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Colorado truck driver’s sentence reduced from 110 years to 10

Action News Jax
Action News Jax
 2021-12-31
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DENVER — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on Thursday reduced the prison sentence for a former truck driver convicted of causing a fatal crash that killed four people from 110 years to 10 years.

In a letter, Polis called the sentence imposed on Rogel Aguilera-Mederos “highly atypical and unjust,” The Denver Post reported.

“You were sentenced to 110 years in prison, effectively more than a life sentence, for a tragic but unintentional act,” Polis wrote in the letter. “While you are not blameless, your sentence is disproportionate compared with many other inmates in our criminal justice system who committed intentional, premeditated, or violent crimes.”

Aguilera-Mederos will be eligible for parole on Dec. 30, 2026, according to the Post.

The truck driver was driving on Interstate 70 in Colorado on April 25, 2019, when his truck crashed into multiple cars, The New York Times reported.

Aguilera-Mederos was convicted by a jury in October of 27 counts, including vehicular homicide and vehicular assault. The counts included 16 first-degree assault and attempted first-degree assault charges, the Post reported. Under Colorado’s mandatory minimum sentencing laws, those “crimes of violence” must be sentenced consecutively, not concurrently.

He was sentenced to 110 years in prison after Judge A. Bruce Jones followed the law.

Aguilera-Mederos claimed the brakes on his truck malfunctioned.

Prosecutors said Aguilera-Mederos was responsible because he didn’t steer the truck to a runaway truck ramp, the Times reported.

“Justice was served,” attorney James Colgan, who represented Aguilera-Mederos, told ABC News in a statement. “This commutation is far more reflective of the crime than 110 years. This type of justice is exactly why I went to law school and why I continue to practice law. Mr. Mederos will be forever grateful for the millions of people that supported him.”

Mederos was sentenced on Dec. 13 to 110 years in prison for a 2019 fatal crash on Interstate 70, outside Denver, that killed four people and injured several others -- a sentence the judge said he wouldn’t have chosen if he had the discretion. Mederos testified that his brakes failed, but he was driving 85 mph when the speed limit was 45 mph and he drove past a runaway truck ramp before plowing into stopped traffic, police said.

He was found guilty by a Jefferson County jury of 27 counts -- the most serious was first-degree assault, a class-three felony.

The number of the charges, mandatory minimum laws and a classification that mandates some sentences be served consecutively resulted in the lengthy sentence.

Polis’ decision comes after Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence prompted more than 5 million people to sign a petition calling on the governor to reduce the sentence.

First Judicial District Attorney Alexis King, whose office prosecuted the case, requested that the judge reconsider the sentence, KDVR-TV reported. Jones had indicated he was open to reconsider it, the television station reported.

During sentencing, Aguilera-Mederos said that he regretted the crash and that he wished he had died instead of the other victims.

“My life is not a happy life,” Aguilera-Mederos told KCNC-TV. “It is a very sad life because four people died.”

©2021 Cox Media Group

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