Millions Sign Petition For Truck Driver Sentenced To 110 Years In Prison

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[CBS Denver][YouTube]

Damir Mujezinovic

In April 2019, truck driver Rogel Aguilera-Mederos crashed his 18-wheeler into traffic on Interstate 70 in Denver, Colorado.

Four men -- Doyle Harrison, William Bailey, Miguel Angel Lamas Arrellano, and Stanley Politano -- died in the crash, and several others were injured.

Aguilera-Mederos, who is a Cuban immigrant, was sentenced to 110 consecutive years in prison this week, after being found guilty of multiple counts of reckless driving, careless driving and vehicular assault.

But is he really to blame for what happened given that his brakes did not work?

Petition

Nearly four million people have signed a change.org petition demanding that Aguilera-Mederos' sentence be commuted.

The petition, which was launched by a woman named Heather Gilbee, states that "we all know of the crash that happened on I-70 in Denver, Colorado."

"Most of us have heard facts in the case. Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, 23 has nothing on his driving record, or on his criminal history. He had complied with every single request by the Jefferson County courts, and investigators on the case. 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 drivers part," the petition says.

Trucking Company

[CBS Denver][YouTube]

The petitioners believe the trucking company that employed Aguilera-Mederos is to blame for the tragic accident.

"No one but the trucking company he is/was employed by should be held accountable for this accident. No, we are not trying to make it seem any less of a tragic accident that it is because yes, lives were lost. We are trying to hold the person who needs to be held responsible, responsible," the petition says.

"The trucking company has had several inspections since 2017, with several mechanical violations. 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," it continues.

Legal Experts Weigh In

Legal experts believe the 110-year prison sentence is too harsh, since Aguilera-Mederos was an exemplary employee whose brakes just happened to fail.

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

"It’s really telling of how the government can come down and really crush someone if they want to," criminal defense attorney Jay Tiftickjian told the outlet, noting that he can't think of a similar case.

Jared Polis

Democratic Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is about the only person who could reduce Aguilera-Mederos' sentence, but it remains unclear if he is willing to do so.

In a brief statement, his office said that it is "aware of this issue, the Governor and his team review each clemency application individually."

The editorial board of The Denver Post has also urged Polis to commute Aguilera-Mederos' sentence, arguing that the man does not deserve to spend the rest of his life in prison because he did not intentionally kill anyone.

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