It’s ‘not right’: Juror hits out at 110 year sentence for truck driver Rogel Aguilera-Mederos

Juror calls 110-year sentence ‘not right’ for the trucker over 28-vehicle crash that killed four people

Rachel Sharp
Tuesday 21 December 2021 20:13 GMT
Rogel Aguilera-Mederos cries as he speaks at his sentencing
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A juror who convicted truck driver Rogel Aguilera-Mederos over a deadly 2019 crash has revealed he “cried my eyes out” after learning the driver had been sentenced to 110 years in prison.

The juror said that, while he found the 26-year-old guilty on 27 charges, he believes the lengthy sentence is “not right” and is “100-fold of what it should have been”.

“There is just something wrong to where a judge cannot intervene in some way and say the way this is written is not right,” he told FOX31.

The juror, who wished to remain anonymous, spoke out as uproar continues to mount in the aftermath of Aguilera-Mederos’ sentencing on 13 December.

Aguilera-Mederos, a Cuban immigrant who said he moved to the US to provide a better life for his family, was driving an 18-wheeler semi-truck along Interstate 70 in Lakewood, near Denver, Colorado on 25 April 2019.

He said he lost control of the vehicle when the brakes failed, sending the truck crashing into 28 vehicles and causing a fiery explosion.

Four people – Doyle Harrison, 61, William Bailey, 67, Miguel Angel Lamas Arrellano, 24, and Stanley Politano, 69 – were killed in the blaze.

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.

During his sentencing last week, Aguilera-Mederos sobbed as he begged for leniency and said he wished he could switch places with those who were killed in the crash.

“I would have preferred God taken me instead of them,” he wept.

But, despite his pleas, the judge said his hands were tied due to Colorado law which requires each charge to be served consecutively rather than concurrently. With 27 charges, this amounted to the 110 years.

The sentencing sparked an instant backlash nationwide, with a Change.org petition calling for Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence to be commuted as time served or for Governor Jared Polis to grant him clemency reaching more than 4.5 million signatures by Tuesday morning.

Fellow truck drivers have also rallied behind his cause, posting videos on TikTok under the hashtag #NoTrucksToColorado and saying they are refusing to drive through the state of Colorado.

Rogeles Aguilera-Mederos wipes away tears in court where he was sentenced to 110 years in prison
Rogeles Aguilera-Mederos wipes away tears in court where he was sentenced to 110 years in prison (YouTube/CBS4)

Protests have also been planned in support of Aguilera-Mederos with one held outside the state capitol on Monday.

While this failed to attract a large crowd, another rally has been planned by separate organisers for 27 December.

Aguilera-Mederos’ attorney said he is filing an application for clemency from the governor.

The governor’s office said it was “aware of this issue” and that the governor and his team “review each clemency application individually”.

As of Monday, the office said it was yet to receive a clemency application but would welcome it and expedite consideration if and when it does.

Yet, while the juror welcomes a reduced sentence, he said he stands by his decision to find Aguilera-Mederos guilty and does not agree with the calls for clemency.

“I don’t the governor should sit there and offer him clemency and let him off,” he said.

“But to step in and say this would be a more suitable sentence for what had happened.”

One of the victims’ families has also said she believes he deserves a prison sentence for his crime.

Mr Bailey’s widow Gage Evans told CBS Denver Aguilera-Mederos “was found guilty of reckless behavior that killed my husband – that was the most important thing to me”.

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