JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The truck driver accused of causing a fatal crash on Interstate 70 near Colorado Mills Mall in Lakewood took the stand in his own defense on Wednesday. Rogel Aguilera-Mederos faces 41 charges including vehicular homicide for the crash that killed four people in 2019.

Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos (credit: Lakewood Police)

For most of the day his legal team focused their questioning on his driving experience and in some instances, his inexperience.

“Did they teach you how to drive in the mountains in this Florida trucking school?” his attorney asked.

“No,” Aguilera-Mederos said.

Before even discussing the crash itself, he was also asked about why he took the route he did. He says a boss told him to do. For several hours Aguilera-Mederos was asked about the days and hours before reaching Colorado, and the stretch of I-70 where his trouble began.

“When did you notice you didn’t have brakes?” his attorney asked.

“When I started to go downhill,” Aguilera-Mederos responded through a Spanish-speaking translator.

(credit: CBS)

The prosecution says the case is about bad decisions, pointing out Aguilera-Mederos passed an opportunity to use a runaway truck ramp and other places to pull off.

His defense team argues things happened so quickly he didn’t know how to respond. Aguilera-Mederos was visibly upset when asked to relive the moment he realized the semi-truck he was driving lost its brakes.

“I pulled the emergency brake for the truck,” he said.

“Were you in gear when you pulled the emergency brake?” his attorney asked.

“No, it was in neutral,” Aguilera-Mederos said.

“What gear were you trying to get into?” the attorney asked

“Any gear, any that would shift the gear in order to stop the truck,” the defendant said.

That is where testimony ended for the day.

His attorney will pick up questioning again Thursday morning. Then the prosecution will have an opportunity to cross examine him before handing the case over to a jury.

Karen Morfitt