Kennewick, WA – Washington State Department of Corrections Officer Christopher Sotelo was killed early Tuesday morning, after he crashed his vehicle in a residential area.
The incident occurred at approximately 3 a.m., as the off-duty corrections officer was driving his Buick Regal near the intersection of Creekstone Drive and South Kellogg Street, the Tri-City Herald reported.
Officer Sotelo lost control of the vehicle, which spun out, before it slammed into a tree, a light pole, and a fence, Kennewick Police Sergeant Matt Newton said.
Police and medical personnel rushed to the scene, but investigators believed Correctional Officer Sotelo died on impact, Sgt. Newton said.
He was not wearing a seatbelt, and speed may have contributed to the fatal crash, he added.
The Benton County coroner determined that CO Sotelo died from blunt force trauma, and was awaiting a toxicology report, KEPR reported.
CO Sotelo was hired at Coyote Ridge Correction Center in October of 2012, public information officer Lori Wonders told the Tri-City Herald.
“He was a well-liked gentleman,” she said.
“You were the type of person that most people wish they had in their lives, and I was blessed enough to have you in mine, I’m a better man today because of you,” CO Sotelo’s friend, Calvin Brown, said in a Facebook post. “The world lost a good one today.”
The father of three cared about his children – 6-year-old Evan, 5-year-old Veda, and 2-year-old Lilly – more than anything, another longtime friend , Shane Ehlers, told KAPP.
“He was all about his kids,” Ehlers said. “His two favorite things in life were his kids and fishing.”
CO Sotelo also leaves behind his mother, Christina.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Washington State Department of Corrections Officer Christopher Sotelo, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.