Charlotte, NC

Queen City Roundup 12/23: Crash kills CMPD officer, Christmas COVID-19 testing, Kwanzaa in Charlotte

Collin Cunningham

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Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Officer Mia Goodwin died when she was hit by a car on Interstate 85 on Wednesday morning.(Steven Weiss/Twitter)

By Collin Cunningham

Hey there, Charlotteans. It is Thursday, Dec. 23, and tomorrow is Christmas Eve, so there won't be a Roundup. But today's collection of headlines is a bit longer to help carry you through the weekend, which includes the first day of Kwanzaa. We'll tell you how to celebrate the African-American cultural event and where to learn more about its history with local events over the next week.

Before that, we have the story of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Mia Goodwin, who died in a Wednesday morning crash on Interstate 85 that injured three other CMPD officers. As COVID-19 cases are again on the rise, with North Carolina officials warning of up to 10,000 cases a day due to the omicron variant, we'll tell you where you can and can't get tested for the coronavirus before Christmas. The state's health department also reported 5,000 new cases.

Today's Roundup also includes the weather for the next seven days and a weekend reading list to keep you occupied until Monday's edition. Happy holidays to any readers celebrating Christmas or Kwanzaa this weekend.

1. CMPD officer killed, 3 others injured in Wednesday morning crash on I-85

What happened: Local law enforcement is mourning the death of 33-year-old Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Officer Mia Goodwin, who died when two trucks crashed into her and three other CMPD officers on Interstate 85 around 3:40 a.m. on Wednesday. Officers Jackson Buffington, Sean Husk, and Shannon Foster had joined Goodwin in closing down a southbound lane of the interstate. They sustained minor injuries and were discharged from a hospital later that morning. The officers had closed the lane as NCDOT crews cleaned a sticky substance that had spilled from a grain truck the night before.

The CMPD arrested and charged 50-year-old Daniel Lee Morgan, the High Point, North Carolina man who was driving the 18-wheeler that crashed into Goodwin and the other officers, on Thursday. He faces counts of involuntary manslaughter, failure to reduce speed and a felony failure to move over for emergency vehicles.

Why it matters: Goodwin had recently returned to work from maternity leave and leaves behind a 3-year-old and 1-year-old child as well as her latest, a 4-month-old baby, as well as her husband Brenton, a firefighter in Charlotte. Goodwin had been with the department since 2015. Following her death, law enforcement agencies ranging from Union County, North Carolina to the New York Police Department offered condolences to Goodwin's family and peers.

2. StarMed COVID-19 testing site open on Christmas, Charlotte-Meck Library runs out of tests

What happened: Anyone looking to get a last-minute COVID-19 test on Christmas will be able to stop by StarMed Healthcare's Family & Urgent Care Facility at 4001 Tuckaseegee Rd. in west Charlotte between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Staff at the drive-thru clinic will also administer monoclonal antibody therapy, a type of treatment for COVID-positive patients experiencing severe symptoms. Both are free, regardless of insurance.

Charlotteans will no longer be able to find take-home tests at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library locations due to supply chain issues, Mecklenburg County announced Wednesday. The county also maintains a list of health care providers offering coronavirus testing, including Novant Health and Atrium Health. It's recommended that readers call ahead to ask about holiday hours.

Why it matters: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and other state officials recommend that anyone experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus be tested before attending large gatherings. Cooper also wants anyone eligible for a booster shot to get one to protect against the omicron variant, which was first detected in North Carolina on Dec. 10 and is now in 47 U.S. states.

Speaking of COVID-19 in North Crolina...

3. Almost 5,000 new cases: NC releases last COVID-19 data before the holidays

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 4,889 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, and the department said that will be the last time it shares case numbers until Dec. 28. The state agency announced 50 new coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday, bringing North Carolina to a total of 19,183 COVID-19 fatalities since March 2020.

Mecklenburg County has seen a total of 169,887 cases and 1,311 deaths during that time.

4. Kwanzaa in Charlotte: How to celebrate and learn about the African-American tradition in the Queen City

Dec. 26 marks the first day of the 54th celebration of Kwanzaa, a weeklong event that pays homage to African-American culture and tradition through Jan. 1 each year. Every day corresponds to a different principle, and Kwanzaa Charlotte is bringing people unfamiliar with the holiday into the fold with a series of virtual and in-person programs.

A workshop detailing the history of the holiday in Charlotte is already live at the organization's YouTube page and a Kwanzaa Marketplace is set to take place Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the West Complex at 1600 W Trade St. Kwanzaa Charlotte will also pay homage to the principles of "Umoja" or "unity" and "Kujuchagulia" or "determination" with more YouTube livestreams on Dec. 26 and 27.

Before that, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African- American Arts + Culture is kicking Kwanzaa off with a free virtual learning and art workshop called "My Kinda Kwanzaa" from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. tonight. The arts and culture centfer will follow it up on Dec. 29 with an in-person Wednesday Night Live event featuring a candle-making workshop to promote "Ujamaa," the fourth Kwanzaa principle of cooperative economics, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at its South Tryon Street location.

5. Weeklong Weather Forecast, Dec. 23 to 30

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Weather data pulled from Weather.com(Canva/Collin Cunningham)

It's beginning to feel a bit like Christmas in Charlotte... for the next few days, at least. Saturday will see a return to warmer weather after temps loitered in the mid-50s and 60s earlier this week. Charlotteans experienced a bit of heavier moisture on Tuesday, but that was sleet, not snow. The Queen City has only seen two White Christmas snowfalls in its history: on Dec. 25 of 1947 and 1880.

Below the Fold

I-85, continued: The crash that killed Goodwin wasn't the only deadly accident to take place on Interstate 85 this week. The North Carolina State Highway Patrol said that 37-year-old Noah Cameron died after colliding with a wrong-way driver around 2:40 a.m. on Sunday near Landis, about 30 miles northeast of Charlotte, according to The Charlotte Observer.

Weekend Reading List:

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I cover the city of Charlotte, North Carolina for NewsBreak's Creator Program. Check back often for daily headline roundups to learn what's happening in the Queen City!

Charlotte, NC
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