Deputy John Sadro allegedly ran a stop sign at 23rd Street and Rockefeller Avenue in Everett on April 17, 2015, triggering a chain-reaction crash that sent five people to the hospital, including a construction worker who was crushed and lost his legs.

Snohomish County deputy charged with vehicular assault

EVERETT — A Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy has been charged with vehicular assault, a felony, in connection with an on-duty crash last year.

Deputy John Sadro allegedly ran a stop sign on April 17, 2015, at the intersection of 23rd Street and Rockefeller Avenue in north Everett. That triggered a chain-reaction crash that sent five people to the hospital, including a construction worker who lost both his legs.

The deputy was driving up to 49 mph in a 25 mph stretch of road before the crash, court papers show.

“The proximate cause of this collision sequence was speeding and failure to (stop at) the stop sign on the part of Deputy Sadro,” Skagit County prosecutors wrote.

The construction worker Tom Gillette, 60, and his wife have since filed two claims with the county seeking $35 million in damages. They are alleging negligence, according to public records obtained by The Daily Herald.

Two other claims also are pending from the crash, including one from a man who was a passenger in the deputy’s Ford Crown Victoria. The deputy was driving the man to testify in a trial. That man is seeking $1 million for unspecified injuries.

The fourth claim is from the insurance company representing the driver of the Honda Element that broadsided the Ford. The Honda’s driver had the right of way at the intersection.

After that impact, the deputy’s car spun and struck Gillette’s parked pickup, pinning the Darrington-area man between the two vehicles. The pickup then hit another parked truck, involving four vehicles in all.

Gillette was unloading saw-horses from his parked truck when he was struck, according to his claim. In addition to losing his legs, he suffered spinal fractures and a ruptured spleen and nearly died from blood loss.

After screaming and then whispering for help, he tried to stay calm to conserve energy, his attorneys wrote. He was still awake when he arrived at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he stayed two months.

Gillette has undergone at least 12 major surgeries and faces medical expenses for the rest of his life.

He “continues to suffer incredible pain every day,” the claim says.

In the months after the crash, the county paid for renovations to make Gillette’s home more wheelchair-friendly and also for a van that can accommodate a wheelchair.

Sheriff Ty Trenary issued a prepared statement about the case on Thursday.

“This was a terrible accident and we are doing everything we can to help them in whatever way we can,” he said.

The Washington State Patrol’s collision investigation recently wrapped up, after nearly a year. In April, the agency declined to discuss the detectives’ findings, referring all questions to prosecutors.

Sadro, 55, was charged Wednesday in Snohomish County Superior Court. The charging decision was made by Skagit County prosecutors, who were asked to review the case to avoid a conflict of interest. The charge alleges that Sadro was reckless or disregarded the safety of others when he caused Gillette’s injuries.

Sadro has been with the sheriff’s office since 2006. He was put on paid administrative leave after the crash and returned to patrol in May 2015.

Since charges were filed, Sadro was placed on desk duty and won’t be in patrol pending the outcome of his criminal case, sheriff’s spokeswoman Shari Ireton said.

The sheriff’s office also has started an internal investigation to determine if any policies were violated.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

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