Zachariah Dobler: Murder charge for running over tow-truck driver at DUI crash while drunk
It allegedly took two drunk drivers to kill Alan Dilley. The tow-truck operator was on the scene of an active DUI-crash investigation when he was struck and killed by a car piloted by Zachariah Dobler, who was reportedly drunk at the time. Criminal records show that was nothing new for him -- likely one reason he's been charged with murder in addition to vehicular homicide.
Just past 1:30 a.m. on July 31, according to the arrest affidavit on view below, Arvada Police were investigating what's described as a DUI accident at the intersection of Colorado State Highway 121 and West 58th Avenue. A number of police and fire district vehicles, lights flashing, were on hand, with a cone zone in place and assorted officers directing traffic. Also there: Dilley, clad in a black uniform with yellow reflective stripes.
In the midst of this activity, a Nissan Rogue heading northbound on CSI 121 drove through the cones that set off a through lane and veered toward the crashed car. Dilley was standing nearby, and the Nissan hit him so hard that he flew around 120 feet. He was pronounced dead at St. Anthony's Hospital shortly thereafter.
Cops say the Nissan didn't stop or even attempt to slow down. In fact, they believe the driver, later identified as Dobler, actually accelerated through the intersection.
Immediately after the second accident, officers broadcast a description of the Rogue, and another cop a few blocks away spotted it -- not that difficult a chore, given that it had extensive front-end damage. Dobler was ordered out of the vehicle -- a command he initially ignored. He later denied drinking, even though the arresting officer says he had booze on his breath and bloodshot, watery eyes. The driver insisted that he hadn't realized he'd hit a person, but he knew he'd smacked into something, and was planning to stop at the next intersection to check his car.
Three blood draws followed. What did they show? Jefferson County District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Pam Russell says that information can't be released at this time. But Dobler had definitely been through the drill before. His license had previously been revoked for three alcohol convictions, as well as for his status as a habitual traffic offender. Later, Dobler was issued what's known as an interlock license -- meaning he was restricted to driving a vehicle that wouldn't start if it detected alcohol on his breath. But the Nissan didn't have such a system.
Spokeswoman Russell says Dobler is accused of not having permission to take the car -- hence, a charge of aggravated motor vehicle theft in addition to one focused on evading or circumventing an ignition interlock device. But of the seven other counts he's facing, by far the most serious is first-degree murder, extreme indifference.
"Certainly, Mr. Dobler is charged with vehicular homicide," Russell notes. "But the case was staffed by the district attorney and several chief deputies, and they looked at the evidence, including evidence not in the affidavit, and not public at this time. And at the end of the day, the district attorney believed, and the others concurred, that murder (with extreme indifference) was the appropriate charge. It fit this set of circumstances."
Look below to get a better view of Dobler's booking photo, as well as to read the aforementioned affidavit, which follows charging documents.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Michael Arangio, wanted for slaying 3 Springs teens, kills himself during standoff (VIDEO)."
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.