Authorities confirm name of DUI driver in fatal hit-and-run accident

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Deputy killed in collision
By Daniel Wolowicz

Deputy Eugene KostiuchenkoDeputy Eugene KostiuchenkoVentura County Sheriff’s Dep. Eugene Kostiuchenko was struck and killed by a suspected drunk driver early this morning after completing a traffic stop on the northbound side of the 101 Freeway near Lewis Road.

Police said Kostiuchenko was getting back into his patrol car after the traffic stop when he was hit by 25-year-old Kevin Hogrefe about 1:15 a.m. Oct. 28.

Sgt. Eric Buschow, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, said Hogrefe, a Camarillo man and a 2007 graduate of Camarillo High School, sideswiped Kostiuchenko’s patrol car and struck the deputy sped away on the northbound 101 but lost control of his car and drove off the road at the Las Posas Road off-ramp.

Two deputies who had been assisting Kostiuchenko caught up with Hogrefe and found him in his vehicle. He was arrested on suspicion of DUI and taken to Ventura County Medical Center in Ventura for minor injuries. 

“It’s obviously very sad,” said Sheriff Geoff Dean. “You’re losing a member of the family.”

Dean said officials contacted Kostiuchenko’s wife soon after the accident. Kostiuchenko and his wife have two sons.

“You share in their grief, and you share in their loss,” Dean said.

An employee with the sheriff’s office for 11 years, Kostiuchenko had been on patrol duty in Camarillo for the past 10 months. 

“My heart goes out to his family,” Buschow said.  “I can’t even grasp what they’re going through. I can’t even imagine.”

Buschow said Kostiuchenko was born in Ukraine. He worked for the sheriff’s office of emergency services and taught disaster preparedness classes for deputies. 

“He was a very funny guy,” Buschow said. “He had a real thick accent, and he would tell jokes. He was a really nice guy, a fun-loving guy.”

Buschow said Kostiuchenko was excited when he learned he’d been accepted into the police training academy.

“He said, ‘I always wanted to do this. I wanted to be a deputy,’” Buschow said.

Sgt. John Franchi, a spokesperson for the Camarillo Police Department, said the men and women at the station are reeling from Kostiuchenko's death.

Counselors have been on site to help members of the department cope with the loss.

"Everyone is heartbroken," Franchi said. "He was very kind, very courteous and very respectful."

Buschow said Kostiuchenko had pulled a car over on the freeway just south of the Arneill Road bridge sometime after midnight.  A second patrol car pulled up behind Kostiuchenko to assist with the traffic stop.

After the stop, the motorist drove away and the three deputies had a brief conversation on the side of the freeway before getting back into their patrol cars, the sergeant said.

Seconds after the deputies in the car behind Kostiuchenko’s vehicle closed their doors, Hogrefe's car swerved dangerously close to the assisting deputies’ vehicle before it sideswiped Kostiuchenko’s car and hit him as he was getting into the car, police said.

Buschow said the two deputies didn’t know if Kostiuchenko had been struck but gave chase to Hogrefe, who was caught on Las Posas Road.

Additional deputies, as well as officers with the California Highway Patrol, soon arrived at the scene and found Kostiuchenko, who’d been killed in the collision.

Traffic was backed up on the northbound 101 Freeway during the morning rush hour as CHP officers investigated the accident.

Officer Steve Reid with the Ventura office of the CHP said Hogrefe was taken from the hospital to the Ventura CHP office for questioning. He said Hogrefe would be screened for drugs and alcohol and will most likely face DUI charges. He may be charged with felony hit-and-run, DUI and vehicular manslaughter.  

Sheriff’s patrol cars do not use dashboard cameras.

The CHP is handling the investigation.

2014-10-24 / Misc

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