1:13 PM PST, December 20, 2021
Viral TikTok posts show hundreds of truckers saying they were boycotting Colorado after a driver was sentenced to 110 years in prison for a fiery crash that killed four people.
Social media exploded Monday with posts from long-haul drivers showing long lines of trucks whose operators refuse to travel through the state of Colorado, where Rogel Aguilera-Mederos was convicted.
“We fully support and stand with the boycott of industry and business to Colorado,” said Tony Salas, co-founder of the Greater Houston Trucking Association. The company the driver had worked for is based in Houston.
Meanwhile, a Change.org petition has gained more than 4.3 million signatures in an effort to get clemency for Aguilera-Mederos from Colorado’s governor, or to commute his sentence to time served.
The driver 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.
Aguilera-Mederos said he lost control of a semi-truck after its brakes failed on a downhill section of Interstate 70 in April 2019. He was 23 at the time.
“A lot of truckers are afraid to go to Colorado. Colorado has a lot of mountains, a lot of hills,” Salas said. “He was only 23 years old and had never drove outside of Texas and went into a terrain that has a lot of mountains,” he added. “From our understanding, there was already an incident ahead of him, and his equipment failed on him.”
Aguilera-Mederos wept in court last week during his sentencing hearing.
“I know that it has been hard and heartbreaking for everyone involved in this tragedy,” he said. “Your honor, I don’t know why I’m alive. Like for what?” he said.
“I ask God too many times why them and not me? Why did I survive that accident?” he added.
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 he had “no desire” to sentence Aguilera-Mederos to life in prison, but state required the sentences to be served consecutively instead of concurrently.
The driver had no alcohol or drugs in his system when he was tested after the crash, authorities said.