Colorado truck driver: 4.4 million sign petition asking for reduced sentence in I-70 crash
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More than 4.4 million people signed an online petition calling for clemency for the truck driver who was sentenced to 110 years in prison for the deadly 2019 crash on Colorado’s I-70 that resulted in four deaths.
A Change.org spokesperson told KDVR.com that the petition is the fastest growing on the website in all of 2021.
“There doesn’t seem to be an intentionality of murder, and he’s getting a sentence that would rival a mass murder,” Bryan Kuhn, an attorney, told the website. “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.”
FILE – This 2019 photo provided by the Lakewood Police Department shows Rogel Aguilera-Mederos. (Lakewood Police Department via AP, File)
(Lakewood Police Department via AP, File)
Rogel Aguilera-Medros, 26, was convicted of vehicular homicide and other charges earlier this month. He testified that he tried to slam on the brakes to stop his semitrailer hauling lumber on April 25, 2019, but said they failed.
Prosecutors focused on his decision not to take any runaway truck ramps while traveling about 85 mph on Interstate 70 west of Denver.
The chain-reaction wreck ruptured gas tanks, causing flames that consumed several vehicles and melted parts of the highway. Those killed were Miguel Angel Lamas Arellano, 24; William Bailey, 67; Doyle Harrison, 61; and Stanley Politano, 69.
He teared up while addressing the court at sentencing earlier this month and asked the families of the victims to forgive him.
“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.”
District Court Judge Bruce Jones imposed the sentence after finding it was the mandatory minimum term under state law, The Denver Post reported.
“I will state that if I had the discretion, it would not be my sentence,” the judge said.
“I can’t think of the last case here, or anywhere else, where somebody committed a negligent or reckless crime that resulted in such a sentence,” he told the station. “It’s really telling of how the government can come down and really crush someone if they want to.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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