Jail time for 2008 hit-and-run death

EVERETT — A Stanwood man accused of driving away from the scene of a fatal accident in 2008 earned some leniency for his cooperation with police investigators.

Kevin Brewer, 43, met with Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives about two days after he struck Nicole Cheek as she was walking along 34th Avenue NE, north of Marysville. He led police to the Jeep Cherokee he was driving and later pleaded guilty to a hit-and-run fatality charge.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Ellen Fair sentenced Brewer on Monday to 3 1⁄2 years in prison, a term below the standard range. Fair acknowledged that Brewer’s cooperation helped investigators solve the case, giving Cheek’s family some answers.

Unsolved crimes are terrible for victim’s families, Fair said.

The judge declined Brewer’s request for a three-year sentence. She couldn’t ignore Brewer’s long criminal history dating back to the 1980s, Fair said. She also called into question Brewer’s claim that he was trying to turn his life around, citing Brewer’s arrest in August for investigation of driving without a valid driver’s license and possession of drug paraphernalia. Brewer was awaiting sentence for the hit-and-run charge at the time.

Brewer apologized Monday. He said he wants Cheek’s family to know it was an accident.

Brewer didn’t know he’d hit a woman, his attorney Ali Nakkour said. Brewer told family that he thought he’d fallen asleep behind the wheel because of his sleep apnea and woke up after hitting something. He thought it may have been a mailbox, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Ed Stemler wrote in court papers.

Brewer’s attorney told the judge his client is seeking treatment for his drug problem and has taken responsibility for his actions.

“He’s ready to pay with his freedom for taking another human being’s life,” Nakkour said.

Cheek, 58, was struck from behind about 5:15 a.m. April 2, 2008. She was walking northbound along the shoulder of 34th Avenue NE. The road parallels southbound I-5 just north of Marysville.

Another driver on the freeway spotted Cheek’s body about 90 minutes later and called 911.

Cheek is survived by her husband, children and grandchildren.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463, hefley@heraldnet.com.

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