Truck driver sentenced to 110 years for fiery Colorado crash that killed 4

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Court, Judge Gavel, Big Stock Photos

By Keith Coffman

DENVER – A Colorado judge on Monday reluctantly sentenced a Texas truck driver to 110 years in prison following his conviction for vehicular homicide when his semi-trailer crashed into stopped traffic and killed four motorists along a mountain interstate.

Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, 26, was found guilty in October by a jury in Jefferson County, Colorado, of four homicide charges along with multiple counts of assault and reckless driving stemming from the April 2019 fiery crash.

Jefferson County District Judge Bruce Jones said Colorado law required he impose the mandatory minimum sentences to all the counts Aguilera-Mederos was convicted of, but that he had “no desire” to send him to prison for life.

“If I had the discretion, it would not be my sentence,” Jones said.

Prosecutors argued at trial that Aguilera-Mederos knew his brakes were failing but drove past at least one runaway truck ramp as he descended the mountains along Interstate 70 west of Denver.

He then recklessly weaved in and out of traffic before his trailer, which was hauling lumber, crashed into stopped traffic and burst into flames, triggering a 28-vehicle pile-up that killed four people and injured six, prosecutors said.

Aguilera-Mederos told investigators his brakes failed and he tried to avoid hitting other vehicles after losing control.

At Monday’s hearing, Megan Harrison, the daughter of one of the people killed, Doyle Harrison, told the judge “my dad was taken away from me.”

“A huge person in my life never came home,” she said.

When he addressed the court, Aguilera-Mederos wept as he begged the victims’ families for forgiveness and asked the judge for leniency.

“I am not a criminal,” he said. “I never thought about hurting anyone in my entire life.”

(Reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)