Charlotte, N.C. – (Wednesday, June 16, 2021) – Detectives with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's Major Crash Investigation Unit are investigating a motor vehicle collision involving a marked CMPD patrol vehicle in the 5200 block of Central Avenue in the Eastway Division.
On June 16, 2021, shortly after 3:00 a.m., Eastway Division officers responded to a crash in the 5200 block of Central Avenue involving a CMPD marked patrol vehicle and a Ford Focus. The two vehicles collided head-on in the inbound lanes of Central Avenue.
The CMPD's Major Crash Investigation Unit, DWI Task Force, Motorcycle Unit, and Crime Scene responded to conduct the investigation and collect physical evidence. The preliminary investigation indicated that the Ford Focus driven by Robert Chris Cortez, DOB: 08/30/1991, was traveling outbound on Central Avenue in the inbound lanes. Officers C. Henderson and X. Thao were working on duty in the Eastway Division, riding two-man in a marked CMPD police SUV, traveling inbound on Central Avenue. Cortez, while traveling outbound in the inbound lanes, struck the CMPD patrol SUV head-on.
Both officers were transported to Atrium Health Main with serious injuries. Cortez was also transported by Medic with minor injuries. Once at the hospital, it was determined that Cortez was driving under the influence and was impaired. Upon his release from the hospital, Cortez was interviewed by detectives and then transferred to the custody of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff. Cortez has been charged with Driving While Impaired, Driving Left of Center, Driving while License Revoked for an Impaired Driving Offense, and two counts of Felony Serious Injury by Motor Vehicle.
The investigation into this collision is active and ongoing. As additional information develops, it will be released by CMPD's Public Affairs Office. Anyone who witnessed or has information about the crash should contact Detective Oberer at 704-432-2169, extension 3. The public can also leave information anonymously by contacting Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or http://charlottecrimestoppers.com/. The report number for this case is 20210616-0301-03.