A Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer was seriously injured early Wednesday morning when his patrol car crashed on Fairview Road a short distance from SouthPark Mall.

A CMPD official said Officer Joseph J. Willinsky of the Providence Division crashed his cruiser while responding to a larceny from vehicle call at Strawberry Hill Apartments off Providence Road. The call came in around 3:36 a.m. The officer apparently crashed into a ditch and was ejected from the car.

At 3:45 a.m., a passerby called 911 to report that a marked CMPD unit had been in a single-car crash on Fairview Road, between Sharon Road and Cameron Valley Parkway. The caller said the vehicle had caught fire and that the officer was lying next to the car and was breathing but not conscious.

Willinsky was taken to Carolinas Medical Center around 4 a.m. and was said to be in critical condition as of 6:55 a.m.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Chief Rodney Monroe and a number of other police officials visited the accident scene then joined members of Willinsky’s family at the hospital.

CMPD is investigating. Willinsky was hired in September, 2008.

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