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Colorado judge asked to consider reducing 110-year prison sentence for truck driver

Rogel Aguilera-Mederos.png
Posted at 2:21 PM, Dec 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-27 16:21:23-05

DENVER — On Monday, a Colorado district attorney urged a judge to consider reducing a truck driver's 110-year jail sentence for an explosive crash in suburban Denver that killed four people.

Prosecutors and attorneys for Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, 26, were in court on Monday morning for a status hearing, during which a re-sentencing hearing was scheduled for Jan. 13, 2022, to discuss the possible sentence adjustment. The 110-year sentence has sparked indignation across the country, particularly among truckers, with over 5 million people joining an online petition to grant him clemency.

Fox News reported, last week, District Attorney Alexis King said in a statement that she would seek a sentence of 20 to 30 years in prison for Aguilera-Mederos' conduct in the 2019 collision on Interstate 70 west of Denver, a sentencing range that she believes is "fair."

"As the jury found, Mr. Aguilera-Mederos knowingly made multiple active choices that resulted in the death of four people, serious injuries to others, and mass destruction," King said.

In addition to the prosecution's plea for a reduced sentence, Aguilera-Mederos has asked Colorado Governor Jared Polis for clemency. On Dec. 13, District Court Judge Bruce Jones handed down the 110-year sentence to Aguilera-Mederos after determining that it was the state's mandated minimum term.

On April 25, 2019, Aguilera-Mederos was hauling lumber when his semitrailer's brakes failed as he was descending a high grade on Interstate 70 in the Rocky Mountain foothills. His truck slammed into vehicles that had stopped due to another accident, causing a chain reaction that destroyed vehicles and melted portions of the highway.

At his sentence on Dec. 13, he wept as he apologized to the victims' families. "When I look at my charges, we are talking about a murderer, which is not me," he said. "I have never thought about hurting anybody in my entire life."

Prosecutors claimed he should have utilized a runaway ramp built for instances like these. For his part, Aguilera-Mederos said he was trying to avoid traffic and shifting to slow down. Miguel Angel Lamas Arellano, 24, was killed in the crash, as were William Bailey, 67, Doyle Harrison, 61, and Stanley Politano, 69. At his sentencing hearing, relatives of the victims advocated for at least some prison time.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.