Who was Mia Goodwin, the CMPD officer who died in I-85 crash?

CHARLOTTE — A Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer was killed in a crash involving a tractor-trailer early Wednesday in north Charlotte, according to CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings.

The collision, which involved two tractor-trailers and four Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department vehicles, happened around 3:40 a.m. in the southbound lanes of Interstate 85 near W.T. Harris Boulevard.

Officer Mia Goodwin, 33, was part of the University City Division of CMPD, according to Jennings.

Goodwin was a mother and was married to Charlotte firefighter Brenton Goodwin, Chief Jennings said in a press conference Wednesday morning.

According to Jennings, Goodwin was hired in October 2015. Jennings said she had three kids; a 3-year-old, a 1-year-old, and a 4-month-old. She was a third shift officer and had just returned from maternity leave days prior to the crash, Jennings said.

Jennings said that at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, officers and Highway Patrol troopers were called to a crash involving a tractor-trailer. Goodwin and her colleagues were relieving the officers on that shift five hours later when they were hit by a tractor-trailer and the cab of a semi-truck that had collided.

“At this time, we’re asking for your prayers, not just for the Goodwin family, but for all the CMPD family and our great city,” Jennings said.

Jennings spoke fondly of Goodwin. He said he didn’t know her personally but talked to many people who did.

“She was an inspiring young woman who wanted to do more,” Jennings said. “She was someone who felt like she had a lot to offer in this profession, resilient. She loved the people around her, the people that she worked with.”

Jennings also named the three other officers involved in the crash: Officers Jackson Buffington, Sean Husk, and Shannon Foster. They were released from the hospital Wednesday morning, he said.

“Lift us up in prayer. Pray for the family, pray for the officers that were injured,” Jennings said.

Jennings said Goodwin’s position as a third shift officer could not have been an easy one to juggle.

“I think I can speak for officer Goodwin and any parent who’s in this profession to have to juggle,” Jennings said. “She’s a third shift officer. Imagine trying to be a mother to three kids. A husband, who is a firefighter whose jobs and ours are just as demanding, and to have to be the best mom that she can and the best husband that he can. This profession is one that’s not for everyone. But I do know that she knew it was for her. And I know that she wanted to continue and make this a career and not just a job. So I have to give praise to any officers, any of our people, any employee that endures the challenges that we have to endure every single day. We put on this uniform, and we know that there’s no guarantees that we’re coming home to our families, and that is the most difficult part.”

At the University Division CMPD station, flags were at half-staff Wednesday. Channel 9 saw groups of officers gathered together, talking and grieving, choosing to be with each other rather than apart.

Former CMPD assistant chief: Women serving the community face unique challenges

Female officers in blue face juggle several roles, including work-life balance and the deep responsibility of navigating a male-dominated profession.

It’s something retired officer and former CMPD assistant chief Vicki Foster understands all too well.

“I think sometimes we forget that females in the police department need a little extra support,” Foster said.

Foster worked with CMPD for 28 years. She said she didn’t know fallen officer Mia Goodwin personally, but they had met because she was a fellow female officer.

Foster said Goodwin’s passing has been particularly difficult for the community.

“I think it’s because we don’t have a lot of females killed in the line of duty, and because we are the minority in the police department,” Foster said. “It just has a different feeling, and I think that’s what is making it even harder. That it doesn’t happen often. It’s one of those situations where you just can’t believe that it is that has occurred. For her, being so young, just starting her career and being a mother.”

During her tenure at CMPD, Foster helped oversee The Woman’s Network, a committee created to mentor police officers who are women. She said people don’t realize how hard it is to be a woman in the police force while also trying to balance raising a family.

“I know when I was there, we would have meetings to talk about how to keep people uplifted and how to help them in their career. We talked to them about how to be promoted, so they themselves can become leaders in the department,” Foster said.

Foster went on to say that she expects CMPD will look into the possibility of safety changes and how they can better respond to issues on the interstate.

She said she hopes there will be more support for female officers moving forward.

(WATCH: I-85 closed after crash involving 2 CMPD cruisers, tractor-trailer)

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