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Millions Want The 110-Year Sentence Of Truck Driver Whose Brakes Failed Commuted
People have been shocked by the 110-year sentence handed down to Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos after the brakes gave out on the truck he was driving.
Millions of Americans are coming to the defense of a truck driver who was sentenced to more than a century behind bars after a brake failure caused a fatal collision.
Colorado District Court Judge A. Bruce Jones last week sentenced Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, 26, to 110 years in prison for being behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler that caused a deadly crash in 2019, according to Denver-area news outlet Westword. The sentence came two months after a jury found the Cuban immigrant guilty of 27 out of 41 charges for causing the crash on Interstate 70 in Lakewood. He was also found guilty of four counts of vehicular homicide — one for each person who perished in the crash.
The judge said that he was bound to Colorado’s laws on mandatory-minimum sentencing given the convictions, Fox News reports.
During his trial, Aguilera-Mederos’ defense portrayed him as being the victim of mechanical issues, which ultimately created the brake failure that caused the fiery crash. The prosecution accused him of being irresponsible and of failing to use a runaway truck ramp nearby — a ramp that the truck driver maintains he didn’t see.
"I am not a criminal," he said at his sentencing. "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."
In October, he maintained, "I wished it would have been me."
News of Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence has been shared far and wide as of last week, and many have expressed that 110 years feels like far too much.
More than 4 million people have now signed a Change.org petition asking Colorado Gov. Jared Polis to either grant clemency to or commute the sentence of Aguilera-Mederos.
“This accident was not intentional, nor was it a criminal act on the drivers [sic] part,” the petition states. “No one but the trucking company he is/was employed by should be held accountable for this accident."
"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," it continued. "Some of the families even offered Forgiveness."
A representative from Change.org told Oxygen.com over email on Monday morning that the petition is "the fastest-growing petition on our platform in 2021."
Other truckers are also coming to Aguilera-Mederos’ defense. Several truck drivers announced, including one in a now-viral TikTok video, that they are planning to boycott driving through Colorado as a result of the harsh sentence, Fox News reports.
In a Friday statement, the ACLU of Colorado stated, “In the wake of this horrible accident, we should examine how to ensure something like this never happens again. But outrageously long sentences don't keep us safe, they pile inequity on top of tragedy. We call on all involved to correct this injustice.”
Domingo Garcia, the president of the civil rights group League of United Latin American Citizens, has also sent a letter to Polis asking for either a pardon or reduced sentencing.
"It was an egregious miscarriage of justice," Garcia stated in the letter, according to Fox News.