The man responsible for a deadly highway collision in 2019 was sentenced to 100 years in prison Monday. Twenty-six-year-old Rogel Aguilera-Mederos pleaded with a Colorado judge to be lenient on him before his sentencing for the crash that killed four and seriously injured six others. However, the judge said his hands were tied by the law.
In April 2019, the Houston-based truck driver was heading down I-70 in Lakewood, Colorado at 85 mph. It was during rush hour traffic. Aguilera-Mederos says his brakes went out when he barreled into more than two dozen cars on the highway. The fiery explosion was so significant it engulfed several other cars in flames, killing four people.
Further, the explosion halted traffic for hours as more than two dozen cars were impacted. According to the Daily Mail, Judge A. Bruce Jones gave Aguilera-Mederos the minimum sentence on all 27 counts of the charges. However, they must be served consecutively. This means in total, the Texas native will serve 110 years.
Lakewood police called the crash one of the worst in its history, noting that the explosion left bodies burning for hours. Smoke filled the region. Aguilera-Mederos’ 18-wheeler was loaded with lumber as he raced down the highway. The man says he didn’t realize his brakes had gone out and he attempted to curb traffic.
However, prosecutors on the case asked why he didn’t use a runaway truck ramp miles before the crash. Aguilera-Mederos says he didn’t realize his brakes were smoking and that he made attempts to keep the crash from happening.
Man Convicted of All 27 Counts in Crash
After deliberation, a jury convicted the 26-year-old of the following:
- Four counts of vehicular homicide
- Two counts of vehicular assault
- Six counts of assault in the first-degree with extreme indifference
- 10 counts of criminal attempt to commit assault in the first degree
- One count of reckless driving
- Four counts of careless driving causing death
Before the judge, Aguilera-Mederos said the whole event was a tragic accident.
“It’s hard. This was a terrible accident, I know,” he said. “I take the responsibility, but it was an accident.”
He went on to say:
“I have never thought about hurting anyone in my entire life and Jesus Christ, he knows that, he knows my heart,’ he continued. ‘I am not a criminal, I am not a murderer. The accident – it wasn’t intentional, it wasn’t intentional Your Honor. I did all that I can as a man.”
He further added: “I put myself in harms way to avoid harming anyone else.’I want to say sorry, sorry for the loss, sorry for the people injured. I ask … God many times why them and not me.”
The victims of the crash include Doyle Harrison, 61, of Hudson, Colorado; William Bailey, 67, of Arvadal; Miguel Angel Lamas Arrellano, 24, of Denver; and Stanley Politano, 69, of Arvada.