GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – A man who admitted he was driving drunk when he struck and killed a tow truck driver was sentenced to 48 years in prison on Wednesday.
Zachariah Dobler, 28, pleaded guilty in February to charges of vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident involving death. He got the maximum punishment on both charges in his sentencing hearing Wednesday morning in Jefferson County Court.
Dobler struck and killed Alan Dilley in Arvada and then drove away on July 31, 2011.
Dilley, 41, was working as an employee of Connolly’s Towing at an active accident scene and preparing to tow a vehicle. That vehicle had been involved in a DUI collision at W. 58th Avenue and Wadsworth in Arvada, when Dilley was struck by the SUV driven by Dobler.
The intersection was lit with activated flashing lights on emergency vehicles. Cones were set out to reroute traffic through the intersection and firefighters were directing traffic around the cones.
Dobler drove through the cone pattern and struck Dilley, throwing him 120 feet. Dobler did not stop. He was arrested by Arvada police a few blocks away.
Dilley died a short time later from his injuries.
In court on Wednesday, Dilley’s family asked the judge for the harshest penalty.
“I feel that a fair sentence would be the death penalty,” said Dilley’s brother Tim Dilley.
Dilley’s family was surrounded by other tow truck drivers who said there is no excuse for a driver not being able to see them.
“He dresses me like this so you can see me in pitch black with 75 square inches of reflective material,” said tow truck driver Daniel Schneider.
Documents released Wednesday show Dobler had been given multiple chances to stay out of trouble. He had been convicted in a burglary case and sent to a prison boot camp. Dobler was also on bond for domestic violence and had three prior DUI arrests. Another DUI arrest was deferred.
“He’s had too many second chances. I’ve also come to the conclusion he’s had too many slaps on the hand. It’s time to send a clear message,” said Dilley’s girlfriend Clair Howard-Stephens.