Zachariah Dobler blew a .223 after running down tow-truck driver, gets 48 years

Just past 1:30 a.m. on July 31, according to the arrest affidavit on view below, Arvada Police were investigating a DUI accident at the intersection of Colorado State Highway 121 and West 58th Avenue. As we first reported last summer, 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: Tow-truck operator Alan 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 said the Nissan didn't stop or even attempt to slow down. In fact, they believed 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's said to have 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 -- a drill Dobler had been through 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 His license had previously been revoked for three alcohol convictions, as well as for his status as a habitual traffic offender.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 -- which likely explains why he took it without permission.

Marijuana Deals Near You

This last action earned Dobler an aggravated motor vehicle theft charge. But it paled in comparison to the most serious count against him: first-degree murder, extreme indifference. At the time, Jefferson County District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Pam Russell justified this allegation, which was coupled with vehicular homicide, by citing the evidence in the case, including some information that wasn't included in the affidavit.

One of the factoids involved Dobler's .223 BAC. And more insight into his background can be found in a letter he wrote by hand to a judge in 2009, during a period when he was in jail on a burglary conviction.

The entire note is contained in a sentencing memo below. However, it reads in part, "I understand why you've chosen the maximum sentence in my case and I want to thank you for sending me to D.O.C. I've been able to work on my self and find answers to why I was acting out and have found the tools to [fix] myself. I was suffering from male stress syndrome. Male stress syndrome is when you have too much stressful thing happen to you at once and you do not know howe to deal with it and you have a mental break down, you start to act out breaking the law, going on spending sprees, drinking or drugging to get your self a way from the stress and depression."

He added, "If you look at my criminal history other than last year my record was not too bad, just some traffic violations then alot of things went wrong and Ive become depressed."

It's unlikely Dobler was cheered up by the sentence of 48 years -- the most he could receive for vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident, the charges to which he eventually pleaded guilty.

Look below to see a larger version of Dobler's mug shot, more photos of Dilley, a crime-scene graphic, the arrest affidavit and the sentencing memorandum.

Zachariah Dobler Arrest Affidavit and Charging Documents
Zachariah Dobler Sentencing Memorandum
Follow and like the Michael Roberts/Westword Facebook page.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Michael Arangio, wanted for slaying 3 Springs teens, kills himself during standoff (VIDEO)."

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.