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Coronavirus

Washington Trooper Dies After Contracting COVID-19 on Trip

September 27, 2021

SEATTLE — A Washington state trooper who helped develop the agency’s use of drones has died after a battle with COVID-19 contracted on duty.

The Washington State Patrol said Detective Eric Gunderson died Sunday surrounded by his family and friends. He was 38. Gunderson frequently traveled around the country to speak about the state patrol’s use of drones.

The patrol said he contracted COVID-19 on one of those trips. Gunderson helped investigate the 2017 Amtrak derailment in DuPont and his work is credited with reopening roads more quickly after crashes.

He is survived by a wife and two sons. Gunderson’s death is the first line of duty death for the agency since it marked its 100th anniversary a few weeks ago, Chief John Batiste said. “How I had hoped our second century of service would be more forgiving. But serving the public, as we do, has inherent dangers and this pandemic has been a foe to our agency and indeed our state and nation,” he said.

Gov. Jay Inslee tweeted his condolences to Gunderson’s family, friends and colleagues.

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