A woman who drove drunk on Thanksgiving Day in Tacoma and rear-ended a car on Interstate 5, killing a backseat passenger in the other vehicle, has been sentenced to prison.
Marina Svyatoslavovna Cherevach, 26, pleaded guilty in January in Pierce County Superior Court to vehicular homicide, felony driving under the influence and duty in case of personal injury or death or damage to attended vehicle or other property. She was accused of crashing into a sedan occupied by three people in the early morning hours of Nov. 25, 2021. Cherevach continued driving for about a mile, then stopped and called an Uber.
On Friday, Judge Alicia Burton sentenced Cherevach to two years, six months in prison, a mid-range sentence for defendants tried in similar cases. According to court records, she had no prior criminal convictions.
Two people in the car she struck suffered minor injuries, and the third, 67-year-old Kimberly Rokpeter, was pronounced dead at the scene. Court records state the victim was not wearing a seat belt.
The crash occurred at about 2:20 a.m. on southbound Interstate 5 near Portland Avenue. Washington State Patrol troopers found Cherevach’s wallet with her driver’s license on the floor of her abandoned Jeep Wrangler. Troopers went to the Auburn address the vehicle was registered to. There, Cherevach’s mother said she’d last seen her daughter Wednesday night and that she’d been driving to a Seattle Kraken hockey game.
Cherevach was arrested later that morning at an address in Lakewood. A preliminary breath test showed her blood alcohol content was 0.148, and a subsequent blood draw recorded a BAC of 0.094, above the legal limit of 0.08.
According to court records, Cherevach completed a chemical dependency assessment in December last year that found she didn’t meet criteria for a substance-use disorder. It recommended she undergo an eight-hour alcohol and drug-education class, which she attended in January.