The scene of a fatal crash on northbound I-5 in Arlington on Feb. 8. (Washington State Patrol)

The scene of a fatal crash on northbound I-5 in Arlington on Feb. 8. (Washington State Patrol)

Victim ‘deserved a second chance’; driver charged in deadly crash

Jason Vogan’s daughter told Ismael Cruz-Sanchez on Monday: “Your poor choices took away my father’s chances and it’s not fair.”

ARLINGTON — Before he was killed last month in a crash on I-5, Jason Vogan was planning to enter drug and alcohol treatment.

In a court hearing Monday, Vogan’s daughter, Meriah, said she started using drugs so she’d have something in common with her father.

“My father wasn’t the man of the year, nor was he the perfect father of the year,” the daughter said via video conference from a treatment center. “But he deserved a second chance.”

Ismael Cruz-Sanchez, of Burlington, was charged Friday with vehicular homicide and vehicular assault in the crash that killed Vogan and “seriously maimed” another person, in the words of the deputy prosecutor.

Driving his Dodge Ram north on I-5 on Feb. 8, Vogan ran out of gas just before 5 p.m, according to the charges in Snohomish County Superior Court. He pulled over to the shoulder just south of Highway 530 and called a friend from Stanwood for help. The friend came in his Honda Civic and parked behind Vogan’s pickup. (Initial reports suggested it was the other way around: The friend’s car had broken down and Vogan came to help.)

According to the new charges, the friend, 38, put some gas in Vogan’s truck. Both were standing near the Honda’s front bumper when Vogan said, “Oh (expletive).”

The Stanwood man turned and saw a black BMW driving on the shoulder headed for the Honda’s rear, according to court documents. The BMW hit the Honda, forcing Vogan and his friend into traffic. The impact reportedly compressed the Honda to about half its normal length. State troopers reported not being able to recognize the make and model after the collision.

Multiple witnesses estimated Cruz-Sanchez, 21, was driving his BMW about 100 mph, according to court papers.

One witness had medical training. She reportedly found Vogan unresponsive shortly after the crash. His pulse was weak. Then it stopped.

The friend fractured two of his ribs, three of his vertebrae, his right pelvic bone and right fibula, according to the charging papers. Doctors told him he needed surgery to stabilize the fractures, but he left the hospital against medical advice.

Another witness took a video as she passed the crash site, showing Cruz-Sanchez standing in the open doorway on the driver’s side and a woman walking from the passenger side, according to court documents. The woman, Cruz-Sanchez’s girlfriend, at first told police she was driving the BMW. The defendant claimed the same.

Cruz-Sanchez was taken to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, where he had trouble keeping his eyes open, according to court records. His face was also flushed and he slurred his words.

He has a history of driving under the influence. Cruz-Sanchez was charged with impaired driving three times before he turned 21: in January 2020, June 2020 and September 2020. His lengthy rap sheet includes roughly 20 allegations of traffic violations, according to court records.

Given this history, Cruz-Sanchez’s car was also supposed to have an ignition interlock device, preventing him from starting it until he passed a breath-alcohol test. The BMW didn’t have the device, the Washington State Patrol reported.

“He’s shown disregard for driving restrictions,” deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow said at the defendant’s Monday arraignment.

The defendant has been in the Snohomish County Jail since Feb. 8 with bail set at $1 million. Cruz-Sanchez’s public defender, David Roberson, said in an email it was too early in the case to comment.

Meriah Vogan described her father as a person who was always there for his friends.

Both Vogan’s daughter and son said they hoped Cruz-Sanchez would get treatment and improve his life.

“My second chance with Jason was ripped away and is so final, and I don’t hate you for what you have done, but you deserve sobriety in prison where your days will continue to number as my father’s have come to end,” Meriah Vogan said. “Your poor choices took away my father’s chances and it’s not fair.”

After noting she was 28 days sober, the daughter added her “greatest hope and desire is that you get the help that you need to change your life for the better, like I am doing now and Jason wanted to do for himself.”

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

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