Two troopers place a photo of slain Washington State Patrol trooper Chris Gadd outside WSP District 7 Headquarters about twelve hours after Gadd was struck and killed in a collision on southbound I-5 about a mile from the headquarters on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Two troopers place a photo of slain Washington State Patrol trooper Chris Gadd outside WSP District 7 Headquarters about twelve hours after Gadd was struck and killed in a collision on southbound I-5 about a mile from the headquarters on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

‘Outpouring of support’: Trooper’s memorial, motorcade set for Everett

A service for Chris Gadd, 27, on Tuesday will be held at Angel of the Winds. Gadd was hit on I-5 north of Marysville on Saturday.

EVERETT — A public memorial will be held Tuesday for the state trooper struck and killed on I-5.

Services for Chris Gadd will be held at 1 p.m. at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, the Washington State Patrol announced. A ceremonial procession will precede the memorial.

Gadd, 27, had stopped along the right shoulder of I-5 near 136th Street NE while on routine patrol for intoxicated drivers just before 3 a.m. Saturday when an SUV crashed into him.

A new police report gives a fuller picture of the moments leading up to the crash via dashcam footage from a truck.

In the footage, the truck was going 70 mph. Raul Benitez Santana, driving a black GMC Yukon XL, reportedly passed it on the left side at a high rate of speed — fast enough to be “pulling away from the truck,” Snohomish County sheriff’s detective Marc Monson wrote in a report released this week.

The Yukon continued to move to the right while using its turn signal.

Benitez Santana “appears to turn the right turn signal off momentarily while still drifting across the far right lane and beginning to enter the right shoulder of the roadway,” Monson wrote. “The Benitez Santana vehicle continues to travel on the shoulder of the road and is completely out of the lane as he approaches Trooper Gadd’s stationary vehicle.”

About a second before impact, Benitez Santana slammed on his brakes. By then, it was far too late. The crash caused catastrophic damage to both vehicles. Benitez Santana’s vehicle ricocheted all the way across the interstate, while the police cruiser rotated into a ditch.

The tachometer of Benitez Santana’s Yukon was stuck above 3,500 RPM, and the speedometer was stuck over the 100 mph mark, Monson wrote in his supplemental police report. Monson was unsure if the needles displayed an accurate reading of how fast Benitez Santana was going before the crash.

In a police interview, Benitez Santana reported he believed he was going about 80 mph, about 10 mph above the speed limit, when he hit the car, and he recalled seeing the trooper’s vehicle at the last moment. He reportedly told detectives he had been visiting a friend in Mount Vernon and drank two Coors Light and smoked a joint around 9 p.m.

Benitez Santana’s statement “appears to be an acknowledgement that he saw Trooper Gadd’s vehicle yet, presumably was going so fast and was impaired in some way to such a degree that he was unable to take any action to avoid the collision,” Monson wrote.

Police arrested Benitez Santana, 32, for investigation of vehicular homicide.

A judge approved a warrant to test his blood for drugs and alcohol. A Breathalyzer test, given about 3½ hours after the crash, reportedly had a reading of 0.047 blood alcohol content, below the legal limit.

Benitez Santana had a few previous traffic violations, receiving speeding tickets in 2011, 2020 and 2021. In 2020, he was cited for driving 41 mph or more over the speed limit, Monson wrote.

An U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson told KIRO that Benitez Santana, a Mexican citizen, was in the United States illegally. On March 4, an immigration detainer was placed on Benitez Santana. Detainers are used on noncitizens who have been arrested. It is a request for state or local law enforcement to notify ICE if the noncitizen is released from custody.

ICE did not respond to The Daily Herald’s requests for comment.

Gadd began working for the Washington State Patrol in September 2021 as a trooper cadet assigned to Grandview, Yakima County. His father David Gadd is also a state trooper in King County. His sister Jacqueline Gadd is a state trooper in Texas.

Gadd’s family released a statement this week.

“We are working through what is undoubtedly the most difficult of times for our family as we mourn the loss of a loving husband, devoted father, caring brother, beloved son, and committed friend,” the statement read. “We appreciate the outpouring of support we have seen from the community that Chris loved and served. We ask the media to respect our family’s privacy during this painful time.”

Law enforcement throughout the state expressed support for Gadd and his family. Gov. Jay Inslee called it “an incredibly sad day” for the state patrol and all of Washington.

Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste said Gadd was a “good trooper and even better human being.”

“We send our heartfelt condolences to the family of Trooper Gadd, his loved ones, Washington State Patrol and this community,” the Marysville Police Department wrote on social media. “We will never forget Trooper Christopher M. Gadd #927.”

Jonathan Tall: 425-339-3486;; Twitter: @snocojon.

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