Zachary Tangney was released on probation on Thursday, January 23 after being taken into custody on a warrant on October 8 in Laramie County. As part of his agreement, Tangney pleaded guilty to two felony counts of conspiracy to commit vehicular eluding and violation of probation. As a condition of his probation he cannot operate a vehicle without a valid driver’s license, which he does not have currently.
Tangney’s public defenders presented to District Judge Mary Hoak that Tangney, now 26 years-old, had matured and had time to reflect during his stay in the detention center. He had now prioritized his life and showed an acceptance of responsibility.
According to Public Defender Jacob Eppler, Tangney now realizes his actions have consequences beyond himself.
Public defense continued that, Tangney’s 8-year old daughter was a priority for him, and he had strong family support. He would be moving to Denver where he would be able to use his skills as a mechanic and help his mother in her business.
“He is ready to turn over a new leaf,” said Public Defender Kiyomi Bullick. “He is at a turning point.”
On his own behalf Tangney said, “I am very sorry for all the actions I have caused… the past four months in jail have given me a lot of time to think about how much I really messed up and how much I have missed out on. And now I am a felon. I wish everyday I had just pulled over .. running was extremely dangerous and selfish and not fair to anyone. I can promise you I will never make a choice like this again. I want nothing more than to go back to being a good dad, go back to work, and get my life back on track.” He also stated he had never done drugs, doesn’t drink and was not a thief.
“I promise to never drive without a license again,” Tangney said inferring that driving without a license led him to flee law enforcement.
At this point, Judge Hoak inserted, “Or run from law enforcement. You have to understand… You put law enforcements’ lives in jeopardy… Your behavior is incredibly dangerous.”
Representing the People and asking for containment, Deputy Chief Kathryn Dowdell countered that Tangney had “a horrific traffic history.. that kept escalating with more bad decisions.” She attested that alluding law enforcement was “fun” for Tangney.
“We are at a reckoning day today… And this is much bigger than one bad choice.” said Dowdell. “Why choose to run? Driving without a license is diminomous… For Tangney, this is fun.”
As a Habitual Traffic Offender, Tangney’s driving license was initially revoked in 2014.
Then on two separate incidences in 2016 and 2018, Tangney eluded law enforcement when they attempted to stop him for excessive speeds on Highway 40.
The final incident occurred in April of 2019, when Tangney once again eluded law enforcement after being clocked speeding on Highway 40. This time, he entered the parking lot of Colorado Timber Resources. It was here that Tangney, collided with a patrol vehicle. Outside of the courtroom, a representative from State Farm, stated that after reviewing the case, they ruled it was an accidental collision and not purposeful.
After the collision, Tangney continued to Raynor’s Trailer court where there was a nearly seven hour stand-off in which he was not taken into custody. The next day a warrant was obtained – it then took law enforcement nearly a month to take Tangney into custody.
After being taken into custody, he was released on a $25,000 bond, but failed to appear at his next court hearing. After he was arrested the final time on a warrant, his bond was substantially increased.
Upon sentencing, Judge Hoak addressed identified strengths, noting that he was healthy, he had received his GED, and he had strong family support. She encouraged him to think of his daughter when making future decisions, “Ask yourself is this good for my daughter? If the answer is yes, then please do it… If it is not good for your daughter, then do not make that decision.”
She continued, “The Court believes a probationary sentence is appropriate. Mr. Tangney, we are going to give you that opportunity. I am concerned about the damage you have done, but I am hopeful – given your age.. and given your atonement, and given the fact you have been in jail for over 100 days, you will now understand this.”