An Ariel man was sentenced to more than a year in prison on Friday 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 in a bench trial of two counts of attempted second-degree assault. Snider acquitted Hansen in Clark County Superior Court on Tuesday of two charges each of attempted second-degree murder and attempted first-degree assault.
His victim, whose name is withheld due to the nature of the case, told the sentencing hearing that she did not believe Hansen’s behavior would change after his release.
“I fear for my life. I fear for my daughter’s life. I fear that I am not prepared for her next escalation,” she said.
She asked the judge for as much time as she could give him to “arm up for his release.”
“I will do anything to protect my daughter and make sure I’m still alive to take care of her,” she said. “She’s only 5 and she won’t understand why we can’t go to the park alone anymore, why we keep all the doors and windows locked all the time, why we have cameras everywhere and why mum seems so nervous all the time . weather.”
Although she was disappointed with the verdict, the victim said in a telephone interview after the hearing that she was grateful to the judge for giving Hansen the highest sentence for the charge. Snider also granted five-year no-contact orders for her and her child.
During Monday’s opening statements, 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 license plate matriculation before, he had no intention of killing 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 her 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 one turn away from coming loose, Senior Assistant District Attorney Jeff McCarty said in his opening statement.
Hansen was arrested in Cowlitz County later that day wearing what appeared to be the same shirt seen on surveillance video, McCarty said.
Hansen was granted bail and was previously charged with stalking and multiple violations of the no contact order when this incident occurred, according to a probable cause affidavit. Boucher previously reported that someone deflated his tires, drained the oil from his car, put nails under the tires, scratched his car and put a GPS tracker on his car, the prosecution said.
Hansen pleaded guilty in March to criminal harassment and was sentenced to 366 days in jail.
The victim said she considers herself lucky to have the support system she knows some other domestic abuse victims don’t have, such as nearby family members, 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 was also grateful to detectives from the Vancouver Police Department’s Domestic Violence Unit. Without them to continue investigating her case, she said she wouldn’t have known Hansen tampered with her tires and the situation could have been much worse.