Father Pleads For Answers After Daughter Killed On Highway

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The father of a woman run over by several vehicles spoke out about his loss and the questions he has about what happened to her.

Jessica Nichols,22, died on Interstate 71 in North Columbus last Wednesday after multiple vehicles struck her on the roadway.

Investigators and her family want to know how she got there.

Columbus Police say evidence shows Jessica somehow exited a vehicle as it speed north on the interstate.

They say she was alive when she hit the pavement.

One of the critical questions: did she jump from that vehicle, or was she pushed?

Mike Nichols smiled remembering the special times with his daughter, Jessica.

"I'll always remember her as my little tomboy. My little ornery one. We had a lot of good times on the river. Camping, fishing," Nichols said.

In recent years, smiles had become scarce. Nichols says his little girl became a young woman bedeviled by addiction.

"She was very sad inside," Nichols says.  "You could tell it was someplace she didn't want to be, but just couldn't get away from."

He says heroin took her to depths he never imagined for her, including prostitution.

"It killed me slowly inside, it really did. It broke my heart."

Last Wednesday morning, he learned true heartbreak, when he was woken by a phone call with the worst news possible. Jessica was dead, repeatedly run over on the interstate.

"I just hope that it was quick, that she didn't suffer," he says.

Eight days later his loss is just becoming real.

"Not being able to see my daughter again, that's the toughest part. Never being able to give her that last hug, you know what I mean? Not being able to say goodbye."

He is devastated by what he knows and tormented by what he doesn't.

"How did she end up on the highway? Who was she with when she ended up on the highway?" he asks.
He knows some will judge his daughter and diminish her death.

"She might not have been perfect, but she's still- that's still my daughter. That's still my grandchildren's mother."

He hopes someone will have the humanity to come forward.

"...and let me know what happened to my daughter. Nobody deserves what happened to Jess."

Nichols says he believes Jessica was the victim of foul play.

Investigators aren't ready to go that far, but say someone else was inside that vehicle with her and they want to know who that is.

Anyone with information is asked to call Columbus Police at 614-645-4767.

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