Driver sentenced in June 2012 crash that injured IMPD officer

Jerrel Watkins
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The man accused of intentionally striking an Indianapolis Metro Police officer's vehicle was sentenced Wednesday in connection with the June 2012 crash.

Jerrel Watkins, 27, was sentenced to three years behind bars and 180 days of community service after being convicted on two counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated and one count of failure to stop after an accident.

IMPD Officer Santos Cortez is still recovering from serious injuries he sustained in the crash.

"We are happy the justice system has provided some amount of closures to this horrific tragedy. We look forward to the day when Officer Cortez can return to full duty status with his fellow officers," said IMPD Chief Rick Hite.

Police say Officer Cortez's police car was intentionally struck by a vehicle driven by Watkins, who was attempting to flee from police. He was eventually captured and arrested. Cortez was responding to the scene of a hit and run near Washington Street and Lynhurst when Watkins ran a stop sign and drove into the path of the officer's car. Officer Cortez's car was forced into oncoming traffic, and hit a pickup truck.