Ventura Deputy Kostiuchenko remembered for his love, passion

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A Ventura County sheriff's deputy, who was killed by an alleged drunk driver, was remembered on Tuesday for his love and passion.

A Ventura County sheriff's deputy, who was killed by an alleged drunk driver, was remembered on Tuesday for his love and passion.

Family, friends and hundreds of law enforcement officers gathered at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village to honor Deputy Eugene Kostiuchenko.

"It's a privilege to be here to honor his life and pay tribute to the sacrifice he made," said Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean at the funeral service. "Godspeed Eugene!"

Kostiuchenko's wife, an FBI agent, spoke at the service, recalling how they met and fell in love.

"He traveled the world as a Ukrainian military officer. It was on one of these trips that I had a chance to meet him," she said. "From that first moment, I was extremely impressed with his professionalism."

She recalled working with Kostiuchenko on an international money laundering case.

"During the investigation, I got to know the man, his qualities, his intellect, his depth," she said. "I was truly drawn to him and grew to love him very, very deeply."

She called him her rock.

"He was our strength, our foundation," she said. "He was the center of the circle, and we were enriched by his glow. He was my whole life."

Kostiuchenko's brother remembered him as a fascinating human being and a proud Ukrainian, with new-found patriotism for America.

"My brother Eugene, a young Ukrainian military officer, came to this country to meet the love of his life. That opened a new chapter in his life, gave it new meaning, and made him who he was," he said.

The service was followed by a burial ceremony at Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks, 5600 Lindero Canyon Rd.

A caravan escorted Kostiuchenko's body from Thousand Oaks on Monday. Law enforcement officers pulled over to salute the fallen deputy.

Officials say Kostiuchenko had pulled over a driver on a routine traffic stop on the northbound 101 Freeway in Camarillo on Oct. 28. After the driver was released, investigators say Kostiuchenko was walking back to his patrol vehicle when he was side-swiped by another car. The driver sped off heading north on the 101 Freeway but eventually crashed his small sedan near Las Posas Road.

Kevin Hogrefe, 25, has been charged with murder and felony hit-and-run. Authorities say he was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash. Hogrefe has a prior DUI conviction in Nevada.

Kostiuchenko was an 11-year veteran with the Ventura County Sheriff's Department. He was assigned to patrol Camarillo but also worked assignments in the Sheriff's Office of Emergency Services and in Detention Services during his career. He was known for his sense of humor and his work ethic. Kostiuchenko leaves behind his wife and two stepchildren.

One of his adult sons said he may be gone, but they will cling to a lifetime of memories shared with him.

"This isn't real, this didn't happen, that's what I tell myself," he said. "What words can I use? I have my memories."

Related Topics:
car crashDUIarrestfuneralCamarilloWestlake Village
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