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Millions Sign Petition Urging Reduced Sentence For 26-Year-Old Trucker Who Got 110 Years For Deadly Crash

Millions Sign Petition Urging Reduced Sentence For 26-Year-Old Trucker Who Got 110 Years For Deadly Crash
CBS Denver/YouTube; Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Millions signed an online petition to lessen the sentencing for Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, the 26-year-old truck driver who was sentenced to a minimum of 110 years in prison after killing four people in a fiery crash on a Colorado highway.

Mederos was convicted for causing a deadly pileup after losing control of his semitrailer on Interstate 70 near Denver on April 25, 2019.

He was 23 at the time.

According to The Denver Post, District Court Judge Bruce Jones imposed the sentence after finding it was the mandatory minimum sentence set forth under the state law.

Said Jones:

"I will state that if I had the discretion, it would not be my sentence."

Online supporters who believed the crash was unintentional started a petition asking Colorado Governor Jared Polis to grant Aguilera-Mederos clemency or commutation as time served.

Truckers also boycotted Colorado in protest.

You can watch the CBS Denver news report, here.

Fox 13 reported a jury convicted Aguilera-Mederos of "four counts of vehicular homicide, six counts of first-degree assault, 10 counts of attempted first-degree assault, four counts of careless driving causing death, two counts of vehicular assault and one count of reckless driving."

Investigators said Aguilera-Mederos was hauling lumber on a stretch of the interstate with a commercial vehicle speed limit of 45 mph.

However, he was careening down at 85 mph due to the steep descent from the Rocky Mountain foothills,

Aguilera-Mederos testified the brakes on his semitrailer failed and he crashed into vehicles that had apparently slowed for a different wreck near the Denver suburb of Lakewood.

The crash from his semitrailer caused a 28-vehicle pileup which resulted in a giant fireball erupting from a ruptured gas tank that consumed several vehicles and melted parts of the highway.

Prosecutors argued he could've used one of several runaway ramps designed to prevent collisions in the event a truck driver lost control of their vehicle.

Police said Aguilera-Mederos had passed a runaway ramp before reaching the crash site.

The pileup accident killed Miguel Angel Lamas Arellano, 24; William Bailey, 67; Doyle Harrison, 61; and Stanley Politano, 69.

The petition's author, Heather Gilbee, stated Aguilera-Mederos had a clean driving record and no criminal history. She faulted the trucking company as the reason for the tragic accident.

"He had complied with every single request by the Jefferson County courts, and investigators on the case," wrote Gilbee.

"He's passed all of the drug and alcohol tests that were given including a chemical test."
"This accident was not intentional, nor was it a criminal act on the driver's part. No one but the trucking company he is/was employed by should be held accountable for this accident."

Gilbee didn't minimize the magnitude of the tragedy and she acknowledged the lives lost, but she wanted to "hold the person who needs to be held responsible, responsible."

"The trucking company has had several inspections since 2017, with several mechanical violations," she continued.

"There are many things Rogel could have done to avoid the courts, but he took responsibility showed up, and severely apologized to the victims' families."
"Some of the families even offered Forgiveness. Rogel is not a criminal, the company he was working for knew the federal laws that go into truck driving but they failed to follow those laws."

A spokesperson for said the campaign was the fastest-growing petition in all of 2021, with around 45,000 signatures within an hour of its posting on Wednesday.

Attorney Bryan Kuhn told FOX 31 Denver Aguilera-Mederos' story resonated with millions of people because they believed the crash was not a criminal act.

"There doesn’t seem to be an intentionality of murder, and he’s getting a sentence that would rival a mass murderer," Kuhn said.

"I think that is not sitting well, I think a lot of people think there maybe should be a long jail sentence, but this may be just a little too much for some folks."

At his sentencing, Aguilera-Mederos wept as he apologized to the victims' families and asked them for forgiveness.

"I am not a criminal," he said.

"I am not a murderer. I am not a killer. When I look at my charges, we are talking about a murderer, which is not me. I have never thought about hurting anybody in my entire life."