Crime

Ferndale man charged with vehicular homicide in car crash that killed his father

A Ferndale man has been charged with vehicular homicide in connection with a car crash on Aug. 3 that killed his father.

Andrian Mondragon, 30, was booked into the Whatcom County Jail at about 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19.

He was also charged with attempting to elude police and hit and run also in relation to the Aug. 3 chase along Birch Bay-Lynden Road that ended in a rollover crash, according to the Whatcom County Prosecutor’s Office. His father, Ruben Mondragon-Gutierrez, 54, also of Ferndale, died at the scene.

The chase started at the Lynden Safeway. There, surveillance cameras, according to court documents, recorded Mondragon and his father walking into the store just after 1:10 a.m., then coming back outside moments later and getting into a blue 1991 Toyota Camry.

The officer tried pulling them over as the car left the parking lot, court records say; records do not say why the officer tried to stop the men.

Instead of stopping, the car accelerated to approximately 100 mph driving west along Birch Bay-Lynden Road. The car’s headlights eventually turned off, and, out of safety concerns, the officer ended his chase near Birch Bay-Lynden and Bob Hall roads, according to court documents.

Someone reported a rollover crash just after 2:20 a.m. west of the intersection. The driver of the car, investigators determined, had driven off the right shoulder, then over-corrected to the left-hand lane and back to the right. The car rolled many times, landing in a cornfield.

Mondragon-Gutierrez, who was not wearing a seat belt, was thrown from the vehicle, according to the police investigation.

Police believe Mondragon fled the scene before officers arrived, court records say.

Mondragon called his mother between 3 and 4 a.m. on Aug. 3 to ask for help, and eventually went to her house in Ferndale. There, court records say, he logged onto a computer and apologized on Facebook for his wrongdoings.

Detectives interviewed Mondragon later that day, and found that he had injuries consistent with being the driver of the Camry – bruising across his chest and down his right side, which indicate he wore a driver’s side seat belt, according to court papers.

Mondragon allegedly claimed he had been in a high-speed motorcycle crash earlier that day.

Authorities also found blood smears in the Camry that appeared to be consistent with Mondragon-Gutierrez’s injuries, according to the charges.

Police also later found that Mondragon, according to court documents, had been staying at a cluster of cabins at 866 Birch Bay-Lynden Road the night of Aug. 2. Between 12:30 and 1 a.m. on Aug. 3, he went to a cabin where two acquaintances were staying to ask if he could borrow the Camry that belonged to one of them.

Mondragon had been drinking, court records say. So the car’s owner told Mondragon that he could borrow the car only if Mondragon-Gutierrez, who was asleep in another cabin, drove.

Mondragon went and woke his father, but the others watched Mondragon get in the driver’s seat with his father in the passenger seat, and the car headed east toward Safeway, court records say.

Mondragon wasn’t booked into the Whatcom County Jail until more than two weeks after the crash because he was serving time at the Monroe Correctional Complex since Aug. 8 for violating community supervision, according to Jeremy Barclay, a Department of Corrections spokesman.

That supervision stemmed from a controlled substance possession conviction in 2014.

Mondragon was transferred to the Whatcom County Jail on Friday to face the charges in the deadly crash, Barclay said.

His bail was set at $1 million.

Kyle Mittan: 360-756-2803, @KyleMittan

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