Officer speaks to FOX59 after man who left him paralyzed is charged with drunk driving again

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By: Tanae Howard

In a hospital bed with a feeling of helplessness Officer Santos Cortez is carrying his brothers and sisters in his heart as they prepare to say goodbye to fallen IMPD officer Perry Renn.

"I had a lot of emotion.  I was sitting in Methodist hospital at that moment and I had a clear view of Eskanazi. And I just sit here and go it's not fair why am I stuck here? I need to be out there with my brothers and sisters helping them," said Officer Cortez.

Officer Cortez wounds are two years old following a run in with a drunk driver that left him paralyzed from the waist down. But with the events over the past week everything feels so fresh. The man convicted in the case that put Officer Cortez in a hospital bed has been charged with Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated for a second time.

Jerrel L. Watkins, 29, was arrested last week after police found him trying to start his car and acting intoxicated in a gas station parking lot at 5039 W. Indiana 38, according to the Herald Bulletin.

According to the probable cause affidavit involving Friday’s local incident, a concerned Ricker’s attendant called police after seeing Watkins walk into the store and acting strangely.

An employee told police that Watkins had been in the store earlier in the evening, purchased several alcoholic drinks, then returned later and appeared drunk.

The arresting officer reported Watkins had slurred speech, slow reaction time and bloodshot eyes.

Watkins reportedly failed two field sobriety tests and passed a third.

"It frustrated me more than angered me but in the back of my mind i knew it was gonna happen again," said Officer Cortez.

Both his case and the shooting death of Officer Perry Renn makes Officer Cortez want to see more done to protect our men and women in uniform.

"At some point our state has to get tougher on a lot of these laws with drinking and driving and using a firearm in the commission of a crime and enhancing sentences. Its to the point its ridiculous," said Officer Cortez.

And looking ahead he says he'll never stop praying for the man that harmed him and Major Davis Jr. who is charged with killing Officer Renn.

"I pray for him, Mr. Davis. All of them. They figure out what they did wrong in this life and if they have the opportunity to get to the next life do it right."


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