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Army identifies Fort Liberty paratrooper killed while riding electric bike

We mourn the loss of Army Capt. John Nicholson.
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Soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team jump from an Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft at Fort Liberty, N.C. in 2013.Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod.

The 82nd Airborne Division has identified a paratrooper who died last week after being struck by a minivan while he was riding an electric bike as Army Capt. John Nicholson.

Nicholson was a signal officer assigned to  1st Battalion, 508 Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division at the time of his death, according to a statement from the division. He is survived by his mother and father.

He joined the Army in 2016 and arrived at Fort Liberty in 2021. His military awards include the Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Army Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Armed Forces Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, the Army Parachutist Badge, and the Air Assault Badge.

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“The incident is currently under investigation by the Fayetteville Police Department,” the division said in a statement. “Our thoughts and condolences are with the deceased paratrooper’s family, friends, and his unit as they mourn the loss of their loved one.”

An Army line of duty investigation will also look into the circumstances of the crash, an Army official told Task & Purpose on Tuesday. That investigation could take 30 days or more to complete.

Nicholson, 30, had been traveling from Fort Liberty on Jan. 10 when a minivan rear-ended him while he was riding the electric bike in the left lane of Reilly Road, according to the Fayetteville Police Department, which responded to the incident at 7:17 p.m. that day.

Nicholson died the following day at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center from the injuries he sustained in the crash, police said.

Police have identified the minivan driver as Robert Damron, 61, who has been charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle, driving on a revoked license, and failure to reduce speed, a Fayetteville Police Department news release says. 

Damron turned himself in at the Cumberland County Detention Center and he is currency free on $50,000 unsecured bond, police said.

UPDATE: 01/16/2023; this story was updated with information about Capt. John Nicholson’s service record.

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