CRAMERTON, N.C. — A North Carolina state trooper came home Tuesday, more than two years after he was paralyzed from the neck down when he was struck by a truck in west Charlotte.
Trooper Chris Wooten, who recently retired from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, returned home to Cramerton Tuesday afternoon. The community was invited to line the streets to welcome Wooten home.
For the past several months, Wooten has been in rehabilitation and recovery in Georgia.
Tuesday, he returned to his Gaston County home, which has been redesigned to meet his current physical needs.
“Chris and the entire Wooten family have been a blessing to so many these past years and we are humbled to help him return home to North Carolina with a fitting reception,” Colonel Freddy L. Johnson Jr., Commander of the State Highway Patrol, said in a released statement. “To see friends, family, and strangers that were moved by his story come together in support is a testament to the spirit the Wooten family have exuded.”
The planned homecoming route was along US 29 at Market Street, Market Street to 8th Avenue and along 8th Avenue in Cramerton.
On July 22, 2019, Wooten was attempting a traffic stop when the driver, 36-year-old Dontay Kilgo, did not comply with his order to stop, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. Wooten, who was riding his law enforcement motorcycle, followed Kilgo through a red light at Edgewood Road and Tuckaseegee Road, which is located near I-85 and Freedom Drive. Wooten was struck by another driver, who had a green light.
In the days after the crash, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said on Facebook that Wooten had "suffered significant spinal cord trauma during the crash."
Kilgo was charged with assault with a deadly weapon on a law enforcement officer, felony flee to elude, reckless driving, failure to heed to blue lights, driving with license revoked, and possession of marijuana. He was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months and remains in the Avery/Mitchell Correctional Institute.
The driver of the pickup truck who struck Wooten hit stayed on the scene. This driver was not hurt and was not charged.