Judge may cut 110-year sentence for trucker in fatal Denver crash

‘We are talking about a murderer ... I have never thought about hurting anybody in my life’

A judge on Monday was set to consider a request from prosecutors to reduce the 110-year prison sentence of a truck driver for a crash that killed four people in suburban Denver.

The sentence given to Rogel Aguilera-Mederos (26) has drawn outrage countrywide and among truckers. About five million people have signed an online petition seeking clemency for him.

In addition to the prosecution’s request to lower the sentence, Aguilera-Mederos has requested clemency from Colorado governor Jared Polis.

Last week, district attorney Alexis King said in a statement she would seek a term of 20 to 30 years in the 2019 wreck on Interstate 70 west of Denver – a sentencing range that reflects an “appropriate outcome” for Aguilera-Mederos’ conduct.


“As the jury found, Mr Aguilera-Mederos knowingly made multiple active choices that resulted in the death of four people, serious injuries to others, and mass destruction,” said Mr King.

District court judge Bruce Jones imposed the 110-year sentence against Aguilera-Mederos on December 13th after finding it was the mandatory minimum term set forth under state law.

“I will state that if I had the discretion, it would not be my sentence,” said the judge during the hearing.

One of Aguilera-Mederos’ attorneys, Leonard Martinez, said the district attorney’s new requested sentencing range is not consistent with similar cases in Colorado and the United States.

“We plan to move forward and to keep all options open in achieving justice for Rogel, including the possibility of clemency from governor Polis,” said Mr Martinez.

Colorado law allows for sentences for crimes deemed violent to be modified in cases with “unusual and extenuating circumstances,” but those sentences cannot take effect until 119 days after a person enters prison.

Aguilera-Mederos testified that he was hauling lumber when the brakes on his trailer failed as he was descending a steep grade of Interstate 70 in the Rocky Mountain foothills on April 25th, 2019.

Ploughed into vehicles

His truck ploughed into vehicles that had slowed because of another wreck, setting off a chain-reaction wreck and a fireball that consumed vehicles and melted parts of the highway.

He wept as he apologised to the victims’ families at his December 13th sentencing.

“When I look at my charges, we are talking about a murderer, which is not me,” he said. “I have never thought about hurting anybody in my entire life.”

Prosecutors argued he should have used a runaway ramp designed for such situations. Aguilera-Mederos, for his part, said he was struggling to avoid traffic and trying to shift to slow down.

Relatives of victims supported at least some prison time at his sentencing hearing. – AP