A truck driver convicted on charges in connection with a 2019 crash in Colorado that killed four people was sentenced Monday to 110 years in prison.
Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, of Houston, was sentenced in a Jefferson County, Colorado, courtroom by Judge A. Bruce Jones, who gave Aguilera-Mederos the minimum sentence on 27 counts, which will be served consecutively.
On April 25, 2019, Aguilera-Mederos, 26, was driving a tractor-trailer on Interstate 70 when the truck lost its brakes coming out of the Rocky Mountains. The truck bypassed a runaway truck ramp and rammed into stopped traffic, causing a fiery 28-vehicle pileup that killed four people and wounded six others.
Those killed included: Miguel Angel Lamas Arellano, 24; William Bailey, 67; Doyle Harrison, 61; and Stanley Politano, 69.
A jury in October found Aguilera-Mederos guilty 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.
He was found not guilty on 15 counts of first-degree attempt to commit assault.
Prosecutors in the case argued that Aguilera-Mederos made a series of bad choices that resulted in the crash, including his failure to use a runaway truck ramp on the highway.
Aguilera-Mederos wept and apologized in the courtroom after his sentencing was announced. He maintained there was little he could do after losing brakes coming out of the mountains.
“I am not a murderer. I am not a killer,” Aguilera-Mederos said after his sentence was announced in court, according to the Denver Post. “I lost my brakes. The truck drivers, they know it’s a hard moment, you can’t do anything. You can’t do anything.”
Jones said he had to sentence Aguilera-Mederos under the guidelines set by the law but may revise the sentence in the future if Aguilera-Mederos seeks a review. The judge said he had “no desire to see” Aguilera-Mederos in prison for the rest of his life.
“I accept and respect what the defendant has said about his lack of intent to hurt people, but he made a series of terrible decisions, reckless decisions,” Jones said.