FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado man who evaded police for 14 hours during a manhunt in March has been sentenced to 35 years in prison after pleading guilty to seven felony charges.
Adam Fulford, 34, addressed the Fort Collins courtroom before a judge accepted the plea deal with the stipulated sentence on Thursday, the Loveland Daily Reporter-Herald reported.
As part of the agreement, the charges to which Fulford pleaded guilty included assault, aggravated robbery, burglary, possession of a dangerous weapon and aggravated motor vehicle theft. At one point during the case, Fulford was charged with 48 felonies.
Fulford apologized to Tara Hildebrand. She and her two children were injured when Fulford struck their vehicle during a high-speed police chase.
“Violence never enters my thoughts unless I’m condemning it or trying to prevent it,” Fulford said. “The accusations I faced are so out of my character. My heart broke into 1,000 pieces when I found out I injured a family.”
Fulford said he was convinced officers would use deadly force when they tried to serve an arrest warrant in connection with a missed court appearance in a felony drug case. So he ran and hid. Fulford said he covered himself with mud and rocks during the overnight search, and police came within feet of him.
Hildebrand also spoke and criticized the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office for continuing the pursuit despite knowing Fulford’s address.
“I’ve been told the crash was worth his arrest. No child’s life is worth arresting a drug addict,” Hildebrand said. “I have had three police officers tell me they had so much fun during the chase. I was shocked to hear the department thinks the cost and the risk is worth the chase. I firmly believe they do not know the actual cost or risk.”
Hildebrand and her 9-year-old daughter broke multiple bones from the crash. Her 11-year-old son broke his hand. Hildebrand said her daughter will require additional surgeries to ensure her bones grow correctly.
Deputy District Attorney David Vandenberg defended the actions of law enforcement officers. He said it was Fulford who controlled the speed of the chase.
“This was not a person they were trying to arrest because he was using or possessing drugs,” Vandenberg said.