Washington Man Fatally Shot While Trying to Slow Down Traffic to Help Deers Cross Road

Dan Spaeth
Dan Spaeth (left) and him with his wife. Facebook

A man was shot dead in Snohomish County while trying to slow cars down to save the lives of deer crossing the road, according to court documents.

According to probable cause documents filed in Snohomish County, the victim's wife called 911 at 7:45 p.m. on Sept. 7 to report that her husband had just been shot.

Victim, His Wife were Trying to Slow Down Vehicles as They Often Speed on the Road

As reported by The Seattle Times, the victim was identified as off-duty corrections officer Dan Spaeth. His wife told deputies that she and her husband had gone out to the road to slow down traffic on S. Machias Rd. to help some deer safely cross the road. She said they were waving at cars to slow them down because cars often speed on this road.

She told investigators that she heard a pop and turned around to see her husband laying in the driveway of their home and had been shot. The woman said she saw a green Jeep and a black sedan driving away, and a man with a gun with some sort of an attachment on it.

Suspect Said He Shot Spaeth Because He was 'Scared'

On Sept. 8 at 2:30 p.m., an off-duty deputy spotted a car matching the description provided in a sheriff's office bulletin. Deputies and a Lake Stevens officer responded and took a 22-year-old suspect into custody.

Probable cause documents say that the suspect admitted to shooting someone, adding that he was "scared" because the man in the road was yelling at the Jeep and hit it with his hands. He said he grabbed his gun because he was scared. He said he fired one shot to scare the man and woman and claimed that he did not know if he hit the victim. Spaeth was fatally shot in the chest.

The suspect is being held in the Snohomish County Jail on $500,000 bail. Charges are pending.