Hit-and-run driver connected to officer's death reportedly flees again

June 14, 2011 3:56:53 PM PDT
The woman suspected in the hit-and-run crash that led to the death of Houston Police Officer Kevin Will may not have just fled the scene, she may have also fled the country. Officer Will was investigating the scene of a hit-and-run crash when he was hit and killed by a suspected drunk driver. Now the family of the woman suspected in that first crash say she has gone to Mexico.

It is a difficult concept for a man who actually survived the hit-and-run accident. He did not die when an SUV hit his motorcycle, but he did see the subsequent crash that killed a Houston police officer. Now he wants the suspect who hit him and fled to be brought to justice.

Tracey Alexander's body still shows the trauma of May 29. That morning, he and his friend Luis Almanderez were riding their motorcycles along the North Loop near Yale when they were struck by a car allegedly driven by Francisca Cortez.

"They're still looking for her. They haven't found her yet. I hope they do," Alexander told us.

Cortez is charged with two felonies of failure to stop and render aid. Eyewitnesses said a white 2001 Chevy Suburban, later identified as Cortez's vehicle, slammed into two motorcycles then drove off. Officer Will was investigating the hit-and-run accident when he was later fatally struck by another motorist.

According to court documents, the two motorcyclists were hit by Cortez's Suburban, causing them to fall off the bikes. A witness said Cortez dragged the motorcycles until she was not able to drive anymore.

"She drove a short distance away and could not go any further because one of the motorcycles was caught under it. She actually got out of her vehicle and tried to move the motorcycle out of the way before she again took off," said Harris Co. Asst. District Attorney Donna Hawkins.

Police say the witness later picked Cortez out of a photo lineup.

The problem now is that Cortez is nowhere to be found. We went to the apartment where she lived and tried to talk to her brother.

"No, she's in Mexico," her brother told us.

He didn't want to talk to us, but court documents state HPD investigators made contact with him and Cortez's sister who said they were worried when Cortez did not come home in the early morning hours on the night of the accident. The brother said Cortez came home later that same day and told him that she was in an accident involving a motorcycle. The brother told investigators that Cortez first called her mother in Mexico, then told him she was leaving for Mexico, gathered her belongings and her children and left. The brother said he has spoken to Cortez multiple times since and verified she is in Mexico.

If that's true, investigators say they'll do everything they can to bring Cortez back into the country. Tracey Alexander says he wants to see justice.

"It doesn't matter if they're black, white, Spanish, whatever -- whoever did it needs to suffer the consequences of it," Alexander said.

The other motorcyclist who was injured, Luis Almanderez, is still in the hospital in fair condition, suffering from head and internal injuries.

Even though the family of Cortez says she is in Mexico, police sources say they are looking everywhere for her, not convinced they have all the information as to her whereabouts.

Cortez also allegedly tried to mislead investigators. According to court documents, she reported her Suburban stolen on May 29. Cortez told authorities she got home from work, went to bed and awoke to find her vehicle missing. The Suburban was recovered later that evening and had damage consistent with being in a wreck.

Cortez's bond is set at $500,000 per charge.

Meanwhile, the man charged with driving drunk and killing Officer Will is being held without bond. Johoan Rodriguez is an alleged illegal immigrant from Mexico who has been deported twice before. Court records show his blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit and he had cocaine in his pocket. Rodriguez faces felony charges and a possible life sentence.


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