Lawyer for truck driver Rogel Aguilera-Mederos appeals for clemency as petition hits 4.5 million signatures

Calls for Rogel Aguilera-Mederos to be granted clemency ramp up after he was sentenced to 110 years in prison over a 28-vehicle crash that killed for

Rachel Sharp
Tuesday 21 December 2021 17:02 GMT
Rogel Aguilera-Mederos breaks down in court over fatal accident
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The lawyer for truck driver Rogel Aguilera-Mederos has vowed to appeal for clemency from Colorado Governor Jared Polis, as a petition for his release hit 4.5 million signatures and counting.

Attorney James Colgan told KDVR that an application for clemency commutation for the jailed 26-year-old is “in the works”.

“Part of the application process requires the findings and evaluations by the Department of Corrections be sent to the governor,” he said.

“That isn’t the case with Mr. Mederos. He hasn’t been in the system very long.”

Mr Colgan did not provide details on when he expects to file the application.

Aguilera-Mederos was sentenced to 110 years in Colorado prison on 13 December for causing a 28-vehicle fireball crash that killed four people back in April 2019.

The Cuban immigrant, who was driving the 18-wheeler semi-truck for his job at Houston-based trucking company Castellano 03 Trucking LLC at the time, said the vehicle lost its braking function along Interstate 70 in Lakewood, near Denver, causing it to plow into dozens of vehicles.

Doyle Harrison, 61, William Bailey, 67, Miguel Angel Lamas Arrellano,24 and Stanley Politano, 69, were all killed in the raging inferno which erupted following the crash.

Aguilera-Mederos was found guilty of 27 charges in October including 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- reckless, one count of reckless driving, and four counts of careless driving causing death.

The sentencing judge said he had “no desire” to sentence Aguilera-Mederos to life in prison but had no choice due to Colorado’s mandatory-minimum sentencing laws.

The aftermath of the crash along Interstate 70 in Lakewood, Colorado, in April 2019
The aftermath of the crash along Interstate 70 in Lakewood, Colorado, in April 2019 (AP)

The hefty sentence has sparked outrage and truckers have rallied in support of their fellow driver, arguing that he will spend his life behind bars over a tragic accident while people convicted of crimes such as murder often receive lower sentences.

Truck drivers have been posting social media videos in a show of solidarity with Aguilera-Mederos under the trending hashtag #NoTrucksToColorado and some have vowed to boycott driving through the state of Colorado.

A petition calling for Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence to be commuted as time served or for the governor to grant him clemency had reached more than 4.5 million signatures by Tuesday morning.

The governor’s office said in a statement last week that it was “aware of this issue” of Aguilera-Mederos’ case and that the governor and his team “review each clemency application individually”.

On Monday, the office told KDVR it was yet to receive a clemency application for Aguilera-Mederos but would welcome it and expedite consideration if and when it does.

The governor has the power to reduce the trucker’s sentence or grant him a full pardon, which would free him immediately.

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