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Millions sign petition to reduce 110-year sentence for truck driver who caused deadly crash

A petition to grant clemency to the truck driver who caused a crash that killed four people on a Colorado interstate has garnered more than 3 million signatures on Change.org.

Rogel Aguilera-Mederos

Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, 26, was sentenced Monday to 110 years in prison after a jury found him guilty in October of 27 counts, including vehicular homicide, first-degree assault, attempted first-degree assault, vehicular assault, reckless driving and careless driving.

According to Change.org, the petition for Aguilera-Mederos is the fastest-growing petition on the website for all of 2021, with more than 45,000 people signing the petition over a one-hour stretch Wednesday.

People who signed the petition are protesting Aguilera-Mederos’ lengthy prison sentence, along with his company’s role in the accident. Some of the comments from the petition include:

  • “I have truckers in my family and we have discussed this very much and he doesn’t deserve 110 years…. maybe his license taken away and a couple (5-20) years in jail, but come on this is ridiculous.” — Diana Alvarez
  • “I am a truck driver, and mechanical failures happen all the time, in trucks and trailers and in cars. This is a disservice to the justice system and the professional driver affected by these judgements. I’m mortified to think that if I was in the same situation that such judgement could be passed against me. There is already a shortage of professional drivers in the United States, and this judgement doesn’t do our country any favors in regards to this. It is really a shame that people of more privileged backgrounds can receive a DUI and kill a family in the process and receive probation. However, a man trying to do his job and has equipment fail can get a sentence of more than a century.” — Justin Watson
  • “This poor man should never have been charged with a crime. This was in no way his fault. If anything, the company should be charged for faulty brakes. And I don’t even think they should be charged. Accidents happen everyday, tragically, and people are injured and killed and it’s terrible and so sad. But this poor man did nothing wrong. Please right this wrong and release him and clear his name.” — Kathy O’Bryant

Aguilera-Mederos was driving a tractor-trailer on Interstate 70 on April 25, 2019, when his truck lost its brakes coming out of the Rocky Mountains. The truck bypassed a runaway truck ramp and rammed into stopped traffic, causing a fiery 28-vehicle pileup that killed four people and wounded six others.

Those killed included: Miguel Angel Lamas Arellano, 24; William Bailey, 67; Doyle Harrison, 61; and Stanley Politano, 69.

The petition is addressed to Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and the Jefferson County (Colorado) court system. It asks Polis to grant clemency to Aguilera-Mederos.

The governor is the only person who can grant clemency at the state level. Clemency usually results in a sentence reduction or a pardon. 

The petition was initially started in 2019, shortly after Aguilera-Mederos was arrested and charged after the deadly crash, in the hopes of having his charges dropped. The petition was adjusted to appeal for clemency after Monday’s announcement.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Noi Mahoney.

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