Police believe a man arrested after a wreck that killed his passenger on Sunday may have been drunk and on depressants.
The crash happened early Sunday morning 17 miles north of Richland on Highway 240.
Jorge Procopio Marcelino, 22, is in the Benton County jail on suspicion of vehicular homicide, according to new court documents.
Procopio Marcelino, of Beverly, was driving northwest about 2:20 a.m. on the highway that runs across a portion of the Hanford nuclear site.
His Toyota Scion left the roadway and rolled, according to the Washington State Patrol.
Florentino Jacinto Santos, 30, of Mattawa, a passenger in the car, was not wearing a seat belt and died before he could be taken to a hospital.
A second passenger, Orlando Vargas Mondragon, 33, of Beverly, was not injured.
When Trooper Ryan Gustin arrived at the scene of the crash just before 2:30 a.m., he saw the Scion on its side on the south shoulder of the roadway.
Gustin said Santos had been thrown from the vehicle during the rollover and had been pronounced dead by paramedics.
Gustin said he smelled intoxicants on Procopio Marcelino’s breath when he spoke to him, his eyes were bloodshot and watery and his speech was slurred.
Around the vehicle the trooper spotted several open Modelo beer cans and an open glass bottle of Corona.
He told the trooper he had two beers, with the last being around midnight. His passenger separately said they had been drinking at Kahluas in Pasco and Procopio Marcelino drank three to four beers, said court documents.
At 3:10 a.m., after failing a field sobriety test, Procopio Marcelino blew over Washington’s legal limit for alcohol with a 0.115% breathalyzer reading, according to the documents. The legal limit is 0.08%.
Gustin took Procopio Marcelino to Kadlec Regional Medical Center where they used a search warrant to get a blood sample to test. He was also given a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) evaluation at the hospital. The examiner determined he was under the influence of a depressant, according to the documents.
Depressants are a wide category of drugs or medication that includes drugs such as valium, rohypnol, klonopin, xanax and other medications, according to the WSP.
The blood sample was sent to the WSP lab for toxicology testing.
Procopio Marcerlino was then taken to the jail and booked on suspicion of vehicular homicide.
He is being held on $250,000 bail and must have an ignition interlock installed on his vehicle and wear an alcohol monitoring device if he is released.