By Associated Press - Saturday, October 17, 2020

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) - An Everett man who tried to hide that he killed a woman in a hit and run was sentenced Friday to three years and five months in prison.

Thomas Michael Rock, 51, pleaded guilty earlier in October in Snohomish County Superior Court.

The Everett Herald reports prosecutors say Rock was driving a Dodge Caravan in Everett’s Silver Lake neighborhood on Sept. 8, 2018, when he swerved around another car and hit a woman crossing the street.

Tracy Gjernes of Everett was propelled about 100 feet on the pavement and likely died instantly, according to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office. She was 59.

Rock kept driving, despite another driver “frantically honking his horn,” prosecutors wrote. Afterward, he replaced parts on his vehicle to hide the damage, and told others he thought he hit a deer, according to charging documents.

At Friday’s sentencing hearing, Rock apologized.

“It was just 5 seconds, is all this was. Five seconds and everyone’s life would be normal,” he said.

“I just panicked is all,” he said about his decision to leave the scene. “I just panicked and I was scared. I didn’t mean for this to happen. I hope (Gjernes’ family) can forgive me.”

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