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Over 3 million sign petition to change 110-year jail sentence of truck driver in crash that killed 4

Over 3 million people have signed a petition demanding to change the 110-year jail sentence handed down Monday to the truck driver who said he lost control of his brakes in a fiery Colorado crash that left four dead. 

Just four days after Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, 26, was given his hefty sentence based on the state’s mandatory minimum laws, over 3 million people have signed the petition demanding his sentence be commuted to time served or that Gov. Jared Police grant him clemency. 

Dec. 14, 202101:53

“He’s passed all of the drug and alcohol tests that were given, including a chemical test. This accident was not intentional, nor was it a criminal act on the driver’s part,” the petition states.

“No one but the trucking company … should be held accountable for this accident,” the petition adds. “This tragic accident wasn’t done with intent, it wasn’t a criminal act, it was an accident.” 

Gov. Polis’ office said in a statement on potential clemency to NBC affiliate KSN: “We are aware of this issue, the Governor and his team review each clemency application individually.”

NBC News has reached out to Polis’ office for further comment.

Workers clear debris on Interstate 70 in Lakewood, Colo., from a pileup involving a semitrailer hauling lumber on April 26, 2019.David Zalubowski / AP file

Aguilera-Mederos, then 23, said the brakes on the semitrailer he was driving failed on the downhill grade on I-70 eastbound before he crashed into cars that were stopped because of another accident on April 25, 2019. In the wreck, vehicles erupted in flames.

Four Coloradans — Doyle Harrison, 61; William Bailey, 67; Stanley Politano, 69; and Miguel Lamas Arrellano, 24 — died in the crash.

Prosecutors argued that Aguilera-Mederos acted recklessly and made a series of poor decisions before the deadly wreck, including failing to use a runaway truck ramp on the side of the highway, NBC affiliate KUSA of Denver reported during the trial.

A jury in October found Aguilera-Mederos guilty of 27 counts, including four counts of vehicular homicide, six counts of assault in the first degree and 10 counts of attempt to commit assault in the first degree.

A reason his sentence is so long is because under Colorado law, first-degree assault and attempted first-degree assault are deemed “crimes of violence” and their prison sentences must run consecutively, instead of concurrently, if they stem from the same incident. 

Judge A. Bruce Jones said his hands were tied due to the law, saying, “If I had the discretion, if I thought I had the discretion, I would not run those sentences consecutively.”

Aguilera-Mederos’ lawyer, James Colgan, did not immediately reply to NBC News’ request for comment.

Colgan said to the Denver Post Tuesday on Colorado’s mandatory minimum law: “The law is just so frustrating because it ends up in miscarriages of justice like this. The law is poorly written.”

Aguilera-Mederos cried at his sentencing, sharing a statement of remorse for the crash.

“I take the responsibility. But it wasn’t intentional,” he said through tears. “I would have preferred God taken me instead of them because this is no life.”


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