More than 3.7 million have signed a petition demanding clemency for a 26-year-old truck driver sentenced to 110 years after crash killed 4 in Colorado

Colorado 2019 crash
Workers clear debris on Interstate 70 in Lakewood, Colorado, from a pileup involving a semitrailer hauling lumber.
  • More than 3.67 million people have signed a petition calling for Colorado Gov. Jared Polis to commute the sentence of Rogel Aguilera-Mederos. 
  • Aguilera-Mederos, a 26-year-old truck driver, said his brakes failed during a 2019 crash that killed four people.
  • A jury convicted him of 27 counts, and the judge said state law required the lengthy sentence.

More than 3.7 million people have signed a petition calling on Colorado Gov. Jared Polis to grant clemency or commute the 110-year prison sentence handed down to a truck driver who struck and killed four people in a 2019 crash. 

Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, a 26-year-old truck driver from Texas, was on Monday sentenced to 110 years in prison by a Colorado judge after he was in October convicted on 27 counts relating to the April 2019 crash in Lakewood. 

According to NBC News, video from the 2019 crash showed vehicles had erupted into flames following the collision with Aguilera-Mederos's semitrailer. Miguel Angel Lamas Arellano, 24; William Bailey, 67; Doyle Harrison, 61; and Stanley Politano, 69, were killed in the crash, and numerous others were injured, including five children on a school bus who were hospitalized.

According to the NBC News report, Aguilera-Mederos was driving eastbound on I-70 carrying lumber on his semitrailer when he collided with traffic that had been stopped due to a prior accident, police said. At the time of the accident, Aguilera-Mederos, then 23, said his brakes failed as he was driving downhill, leading to the incident.

"This accident was not intentional, nor was it a criminal act on the drivers part. No one but the trucking company he is/was employed by should be held accountable for this accident," says the Change.org petition, which was first created three years ago by Colorado resident Heather Gilbee.

She said changed the petition to focus on clemency after he was sentenced on Monday. The petition calls for Polis to grant clemency or to commute his sentence to the time he has already served.

At the sentencing Monday, Colorado Judge A. Bruce Jones said he wouldn't have applied the sentences consecutively if he had a choice, according to multiple reports. He said state law required the sentences be served consecutively one after another, leading to the 110-year sentence. 

The Denver Post editorial board also this week called on Polis to commute his sentence. 

"We are not intending to undermine the verdict from the jury — Aguilera-Mederos did indeed kill four people and seriously injure others in a tragic and preventable crash," the editorial said.

"But we do think there is an important distinction that the law, as written, did not allow jurors or the judge to make. The 26-year-old was not drunk. He was not intentionally driving recklessly because he was in a hurry or out for a thrill or running from police. He was not even full of road rage as his semi-truck accelerated down Interstate 70 out of control," the board added.

In a statement to the Denver Channel, Jefferson County District Attorney Alexis King said she stood by charging Aguilera-Mederos. 

"This tragedy was devastating to the victims, their families and our entire community," King said. "The actions and decisions of Mr. Aguilera-Mederos resulted in the loss of four lives, devastating injuries to the survivors and – as we heard them state during the sentencing hearing – grave impacts to their families and loved ones. We initiated plea negotiations but Mr. Aguilera-Mederos declined to consider anything other than a traffic ticket. 

A representative for Polis did not immediately return Insider's request for comment Saturday, though a spokesperson told KSN, "We are aware of this issue, the Governor and his team review each clemency application individually." 

The petition is the fastest-growing petition Change.org saw this year, the website told KSN. More than 45,000 people signed the petition in a single hour on Wednesday, Change.org told the outlet. 

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