Initial court date set for I-565 wrong-way driver


Carai Cortez (Photo: Huntsville Police Department)

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The man Huntsville Police say was involved in a wrong-way crash on I-565 and that left three people dead now has a court date.

A felony exam hearing is set Caria Cortez for June 9.  He’s still in the Madison County Metro Jail under a $180,000 bond.

Three people were killed, including a child, on Interstate 565 May 20th. The wreck closed down the interstate for several hours.

Hayden Martella, Alexa Hannig, & Benjamin Johnson (Photo: family members)
Hayden Martella, Alexa Hannig, & Benjamin Johnson (Photo: family members)

21-year-old Benjamin Johnson, 22-year-old Alexa Hannig, and her 3-year-old son Hayden Martella were killed after being struck head-on by Cortez driving the wrong way.

22-year-old Cortez has been charged with three counts of reckless murder, along with DUI and driving on the wrong side of the highway.

Officers say Cortez was traveling west in the eastbound lanes when the collision happened. Cortez was taken to the hospital in serious condition, but he was released from the hospital that day and taken to jail.

I-565 wreck

I-565 wreck

The wreck happened around 1:30 Thursday morning on I-565 between Bob Wallace Avenue and Research Park Boulevard. I-565 didn’t reopen until after 6:00 a.m.

Moments before the wreck, 911 received a call about a driver going the wrong way down 1-565 East.

Seconds later, reports came in about a head-on collision.

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