An officer saw her staggering down the road. The arrest didn’t come easily.

Jessica Nichols
Jessica Nichols

An officer out on patrol in Vero Beach early Thursday had to deal with a bit of an unusual situation.

According to a police report from the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, at around 2 a.m., the deputy observed a female staggering south on U.S. 1. At one point, he wrote, he observed the woman pull her shorts down, squat for a time, pull the shorts back up, then start walking again. She continued south on the highway’s shoulder, “swaying,” and nearly falling several times as she traveled on foot.

The officer approached the woman, later identified as Jessica Nichols, by a Nissan car dealership. When he came close enough, he smelled an alcoholic beverage coming from her body. She walked right past him, refusing to stop, despite his commands to do so, he wrote.

“Due to Nichols’ intoxicated state, my previous observations of her odd behavior, and her refusing to dispel for her safety and other motorists,‘ ” he wrote, he attempted to place her in protective custody. Nichols eventually complied and admitted to having a “little bit to drink,” and said she had no recollection of how she arrived at her current destination.

While the deputy was momentarily distracted talking to a fellow officer who had arrived for backup, Nichols took her chance to escape. The report says she shot up from where she was sitting, said “F--- this,” and began to run east.

That’s when things turn an odd turn again: The suspect removed her shorts as she ran through the car dealership parking lot and toward the woods. When she reached the wood line, the reports says, Nichols dropped to the ground and began to crawl on her stomach through a drainage ditch filled with water, muck and mud.

The deputy said he gave verbal commands at the suspect to stop, but she kept running through the sludge, eventually falling when she tried to scale a chain-link fence.

The deputy was able to grab hold of the woman, but lost his flashlight in the process. Nichols then began wrapping her arms around his head pulling her toward her. To get her to “disengage,” he wrote that, with a closed fist, he “delivered closed fist strikes to her torso and legs.” He then attempted to put mechanical restraints on her during the struggle, in which Nichols was able to kick the officer in the face.

The woman was eventually subdued in restraints, and escorted out of the woods into the patrol car, where she began to “scream and kick.” That’s when she was subdued in a Hobble leg restraint connected between her ankles.

Once in jail, the 27-year-old still would not be still. She had to be restrained in a chair while being booked, writes the report.

She was charged with disorderly intoxication and released after posting $500 bail.