JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Rogel Aguilera-Mederos now faces an additional charge as prosecutors outline their case against him and will stand trial on all counts. The truck driver is accused of causing the April 25 fiery crash on Interstate 70 near the Colorado Mills mall in Jefferson County but maintains his brakes failed and he was unable to stop. Four people were killed and 28 vehicles were damaged or destroyed when his out-of-control semi slammed into cars and trucks.
During a preliminary hearing in Jefferson County Court on Thursday, prosecutors tried to convince the judge that there were numerous opportunities for Aguilera-Mederos to get off the highway before the crash occurred. The defense outlined how the brakes failed on Aguilera-Mederos’ truck and also brought up the actions of another truck driver.
Some people in the courtroom broke out in tears as video of the crash scene was played. A police officer quoted the defendant as saying he “thought he was going to die” and that the collision was “like a bomb.”
One of the revelations in the preliminary hearing was prosecutors said this was Aguilera-Mederos’ third time traveling the route from Saratoga, Wyoming, to Colorado including where he says he lost his brakes along I-70.
Rob Corry, Aguilera-Mederos’s attorney, told reporters Thursday that a truck parked on the shoulder of the interstate was to blame.
“He’s a truck driver. He parked his semi on the shoulder of the road, thereby blocking the safe route through this stop-and-go accident and really was the proximate cause of the accident but is not charged with any traffic offense and it’s illegal to park on the shoulder,” Corry said.
Corry is himself currently facing charges in a separate legal matter, but he insisted that will not interfere with his representation of Aguilera-Mederos.
Aguilera-Mederos faces a total of 41 charges. That includes vehicular homicide. This week an attempted assault charge was added. A judge ordered him to stand trial on all counts.
The judge granted permission for the defendant to reside in Texas while he is awaiting trial. He is free on $400,000 bond.
One of those in the courtroom was Kathleen Harrison whose husband Doyle was one of the four killed.
She told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger, “I think the judge summed it up properly where he made a choice at the end, he was going to crash either way and it’s how he crashed and chose to crash.”