Suspect Charged With Homicide After Washington State Trooper Killed In Highway Crash

A tragic incident near Seattle has left the Washington State Patrol mourning the loss of Trooper Christopher M. Gadd, who was fatally struck by a driver on Interstate 5.

The suspect, Raul Benitez Santana, has been charged with vehicular homicide in connection with the officer’s death.

Gadd, only 27 years old, was parked on the side of the highway in Marysville when his patrol vehicle was hit around 3 a.m. last Saturday. Santana, 33, remained at the scene and was apprehended by authorities. It’s been revealed that Santana, a Mexican citizen, entered the US illegally, according to officials from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

This tragedy occurs amidst a broader conversation about immigration policies, reignited by recent incidents like the killing of Georgia college student Laken Riley. Santana’s case adds fuel to this debate, although evidence linking immigration status to crime rates remains scarce.

Santana’s encounters with immigration authorities date back to 2013, but he was only recently placed under an immigration detainer after the fatal crash. He’s currently held in Snohomish County Jail on a $1 million bond.

As the legal proceedings unfold, the Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste has conveyed the agency’s deep condolences to Gadd’s family. The affidavit filed by a county sheriff’s deputy indicates that Gadd was parked with his lights off, seemingly monitoring traffic when the collision occurred.

This tragic loss serves as a stark reminder of the risks law enforcement officers face daily, even during routine duties.