City officials give new vehicle to IMPD officer paralyzed by drunk driver

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 25, 2014)—City officials, including Public Safety Director Troy Riggs and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Rick Hite, presented a new vehicle to an officer who was paralyzed after pursuing a drunk driver in 2012.

Friday, Officer Santos Cortez was given the keys to his new, customized Ford Flex on behalf of the city.

FOX59 followed the officer on his road to recovery after the June 2012 crash.  Cortez suffered a serious neck injury after being thrown from his patrol car.

The suspect, Jerrel Watkins, reportedly had a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit when he smashed into Cortez. Watkins was sentenced to three years in prison.

After 14 months of surgery, recovery and rehabilitation, the officer returned to work last August. He told FOX59 his ultimate goal is to get back to patrolling the streets.

Below are tweets from IMPD about today’s presentation:


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