A truck driver who lost control of his 18-wheeler and crashed into stopped traffic on a Colorado highway in 2019, killing four people, has been sentenced to 110 years in prison.
On Monday, a Jefferson County judge handed down the sentence to Rogel Aguilera-Mederos for the crash on Interstate 70, NBC News reports.
On April 25, 2019, Aguilera-Mederos was driving when the brakes failed on his 18-wheeler, which was carrying lumber, KMGH reports. Despite the highway having truck ramps, Aguilera-Mederos, then 23, didn’t take a runaway and instead crashed into stopped traffic.
The fiery crash killed four people, 61-year-old Doyle Harrison, 67-year-old William Bailey, 69-year-old Stanley Politano, and 24-year-old Miguel Lamas Arrellano, and injured several others. During Monday’s sentencing, the court heard from the victims’ families.
“It’s been difficult, sometimes it feels like being half a person,” Kathleen Harrison, who lost her husband Doyle Harrison, said, KCNC reports.
“He was taken away from me in an instant by the actions of a selfish person,” Juanita Bailey, the mother of victim Bill Bailey, said.
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In October, a jury found the truck driver guilty of 27 counts, including four counts of vehicular homicide.
On Monday, Aguilera-Mederos told the court, “It hurts, I ask God too many times why them and not me? Why did I survive that accident?”
While the judge recognized that Aguilera-Mederos didn’t intend to harm anyone he noted that state law required him to sentence the 26-year-old to consecutive sentences, KMGH reports.
“If I had the discretion, if I thought I had the discretion, I would not run those sentences consecutively,” Judge A. Bruce Jones said.
“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,” the judge said.