Woman commends officer for potentially life-saving action

WHITESVILLE — PJ Sherman was coming into town on Christmas Eve in Whitesville when motion at the side of the road caught his eye.

A woman was walking up the road carrying a suitcase. One of her legs was in a medical boot. She had little more than a light jacket protecting her from the frigid weather.

Sherman had just ended a shift at the Wellsville Police Department. He also serves the Town of Independence Police Department, and the police instincts to help those in need quickly kicked in.

“It didn’t look right to see a lady dragging a suitcase, 20 below zero with nothing on,” Sherman recalled. “I turned and came back to her and talked to her. She pointed, and I said it’s six miles to Genesee and you’re not walking that way. She pointed the other way to Wellsville and I said it’s 13 miles that way and you’re not going that way. I noticed she had a sneaker on one foot and nothing on the other foot, a fall coat, jeans, and that was pretty much it.”

The woman, Robin Scroggins of Olean, had left the home of a family member following a domestic dispute.

“I’m walking down the road with my suitcase. I had one sneaker on and the other was in a medical boot,” she said. “I stopped at a man’s house and he let me use his phone to call my friend JJ. (Officer Sherman) could’ve passed me.”

Sherman picked up Scroggins and got her out of the cold. The initial plan was for him to drive her to meet her friend JJ, but that changed as Scroggins began to have issues with her foot due to exposure to the elements. He decided to take her to Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville, where Scroggins was treated and released.

Scroggins was so impressed by Sherman’s selfless action that she insisted on thanking him again at the next Independence town board meeting. On Thursday, Scroggins and JJ made the trip to Whitesville on another cold, snowy night. Scroggins presented Sherman with a plaque thanking him for his kindness. It reads: “Officer in Charge PJ Sherman 1250, Independence Police, Whitesville, NY. We thank you for your courtesy Dec. 24, 2018.”

They also brought a cake from a bakery adorned with a similar message, including the word “Hero.” Scroggins said Sherman was her Christmas miracle in her time of need.

“He went above and beyond. I would have froze that night if he didn’t come by at the right time,” Scroggins said. “He was very concerned, he took me to Jones Memorial because of my foot, and he stayed with me the whole time. He did not leave until I was discharged. I just want to shake your hand and tell you that you’re my miracle.”