Driver Traveling over 100 mph in Crash that Killed Wash. State Trooper

March 25, 2024
Data from the SUV that slammed into the back of Washington State Patrol Trooper Christopher Gadd's parked cruiser showed the vehicle was going 107 mph just before impact.

A Lynnwood man was driving more than 100 mph right before crashing into Washington State Patrol Trooper Christopher Gadd on Interstate 5 near Marysville, according to charging documents filed in Snohomish County Superior Court on Thursday.

Prosecutors charged Raul Benitez Santana, 32, with one count of vehicular homicide in Gadd's death and one count of vehicular assault.

Data from Santana's GMC Yukon Denali showed he was going 112 mph before the March 2 crash, prosecutors wrote. He reportedly didn't push on his brakes until a half-second before impact, slowing down to 107 mph as he slammed into the back of the trooper's car, which was parked on the shoulder of southbound I-5.


Gadd had died by the time a truck driver pulled over to check on him.

After hitting Gadd's car, Santana's GMC Yukon Denali spun out in the middle of traffic, where a van filled with Navy personnel then ran into his vehicle, according to court documents. The driver of the van reportedly suffered a fractured wrist.

Gadd, who was with the State Patrol for 2 1/2 years and worked out of Marysville, was the 33rd trooper killed in the line of duty in the agency's history. Those close to him described him as compassionate, goofy and committed to keeping the roads clear of drunken drivers.

Prosecutors say police have footage of Santana drinking at a Mount Vernon bar earlier in the night, and he reportedly told law enforcement he had a couple of beers and smoked some marijuana.

A preliminary breath test taken at the hospital came back with 0.047 blood alcohol content, under the legal limit. In a report, a deputy noted the reading was taken 3 1/2 hours after the crash.

A judge approved a search warrant to test a sample of Santana's blood. Authorities were still waiting for results, but prosecutors noted the state toxicology lab agreed to expedite the testing.

Santana was previously convicted of driving with a suspended license and domestic violence assault. He remained at the Snohomish County Jail on Saturday, with bail set at $1 million.


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