move forward.

"I'm lucky. I'm lucky. I have a lot compromised, I have a lot of things to overcome, but I get the chance to do it. I get to see my grandchildren grow up. So yeah, I'm lucky," she said.

Investigators have not made any arrests, and the case is now in the hands of the Black Hawk County Attorney.

Nicholson's friends and family are planning a benefit Sunday, December 4th at the Electric Park Ballroom from 4:00-10:00 PM. Enjoy live music, an auction, raffle, and food provided by Screaming Eagle American Bar & Grill. There's no charge, they're just asking for a free-will donation.

This benefit is being hosted by BJ's Bar & Billiards, Buzz's Bar, Screaming Eagle, Cedar Falls AMVETS Riders and Rambling Wheels Motorcycle Club & New Hartford Racing. If you have items to donate for the auctions or any questions please contact any of the businesses listed here.

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