Rogel Aguilera-Medros, the 26-year-old Colorado truck driver convicted of vehicular homicide, became emotional during his sentencing to 110 years in prison.
Despite the fact that he maintains his innocence in the 2019 pileup that resulted in the deaths of four people, and the injury of six, District Court Judge Bruce Jones imposed the state’s mandatory minimum sentence for the crimes of which he was convicted.
“I will state that if I had the discretion, it would not be my sentence,” Judge Jones admitted, The Denver Post reported.
“I am not a criminal,” Aguilera-Medros said while addressing the families of the victims, asking for their forgiveness. “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.”
Despite his lack of intent to kill the victims, prosecutors laid out the case as one of a series of reckless driving decisions in a semitrailer hauling lumber.
On the particular stretch of interstate where the crash happened, commercial vehicles are reportedly supposed to remain at 45 mph, as there is a rather steep descent out of the Rocky Mountain foothills. Aguilera-Medros testified that he attempted to slam on his brakes, but unfortunately, they didn’t work. The resulting impact created a 26-car pileup that punctured gas tanks, leading to fires that destroyed vehicles, and even melted parts of the road. Miguel Angel Lamas Arellano, William Bailey, Doyle Harrison, and Stanley Politano passed away as the result of the wreck.
The prosecution pointed out that there were a number of runaway truck ramps that he could have taken, as he was traveling approximately 85 mph, but the driver opted to stay on the road.
“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 commented, following the statements.
Twitter reaction on the situation and sentencing was mixed:
This is a tough situation. Young man was working and his equipment got away from him and the accident was awful. As much as I travel I see wreckless driving all the time. I wish these state police would patrol up and down these highways instead of sitting in the medians!
— Chuck (@roverchuck) December 14, 2021
I know it’s a tough job but trucks just keep getting bigger and their speed increases more every year. I can deal with their driving habits except for the tank truckers; they are a little scary.
— John A. Jarvis (@Tavernier323) December 14, 2021
Seriously.. justice sometimes not right.. cold blooded murderers can get less time.
— Antonia Spinazzolo (@TJSpin65) December 14, 2021
Sad. Way too much time, while actual murders often get much less time. Sad justice system.
— Jja (@ajohnson92941) December 14, 2021
The justice system is disgraceful. This man isn’t guilty of anything and Bill Cosby walks free. Dystopian disgust.
— 5H4174 = Shaila (@5H4174) December 14, 2021
Just sad for everyone involved. I think 5 years is fair
— Jen Sakehehe (@jensake77) December 14, 2021
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