Two officers badly injured in crash with wrong-way driver on Central Avenue, CMPD says

by Ryan

Two Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers were badly hurt in a head-on crash with an impaired driver who was going the wrong way on Central Avenue, according to CMPD.

The officers were identified as C. Henderson and X. Thao, and they were taken to a hospital “with serious injuries,” police said in a release.

The other driver was identified as Robert Chris Cortez, 29, and he was hospitalized with minor injuries suffered in the crash, officials said.

It happened at 3 a.m. Wednesday in the 5200 block of Central Avenue, which is near the intersection of North Sharon Amity Road.

Investigators say the two officers were on duty at the time and traveling westbound “in a marked CMPD police SUV,” officials said.

“Cortez, while traveling outbound in the inbound lanes, struck the CMPD patrol SUV head-on,” CMPD said. “Once at the hospital, it was determined that Cortez was driving under the influence and was impaired.”

He has since been released from the hospital and 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,” police said.

Mecklenburg County jail records show Cortez lives in Charlotte.

The incident remains under investigation and tips are being sought. Anyone with information can call CMPD at 704-432-2169, extension 3. Anonymous tips can be offered by contacting Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or

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