Monday, January 17

A truck driver whose brakes broke in an accident sentenced to 110 years in prison: “I’m dead while I’m alive”


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A petition to grant clemency to the driver of an 18-wheeler sentenced to 110 years in prison for causing a major accident that killed four people in Colorado already has more than 1.65 million signatures on Change.org.

Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, 26, was driving a semi-trailer on April 25, 2019 on Interstate 70 in Lakewood, Colorado, when his brakes failed, investigators noted at the time. He tried to pull off the track to avoid traffic, but another truck was there. “Rogel said he thought he was going to die, so he closed his eyes before hitting the stopped traffic”the statement document states.

Aguilera-Mederos, who tested negative for alcohol and drugs, collided with two dozen vehicles, including four other semi-trailers stuck in rush hour traffic.

The impact set off an explosion that set cars on fire and killed four people.

More than two years later, this Monday, Aguilera-Mederos, of Texas, was sentenced to 110 years in prison by County Court Judge A. Bruce Jones, who said his hands were tied due to mandatory minimum laws in the state.

He sentenced Aguilera-Mederos to the minimum of the 27 criminal charges he was charged with, according to the Denver Channel. The charges were, among others, vehicular manslaughter, physical assault and reckless driving.

«I am dying in life. It is hard to live with this trauma. I can not sleep”Aguilera-Mederos of Cuban origin said through tears during the last judicial session in which all the parties involved intervened.

“Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, 23, has nothing on his driving or criminal record,” reads the Change.org petition for clemency for Aguilera-Mederos, which was addressed to Colorado Governor Jared Polis and to the Jefferson County Courts.

The governor is the only person who can grant clemency at the state level. Polis most recently commuted four sentences and issued 18 pardons in December 2020. Clemency generally results in a sentence reduction or clemency.

“He has passed all the drug and alcohol tests that were made,” explains the Change.org petition for the trucker’s pardon. “This accident was not intentional, nor was it a criminal act on the part of the drivers. No one other than the trucking company I worked for should be responsible for this accident (…) The trucking company has had several inspections since 2017, with several mechanical violations.

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