Driver suspected in death of WSP trooper on I-5 admitted to smoking weed, drinking before crash

MARYSVILLE, Wash. — Court documents released on Monday tell us that 32-year-old Lynnwood man Raul Benitez Santana is facing vehicular homicide charges for the death of 27-year-old Washington State Trooper Christopher Gadd.

Gadd was hit and killed by the driver of a black SUV along I-5 in Marysville around 3 a.m. on Saturday. A witness told Snohomish County deputies that the SUV was driving fast, swerved, and struck the back of Trooper Gadd’s patrol vehicle. The SUV then bounced off the trooper’s vehicle, stopped in the fast lane, and was subsequently hit by a van with six people inside.

According to deputies, Benitez Santana -- who was behind the wheel of the SUV -- had bloodshot eyes and admitted to smoking marijuana hours before the crash, as well as drinking two Coors Light beers.

Roughly three and half hours after the incident, deputies say the reading for Benitez Santana’s blood alcohol content was 0.047. That’s slightly over half the 0.08 legal limit.

Benitez Santana was booked into Snohomish County Jail. The six people in the van that hit him are okay.

Bail was set at $1 million for Benitez Santana Monday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the community continues to mourn Trooper Gadd, who was a husband and the father of a two-year-old daughter.