Judge Hands Down 100+ Year Jail Sentence To Trucker Who Killed Four in Colorado
A Colorado judge has sentenced the trucker who killed four people after his malfunctioning semi crashed into stopped traffic on I-70 back in 2019 to over 100 years in prison.
According to multiple news outlets, Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, who is now 26, was sentenced to 110 years in prison on Monday, Dec. 13, as a result of the chain-reaction crash that took the lives of four and injured several others in April 2019.
Trucker Loses His Brakes In Semi Truck, Rams Into Stopped Traffic On Colorado's I-70
On April 25, 2019, Rogel Aguilera-Mederos reportedly lost his brakes in Colorado’s high country and failed to take a runaway truck ramp in an effort to prevent an accident/collision. Shortly after, his speeding semi rammed into stopped traffic under an overpass in Lakewood, the Greeley Tribune says, which ultimately resulted in a fatal, fiery 28-car pile-up along I-70.
Four individuals — Doyle Harrison, 61; William Bailey, 67; Stanley Politano, 69; and Miguel Lamas Arrellano, 24 — all from Colorado, were killed in the crash.
Officials have said that Aguilera-Mederos was operating a truck with a trailer carrying lumber and was traveling an estimated 85 mph in an area where the speed limit for commercial vehicles is 45 mph.
Back in October, a jury found Aguilera-Mederos guilty of four counts of vehicular homicide, six counts of first-degree assault, 10 counts of attempted first-degree assault, four counts of careless driving causing death, two counts of vehicular assault, and one count of reckless driving.
Sentencing Rogel Aguilera-Mederos
During the hearing led by Judge Bruce Jones earlier this week, Aguilera-Mederos wept as he spoke before the court during his sentencing, stating that while he does take responsibility for the incident, he vows that it was not intentional.
“I am not a criminal,” Aguilera-Mederos said, as per reports via the Greeley Tribune; “I am not a murderer. I am not a killer. When I look at my charges, we are talking about a murderer, which is not me. I have never thought about hurting anybody in my entire life.”
“I lost my brakes,” he said, weeping. “The truck drivers, they know it’s a hard moment, you can’t do anything. You can’t do anything.”
He also shared his struggles with having to live with the thought of the heartbreaking incident -
“It’s hard to live with this trauma. I can’t sleep, I’m thinking all the time about the victims,” Aguilera-Mederos added; “... this was a terrible accident, I know. I take the responsibility. But it wasn’t intentional.”
Prosecutors, on the other hand, argued that Aguilera-Mederos acted recklessly and made a series of poor decisions before the deadly wreck, which includes failing to use a runaway truck ramp on the side of the highway in an effort to prevent any accidents/collisions.
Victims' Relatives Sound Off During Aguilera-Mederos Sentencing
Multiple individuals related to the victims in the crash spoke before the judge during Aguilera-Mederos' sentencing, including Duane Bailey - the brother of victim William Bailey - who said he felt the crash was a crime, not an accident. Furthermore, he asked the judge to sentence Aguilera-Mederos to at least 20 years in prison.
In fact, most of the family members of the people who died in the crash asked that Aguilera-Mederos face prison time, according to the Greeley Tribune, though none of the victims' relatives personally sought a life sentence for Aguilera-Mederos.
“He made a deliberate and intentional decision that his life was more important than everyone else on the road that day,” Duane Bailey said.
“My dad was taken away from me,” Megan Harrison, the daughter of the late Doyle Harrison said. “A huge person in my life just never came home.”
Rogel Aguilera-Mederos faced a mandatory minimum of 110 years in prison, as per the mandatory minimum sentence set forth under state law; District Court Judge Bruce Jones said during sentencing that he had no discretion to impose a shorter prison term.
“I will state that if I had the discretion, it would not be my sentence,” Jones said, according to the Greeley Tribune.
Aguilera-Mederos’ attorney, James Colgan, argued Monday that case law does allow Jones to find a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years; Colgan said during sentencing that the lighter sentence was more appropriate for his client's case.
“There are no winners here, judge,” Colgan said. “No one wins, no matter what. We have a courtroom full of broken lives… It’s just tragic. There is no other way to put it.”