Captain Ron Mead and Corporal Alexis Robinson embrace during a memorial for Washington State Patrol trooper Chris Gadd on Tuesday, March 12, 2024, at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Captain Ron Mead and Corporal Alexis Robinson embrace during a memorial for Washington State Patrol trooper Chris Gadd on Tuesday, March 12, 2024, at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Charges: Man was driving 112 mph before crashing into Marysville trooper

Prosecutors charged Raul Benitez Santana, 32, Thursday in the crash that killed Chris Gadd. An arraignment is set for Tuesday.

MARYSVILLE — A man was reportedly driving 112 mph before he crashed into and killed Washington State Patrol trooper Chris Gadd earlier this month, prosecutors alleged in new charges.

Prosecutors charged Raul Benitez Santana, 32, with vehicular homicide and vehicular assault on Thursday in Gadd‘s death.

Around 3 a.m. March 2, Gadd, 27, was on patrol parked on the shoulder near the Stimson Road overpass on I-5 north of Marysville, according to the charges.

Witnesses saw a GMC Yukon Denali, alledegedly driven by Benitez Santana, driving on I-5 south at a high speed, with no headlights on, the charges say.

A truck equipped with a dashboard camera was going 70 mph when Benitez Santana reportedly passed it on the left side, court documents said. The GMC continued to move to the right while using its turn signal.

After the passenger side of the GMC entered the shoulder, Benitez Santana turned on his turn signal again, prosecutors wrote. Once the car fully entered the shoulder, Gadd’s brake lights turned on.

About a half-second before impact, Benitez Santana slammed on his brakes, according to a police report. Benitez Santana slammed into the back of Gadd’s car. The crash reportedly caused catastrophic damage to both vehicles. Benitez Santana’s car ricocheted across the interstate, while the police cruiser rotated into a ditch. Gadd died at the scene.

Moments later, a Navy van traveling southbound crashed into the GMC, the charges say. The driver broke his wrist in the crash.

Benitez Santana was taken to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. He told detectives he had consumed marijuana and alcohol earlier. Police observed the man reportedly had “bloodshot eyes.” A breathalyzer test displayed a reading of 0.047, below the legal limit. Samples of the defendant’s blood were taken at 4:16 a.m.

The GMC was equipped with a telematics system and an event data recorder, prosecutors wrote. Detectives obtained the data through a search warrant. The data captured five seconds of pre-impact data, according to court records.

About 1.5 seconds before the crash, the car was going 112 mph, the charges say.

Benitez Santana is a Mexican citizen who was in the United States illegally, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Department of Homeland Security placed an immigration detainer on Benitez Santana, seeking to remove the defendant from the United States, according to court documents.

Prosecutors wrote it remained unclear if any formal court documents had been filed for this process.

Benitez Santana received speeding tickets in 2011, 2020 and 2021. In 2020, he was cited for driving at least 41 mph over the speed limit, according to a police report.

The defendant has had three misdemeanor offenses for driving with a suspended license. Since 2012, he has had 11 warrants for failing to appear for court or complying with a court order, court documents said.

Benitez Santana is set to be arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court.

Jonathan Tall: 425-339-3486; jonathan.tall@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @snocojon.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A big decision for Boeing’s next CEO: Is it time for a new plane?

As Boeing faces increased competition from Airbus, the company is expected to appoint a new CEO by the end of the year.

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road in Mukilteo. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Mukilteo Speedway name change is off to a bumpy start

The city’s initial crack at renaming the main drag got over 1,500 responses. Most want to keep the name.

Two workers walk past a train following a press event at the Lynnwood City Center Link Station on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Trains up and running on Lynnwood Link — but no passengers quite yet

Officials held an event at the Lynnwood station announcing the start of “pre-revenue” service. Passengers still have to wait till August.

Nedra Vranish, left, and Karen Thordarson, right browse colorful glass flowers at Fuse4U during Sorticulture on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A promenade through Everett’s popular Sorticulture garden festival

Check out a gallery of the festival’s first day.

Left to right, Everett Pride board members Ashley Turner, Bryce Laake, and Kevin Daniels pose for a photo at South Fork Bakery in Everett, Washington on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Second Everett Pride aims for even bigger rainbow of festivities

Organizers estimated about 3,000 people attended the first block party in Everett. This year, they’re aiming for 10,000.

Pride flag vandalism raises concerns on Whidbey Island

Reports of theft involving LGBTQ+ pride-themed displays have increased around South Whidbey.

The I-5, Highway 529 and the BNSF railroad bridges cross over Union Slough as the main roadways for north and southbound traffic between Everett and Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 529 squeeze starts now between Everett, Marysville

Following a full closure for a night, starting late Sunday, Highway 529 will slim down to two lanes for months near the Snohomish River Bridge.

An emergency overdose kit with naloxone located next to an emergency defibrillator at Mountain View student housing at Everett Community College on Tuesday, March 5, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
As deadly overdoses decline, Snohomish County builds on what’s working

Opioid-related deaths have decreased 20% compared to this time last year. Local health officials say there’s “still much work to do.”

Police blocked off southbound I-5 near Marine View Drive in Everett after an “incident” blocked the roadway on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (Photo provided by WSDOT)
None injured in shooting that closed I-5 south in Everett

The shooting shut down traffic on the freeway Wednesday near Marine View Drive, causing a major backup.

Edmonds City Council members answer questions during an Edmonds City Council Town Hall on Thursday, April 18, 2024, in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds begins process to join South County Fire

To avoid a lapse in services, the city will likely come to voters in April asking for their final approval.

A man led police on a high speed chase through north Snohomish County on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. (Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office)
New public database answers Snohomish County’s pressing crime questions

Prosecutor Jason Cummings hopes the database can give a better understanding of the local criminal justice system.

PUD employee Kyle Tucker opens part of the breaker system at the Jennings Park Substation in Marysville, Washington on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
With eye on growing county, PUD replaces aging Marysville substation

The $8.4 million project north of Jennings Park is expected to be finished in October. It’s one part of a 10-year PUD plan.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.