IMPD officer who was paralyzed in crash involving drunk driver retires

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – An IMPD officer that was paralyzed in a crash involving a drunk driver retired from the force Thursday.

Officer Santos Cortez was appointed to the department in 2007 and was later assigned to Southwest District, where officials say he served honorably and was noted as an exemplary officer with keen police instincts.

In 2012, Officer Cortez was paralyzed from the chest down while trying to track down a drunk driver who was causing havoc along West Washington Street. The inebriated motorist found Cortez first, broadsiding the five-year veteran’s patrol car, pushing the vehicle into the path of an oncoming pickup truck carrying a man and a child.

The force of the crash destroyed Cortez’s seat belt. He was ejected through the passenger side window of the squad car and onto the pavement.

A year later, the intoxicated driver walked out of court and into prison to serve a three-year sentence.

Since the devastating event, Cortez has maintained a positive attitude and has worked with legislators to draft a bill that aims to improve pensions for injured officers.

Along with his lobbying work, Cortez also speaks to the community about the dangers of drunk driving.