An Ariel man was sentenced Friday to more than a year in prison for loosening the lug nuts on the wheels of his former partner’s car before she drove it with their young daughter inside.
Zachery Hansen, 31, was sentenced to 12¾ months after Judge Jennifer Snider found him guilty during a bench trial of two counts of second-degree attempted assault. Snider acquitted Hansen Tuesday in Clark County Superior Court of two charges each of second-degree attempted murder and first-degree attempted assault.
His victim, whose name is being withheld due to the nature of the case, said during the sentencing hearing that she doesn’t believe Hansen will change his behavior after he’s released.
“I fear for my life. I fear for my daughter’s life. I fear I will not be prepared for his next escalation,” she said.
She asked the judge for as much time as she can give her to “armor for his release.”
“I will do anything to protect my daughter and make sure I’m still alive to care for her,” she said. “She is only 5, and she will not understand why we can’t go to the park by ourselves again, why we keep all the doors and windows locked at all times, why we have cameras everywhere and why Mommy seems so nervous all the time.”
Although she was disappointed by the verdict, the victim said in a telephone interview after the hearing that she’s grateful the judge sentenced Hansen to the high end for the charge. Snider also granted five-year no contact orders for her and her child.
During opening statements Monday, defense attorney Shon Bogar argued that when Hansen tampered with the car, including putting nails under the tires, loosening the lug nuts and removing the front license plate, he didn’t intend to kill her or their daughter, who was 4 years old at the time.
The child was in the car with her mother when a Vancouver police detective called and told her to pull over because he believed he saw Hansen on surveillance video loosening the lug nuts. She was approaching Interstate 205 when she pulled over and discovered some of the bolts were less than a turn from coming off, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jeff McCarty said during his opening statement.
Hansen was arrested in Cowlitz County later that day, wearing what appeared to be the same shirt seen on the surveillance video, McCarty said.
Hansen was granted pretrial release and already charged with felony stalking and multiple domestic violence no-contact order violations when this incident occurred, according to a probable cause affidavit. His victim previously reported that someone had let the air out of her tires, drained the oil from her car, put nails under the tires, scratched her car and put a GPS tracker on her car, the prosecution said.
Hansen pleaded guilty in March to felony stalking and was sentenced to 366 days in prison.
The victim said she considers herself fortunate to have the support system she knows some other domestic violence victims don’t have, such as family members nearby, her own car and a job.
“If I didn’t have people to support me and keep me safe, I could see how others would go back to their abusers,” she said.
She said she’s also grateful for the detectives in the domestic violence unit at the Vancouver Police Department. Without them continuing to investigate her case, she said she wouldn’t have known Hansen tampered with her tires and the situation could’ve been much worse.