On Thursday, Colorado Governor Jared Polis commuted a truck driver’s 110-year prison sentence for an April 2019 crash that killed four people.
Polis reduced Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence to 10 years. He will be eligible for parole in five years, starting in December 2026, according to KMGH.
“The length of your 110-year sentence is simply not commensurate with your actions, nor with penalties handed down to others for similar crimes,” Polis wrote in a commutation letter to the driver. “There is an urgency to remedy this unjust sentence and restore confidence in the uniformity and fairness of our criminal justice system, and consequently I have chosen to commute your sentence now.”
In April 2019, Aguilera-Mederos, 26, was driving a semi-truck on Interstate 70 in Lakewood when his brakes failed, causing a 28-car pileup that killed Miguel Angel Lamas Arellano, 24, William Bailey, 67, Doyle Harrison, 61, and Stanley Politano, 69.
Aguilera-Mederos said he “lost his brakes,” causing him to lose control of his semi-truck before passing a runaway truck ramp as he descended from a mountainous region on the interstate. In October, he was convicted of vehicular homicide, first-degree assault, attempted first-degree assault, careless driving causing death, vehicular assault, and reckless driving.
During a December 12 sentencing hearing, District Court Judge Bruce Jones told Aguilera-Mederos that state sentencing guidelines meant he had to hand down the consecutive sentences — despite Aguilera-Mederos having no prior criminal history and being 23 at the time of the wreck.
At the time governor Polis issued the commutation, First Judicial District Attorney Alexis King was expected to ask the court to lower Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence to 20 to 30 years. On Monday, Judge Jones scheduled a resentencing hearing for January 13, 2022.
First Judicial District Attorney Pete Weir filed the criminal charges that led to Aguilera-Mederos’ 110-year sentence. King, his successor who tried the case, alleged that Aguilera-Mederos refused any plea deal that did not amount to a traffic ticket, leading the case to go to trial.
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[Featured image: Rogel Aguilera-Mederos/KDVR video screengrab]