Charges filed in homemade bomb case

Haskins, Zabel face felonies as a result of August incident


— Two 19-year-old former Hayden residents have been charged with possessing an explosive device and reckless endangerment for allegedly setting off homemade acid bombs in Hayden in August.

Dusty Zabel and Isaac Haskins are scheduled to appear in Routt County Court at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 16 on the charges filed by the District Attorney's Office in September. Possessing an explosive device is a Class 4 felony and punishable by six years in prison. Reckless endangerment, a Class 3 misdemeanor, is punishable by as many as six months in jail.

Hayden Police Chief Ray Birch said Thursday that the teens' alleged actions were "more than a prank."

"This was more than just a prank or joke you might see on the Internet. This was dangerous," he said. "It had a serious impact on one of our officers and this community."

Birch said between 12 and 14 mangled plastic bottles were found throughout town the first week of August. The bottles appeared to have been remnants of homemade acid bombs, which explode when a common cleaning agent is sealed inside a plastic bottle with aluminum foil. Poisonous hydrochloric acid fumes are left over.

"When this thing initially kicked off, (the bombs) were exploding all over town," Birch said.

Hayden police Officer Darin Falk, who was the first to respond to the reports of gunshots - which later turned out to be the bombs exploding - was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with chemical bronchitis from breathing the toxic fumes.

"What made this so severe in nature is there is a gas that emits after the explosion that is very dangerous," Birch said. Darin "was thinking, 'I've got to get these off the streets,' and was throwing them in the back of his vehicle. Unbeknownst to him he was being overwhelmed with fumes because he didn't know he was dealing with a hazardous material. He thought they were dry ice bombs."

Falk is back at work, Birch said.

In addition to Falk's illness, the Hayden Police Department had to pay the Moffat County Hazmat Team to decontaminate Falk's patrol vehicle after the incident.

Neither Zabel nor Haskins could be reached for comment Thursday. The men, who currently don't live in Hayden, graduated from Hayden High School in May 2006.

Haskins was one of three Hayden teenagers sentenced to serve five days in jail and ordered to pay restitution to group of other Hayden boys who were branded with a heated coat hangar at a party in March 2006.


dimwitiguess 9 years, 6 months ago

RD, "piece of dirt... Great job on raising this kid parents??" Name calling always works and condemning the parents as though this kid isn't old enough to make his own choices without his parents help.

RD and Inno, some kids just go wrong on their own. Maybe this kid's parents are just as disgusted with those other kids this one hangs out with. I know many parents whose kids are big problems, even though those parents worked very hard to help correct and redirect them at an early age and through their school days.

Everyone can't be the great parents and guides to life you both apparently are. dimwitiguess


Queenie 9 years, 6 months ago

RoxyDad/Innovated: So quick to judge the parents. Do you know them? Do you have a clue how their household is ran? Do you know if these boys are under parental guidance? Maybe you should try the "seek first to understand" principle.

I teach my children right from wrong, as it is my job to guide them, but in the end it is up to them to make a choice and deal with the consequences be they good or bad.

Your comments are so "American" in that you are blaming someone other than the person who made the choice and carried out the action.

No doubt the boys need to face some severe consequence, but shame on you both for attacking without first putting yourselves in their shoes.


Wendy Powell 9 years, 6 months ago

If it takes a village, what do these comments say about our village? What happened to innocent until proven guilty? These are significant charges, with significant penalties. Let's let the justice system see if they are appropriate and determine who is the culprit, not the newspaper.

If you were to do a Steamboat Pilot search on Isaac Haskins you would see a long list of entries for him and his siblings. This is a family that is totally involved in school, sports and the community. Isaac has a promising future, he won't be needing that reservation.

More importantly, this COULD HAVE BEEN ANY ONE OF OUR KIDS. Sure, they are boys that have the ability to get into mischief -- they are smart enough, and they need to mature in the decision making department. Sure, they made bad choices. I imagine the 'branding' incident started with roasting marshmallows, no it is not acceptable behaviour, but weren't they minors then and haven't they paid that debt to society? Is it appropriate for their juvenile record to be part of this newspaper story?

I am sorry that there was an injury harmful to the officer's health. I respect law enforcement for the job they do for all of us. Where is the security training that instructs officers to put suspected bombs in their cars? Who should be responsible for that great decision? Likely the boys, if indeed they are the ones that did this, will be paying for not only thier poor decisions...


momcheers 9 years, 6 months ago

Gee rather convenient for the Today to print this story today.... on Hayden's Homecoming... not in August or September... not on the day of the court dates or day before... on the day of our Homecoming.... Funny we can't get coverage of our Homecoming events this week... (okay we got one article on Tuesday, on picture Wednesday and a mention in the sports section today)... but the Today is sure quick to print this story on a day that many Hayden residents would be looking for Homecoming information!!!

I am not a parent of either of these kids, but I know them both personally. I just ask that you remember that there are ALWAYS 2 sides to EVERY story and that this paper RARELY prints both sides.

I also would ask RoxyDad to go back and read the user agreement's first paragraph about not using inflamatory remarks towards people.... Do you know Isacc? Do you know his parents? Do you know the story? Were you a personal witness or were you effected by anything that Isacc's done? " I would call "This Isaac Haskins is a piece of dirt !!" pretty inflamatory!

And one last thing... where is officer Falk's responsibilty in his own health... putting a potentially dangerous substance in his car and driving around? Give me a break!

I'm not saying that the boys don't deserve consequences... I'm just saying don't be too quick to judge ANYTHING you read in this paper!!!


JazzSlave 9 years, 6 months ago

There's a great line in one of the Hannibal Lecter novels, during a scene where the agent & his supervisor are discussing the case. The agent speculates how the criminal he's after turned out like he did; most likely systematic abuse/torture during childhood. He goes on at some length about how horrific it must have been for the perp.

The supervisor says something like "don't tell me you're sympathizing with this guy..." The agent replies (paraphrasing from memory): "Absolutely. My heart bleeds for him as a child. Somebody took a kid and manufactured a monster. At the same time, as an adult, he's irredeemable. As an adult, someone should blow the sick f&^k out of his socks."

Zabel & Haskel are not accused of capital crimes, obviously. But the premise is identical, and the premise is valid: they're adults, and solely responsible for the choices they make.

Throw the book at 'em.


anotherworld 9 years, 6 months ago

I have judy two things to say. First and formost you people have TOOOOO much time on your hands to sit and badger the people of this article as well as one another. Find a hobby that doesn't consist of ripping people apart! Postive interactions and beliefs will make this world a better place. Second, the paper reports the news and if it doesn't involve you, who are you to judge. Enough said.


candylane 9 years, 6 months ago

Where as art imitates life in many instances, you can't say that these boys are irredeemable, Jazz. Our country is based on justice and punishment fitting the crime. I don't see how throwing the book at them will make them turn out well. I do not know these boys, but do have boys of my own. Both instances had bad endings but could also have gone the other way with them talking about it over a camp fire years later and laughing about stupid times! Kids do stupid things and sometimes they end up bad and sometimes they don't. You can't bubble wrap kids, unfortunately. Parent's hearts break and kids grow up. Let the courts take their course. I'd hate to think of my boys going to prison for 6 months much less 6 years! Give them longer than 19 years to find out if they are irredeemable!


JazzSlave 9 years, 6 months ago

I didn't say they were irredeemable, dear. Take a breath. I suggested they be held accountable for the choices they made. The article delineates maximum sentences of 6+ years. Depending on priors, it's doubtful anything close to the maximum will be imposed. Throw the book at 'em, and whether it's community service or 6 years or something in between, & I won't complain. I will also have no sympathy for them, regardless of whatever penalty is handed down.


OnTheBusGus 9 years, 6 months ago

These are not children, these are adults. If you are 19 you are eligible for the draft, military service, purchase cigarettes, etc. Responsibility should come with the age or perhaps the legal age of an adult should be reconsidered by our country.


Mike Coziahr 9 years, 6 months ago

Wait a minute, everybody slow down a minute here.

Crime = Act + Intent

No question that the act was inexcusably stupid. But the intent? Are you kidding me? Were these explosives hidden in a building, in a store, in an office, in the school. in the mail? I don't know the Haskins kid, but I do know Dusty Zabel and his family. These are good people and Dusty is a pretty good kid. There is a huge difference between the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski setting off bombs which he fully intended to kill other people with, and settin off fire crackers on the outside wall of the old Baptist School. Me and another good friend of the senior Mr. Zabel can attest to that. It did not make us mad dog arsonists in training then, and it don't make two guys who dumped some toilet cleaner into a few bottles and left them in the street as a joke mad dog killers either. Stupid? Absolutely! Should they be punished? Absolutely? But folks this ain't the crime of the century were talking about here.

Young people do stupid things. You old people like me out there, admit it. When you were young people you did stupid things too.

I'm glad Officer Faulk was not hurt too badly as a result of this. momcheers, you are getting dangerously close to blaming Darin for this. Maybe you should take a ride along for a night and see what it's like to be a cop in a small town. It's not what you think..



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