ATLANTA, Ga. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — A North Carolina state trooper is preparing to come home Tuesday to Cramerton.
Trooper Christopher Wooten was paralyzed in a motorcycle crash years ago while chasing a fleeing suspect in Charlotte. Wooten’s homecoming is almost two and a half years in the making.
He was treated at the Shepherd Center, which specializes in spinal cord injuries in Atlanta. He says his time in Atlanta was memorable, but he’s ready to come back home.
“Like Christmas 10 times over, we’re really excited,” said now-retired Trooper Christopher Wooten.
“We feel like little kids waiting for Christmas Day to get here,” said Sharon Wooten, Christopher’s wife.
Wooten and his wife, Sharon, are coming home to Cramerton from a place they never thought they’d end up.
“It’s tough. It’s tough. I miss running, walking, doing things I used to do,” said Wooten.
He always dreamed of being a motorcycle officer with the North Carolina Highway Patrol.
“He called me up and he said, ‘I can’t believe they’re paying me to ride a motorcycle,'” said Sharon Wooten.
The job brought Wooten back home to Gaston County years ago. His first assignment was to escort Mick Jagger to a Rolling Stones concert. Pictures taken that day would later give him and Sharon a laugh when they needed it most, while Chris was in the hospital.
“Our nurse looked at the picture, and she’s like, ‘Why do you have a picture with a bunch of troopers standing with this guy in handcuffs?’ I said, ‘What?’ And I’m like ‘That’s Mick Jagger,’ and she’s like, ‘Who’s that?’”
The laughter keeps them going. They’re glad they didn’t put off any plans because life took a sudden, hard turn in July 2019.
Chris was chasing a fleeing suspect on his motorcycle. The suspect blew through a red light at the intersection of Tuckaseegee Road and Queen City Drive.
Wooten was hit by a pick-up truck, knocked off his motorcycle and paralyzed from the neck down.
“It’s funny how you take a lot of that for granted as well, when you’re like that you don’t think about how lucky you are just to do a simple walk around town. You don’t appreciate it like maybe you should,” said Wooten.
Over the years, Wooten has been encouraged.
“Always keep trying. One day at a time’s what it takes,” said John Riggins, an NFL hall of Famer in a video message to Wooten.
“We’ve gotten lucky and gotten to experience how people feel about us,” said Wooten.
The Wootens are taking nothing for granted and now coming home to the ones they love. Wooten says he’s ready to get home for his favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, for his three favorite parts—family, food and football.