Driver arrested after crash in east Charlotte kills well-known chef

CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department says a man is facing felony charges after one person died and several others were hurt in a crash in east Charlotte.

The crash happened just after 7 p.m. Saturday on Central Avenue between Eastcrest Drive and Briar Creek Road.

On Monday, CMPD provided more details about the crash. Investigators say a Nissan Sentra was going at a “high rate of speed” when it crashed into the back of a Hyundai Genesis. That crash caused the Genesis to go off the side of the road and crash into a power pole, and the Nissan hit a curb before spinning around and stopping.

According to the police department, the driver in the Genesis, 29-year-old Kendall Ross, was killed in the crash. A woman in the car was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, police said.

CMPD identified the driver in the Nissan as Alejandro Gomez, 23. Investigators say Gomez was screened and “found to be impaired.” Gomez was arrested and is being charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, felony death by vehicle, and reckless driving.

‘A friend to everyone who met him’

Friends and colleagues say Kendall Ross was an accomplished man who was taken too soon.

“He packed in an insane amount of life in that amount of time. I think the ultimate showcase of that is the people that he inspired,” said Sam Hart, Ross’ coworker turned friend.

“He was the guy that was really driving me to become a chef for the first time, instead of just a cook,” Hart said. “(Ross) inspired me to be a little bit more than what I was doing.”

The words of kindness poured in for the accomplished chef.

“Kendall was the most genuine man I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting,” said Corey Siegel, who worked with Ross. “He was not only my best friend, but a friend to everyone who met him.”

According to a fundraiser for Ross’ wife, Ross was a “well-known, loved, and respected chef in Charlotte and across the country.” The fundraiser says the couple was enjoying their first year as newlyweds.

“Kendall was driven and passionate in the kitchen and with Electrolux, teaching other chefs the creative recipes that could be created with their products,” wrote fellow chef Hannah Riley on the fundraiser.

According to Ross’ LinkedIn page, he was the executive chef who helped start Angeline’s in Uptown Charlotte, and he also worked as a touring chef for award-winning artists like Ed Sheeran and Rod Stewart.

“Kendall was great. Everyone he was around, he embraced, he loved. He wanted to know his friends and the people in his circles just deeply and on a real connection; he wasn’t superficial, whatsoever,” Riley told Channel 9. “He was just so humble and so kind and was ready to do anything for anybody that needed him.”

Siegel reminisced about the impact Ross had.

“[He] was incredibly ambitious, intelligent, and caring. He would always put everyone else before himself and could light up a room with his laugh,” Siegel said. “He inspired me every day and will continue to. The world lost a great one way too soon.”

Ross’ friends plan us they plan to host a fundraiser in April to support the man’s wife during her recovery from the crash. The menu will be inspired by all of his favorite dishes.

Channel 9 will share more details when information on that fundraiser become available.

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