8:57 AM PST, December 28, 2021
A Colorado truck driver who was sentenced to 110 years behind bars may get his sentence reduced after national outrage about the case. A Colorado district attorney from the office that prosecuted the case of Rogel Aguilera-Mederos will ask for a new prison term of 20 to 30 years. First Judicial District Attorney Alexis King told reporters on Monday that the case was “exceptional” and requires “an exceptional process.”
“We have and will take the necessary steps for the court — who is the most informed about what happened in this case — to strike the appropriate balance when considering a new sentence,” King said.
In April 2019, Aguilera-Mederos said he lost control of a semi-truck after its brakes failed on a downhill section of Interstate 70. The crash caused a chain-reaction crash that included 28 other vehicles and killed four people: Doyle Harrison, 61; William Bailey, 67; Stanley Politano, 69; and Miguel Lamas Arrellano, 24.
He was found guilty in October on 27 charges that included four counts of vehicular homicide, six counts of first-degree assault, 10 counts of attempt to commit assault in the first degree–extreme indifference, two counts of vehicular assault, one count of reckless driving, and four counts of careless driving causing death.
However, shortly after Aguilera-Mederos received his sentence, people across the country began coming to his defense, calling the crash an accident. Viral TikTok posts show hundreds of truckers saying they were boycotting Colorado his sentencing.
Meanwhile, a Change.org petition has garnered more than 5 million signatures in an effort to get clemency for Aguilera-Mederos from Colorado’s governor, or to commute his sentence to time served.
In response to the new potential sentencing, Aguilera-Mederos’ lawyers said they still think that 20 to 30 years is “significantly higher than we think is just.”
“It’s always been our contention that this was a series of negligent decisions,” James Colgan, Aguilera-Mederos; lawyer, said. “He’s not a danger to society. Those are the kinds of sentences you give to dangers to society.”
At the time of Aguilera-Mederos’ sentencing, the judge said state sentencing guidelines allowed him no leeway in ordering the driver’s incarceration time.
“If I had the discretion, it would not be my sentence,” Jefferson County District Judge Bruce Jones said. He also told the court he had “no desire” to sentence Aguilera-Mederos to life in prison, but the state required the sentences to be served consecutively instead of concurrently.
No drugs or alcohol were involved in the crash.