UPDATE: Colorado Governor Reduces Rogel Aguilera-Mederos Sentence To 10 Years

(CBS4) — Semi driver Rogel Aguilera-Mederos has been sentenced to 110 years in prison for the fiery crash on Interstate 70 that killed four people near the Colorado Mills Mall in 2019.

As Aguilera-Mederos entered the courtroom his mother and supporters broke out in tears. Wearing a jail jumpsuit, his attorney told the judge that his client had no prior criminal record, was an immigrant from Cuba and greatly valued his life in America.

Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos (credit: Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office)

What happened April 25, 2019 was described by the defendant’s attorney and others who testified described as a tragedy. Four people killed when the truck Aguilera-Mederos was driving lost its brakes coming out of the mountains, bypassed a runaway truck ramp, and swerved into stopped traffic near the Colorado Mills exit eastbound on Interstate 70.

Aguilera-Mederos was convicted in October on more than 20 charges, including four counts of vehicular homicide.

Before he spoke, family members of the four who died addressed the court. In a wheelchair the mother of 67-year-old Bill Bailey of Arvada said, “Mothers should not have to bury their sons.”

She told of how he loved things that fly including rockets that he would make. Juanita Bailey said the truck driver’s recklessness took her son’s life. Bailey’s brother and the victim’s wife, Gage Evans, told the judge of the pain and suffering they have felt.

Kathleen Harrison and her daughters, family members of Doyle Harrison, also spoke to the judge. She said forgiveness does not mean letting the convicted driver off the hook.

Miguel Angel Lamas, 24, of Denver and 69-year-old Stanley Politano of Arvada were also killed in the crash. 

With tears flowing the truck driver addressed the court.

“I am begging for forgiveness. I wish for all the heartfelt pain to go away from all our hearts.”

Aguilera-Mederos maintains there was little he could do after losing brakes coming out of the mountains where he lacked experience, but video shows he passed a runaway truck ramp that he could have used.

Family members and friends of Aguilera-Mederos told the judge they drive trucks too and losing brakes was not his fault and that he was a good young man with a wife and son.

The judge said he was not angry at the defendant, but had to sentence him under the guidelines set by the law.

“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”

After his conviction, Aguilera-Mederos told CBS4, “I am crying all the time, I think about it and I have flashbacks.”

RELATED: Widow Of One Of The Victims In Fiery I-70 Crash Says She’ll Speak At Sentencing Hearing Of Rogel Aguilera-Mederos

Rick Sallinger