Truck driver sentenced to 110 years in prison in deadly 28-car pileup in Colorado

ByMelissa Alonso, Amir Vera and Michelle Watson
Thursday, December 16, 2021
Houston truck driver sentenced in 2019 Colorado crash
"Your honor, I don't know why I'm alive." The Houston truck driver spoke emotionally in court as he was sentenced for a fiery crash that killed four people.

LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- A truck driver who crashed into traffic on Interstate 70 in Denver, killing four people, was sentenced Monday to 110 years in prison, according to Colorado Judicial Department spokesperson Rob McCallum.

Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, 26, was driving a semi tractor-trailer in April 2019, traveling at 85 mph, when the brakes failed, he told investigators at the time. He tried to pull over to the shoulder to avoid stopped traffic, but another semi had already stopped there, according to an arrest affidavit.

The crash led to a fiery 28-car pileup that left four dead, the Lakewood Police Department said at the time. Aguilera-Mederos was found guilty in October and convicted on vehicular homicide and 23 other charges, according to Colorado's First Judicial District Attorney's Office.

The other 23 charges include six counts of assault in the first degree -- extreme indifference; 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.

Aguilera-Mederos was sentenced to the minimum available to him on all counts, to be served consecutively, which totals 110 years, McCallum said.

During a sentencing hearing Monday, Colorado District Court Judge A. Bruce Jones said he was bound to the mandatory-minimum sentencing laws in the state, according to CNN affiliate KMGH.

"Colorado law requires courts to sentence most individuals convicted of certain categories of crimes to a mandatory minimum period of incarceration," according to the Colorado General Assembly website.

"There will be an appeal as to the facts and mistakes made in the trial," said attorney James Colgan, who represents Aguilera-Mederos. Colgan told CNN Aguilera-Mederos does not deserve to die in prison.

"The issue with this appeal will not be the sentence itself. Under the law, the Court was not incorrect. However, the law, as written, is barbaric and Draconian," Colgan told CNN. "There needs to be a change in the law."

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