Social media is currently blowing up with calls for truckers to boycott Colorado after a former trucker received 110 years in prison for a 2019 crash that killed four people. Many people feel the sentence was much too severe.
Rogel Lazaro Aguilera Mederos, 25, was convicted of vehicular homicide by a Jefferson County jury on Oct. 15 in connection with the April 2019 crash on Interstate 70 west of Denver.
Aguilera Mederos wept openly during sentencing on Dec. 13. He stated that he was unable to sleep and that he thought about the victims “all the time.” Mederos also said he was not a criminal.
Aguilera Mederos testified that the brakes on his semitrailer failed before he crashed into vehicles that had slowed down due to another wreck in the Denver suburb of Lakewood.
Prosecutors argued he could have used one of several runaway ramps as his truck barreled down from the mountains. The chain-reaction wreck ruptured gas tanks, causing flames that consumed several vehicles and melted parts of the highway just after it descends from the mountains west of Denver.
In response to the impending boycott, which has taken on the hashtag #NoTrucksToColorado, the Colorado Motor Carriers issued the following statement on Twitter: “Feel for driver. #NoTrucksToColorado has some info that is not accurate. Not mech. failure – brakes gave way due to inexper. driver traveling in mtns above posted speeds/ not gearing down — overheated brakes gave way. He knew of hot brakes yet bypassed runaway truck ramp.”
Twitter user @Not_YouFatJesus said in support of Aguilera Mederos: “It makes me happy to see truckers standing up for the 26 year old Latino who got 110 years. That’s a ridiculous sentence for what was obviously an accident. Meanwhile you have privileged yt boys getting no jail time for pre-planned murders #NoTrucksToColorado”
Twitter user @AOrtega_80 said that he and his brother “have decided that we (Brown Eagle LLC) have joined the protest and are not getting any loads out of or to Colorado until Rogel gets justice cause 110 years is ridiculous. The company should be held accountable!”
There are many truckers who are saying the boycott is unnecessary.
“I suggest truckers and new truckers take every load available going to and from Colorado,” Twitter user @JamesonTaj wrote. “There’s a strike of #notruckstocolorado and it’s the perfect time to make extra money for the holidays. Let them protest for their criminal and let us make money #colorado #rogelaguilera”
A petition to free Aguilera Mederos has appeared on the website change.org.
Posted by Heather Gilbee, the petition reads: “We all know of the crash that happened on I-70 in Denver, Colorado. Most of us have heard facts in the case. Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, 23 has nothing on his driving record, or on his criminal history. He had complied with every single request by the Jefferson County courts, and investigators on the case. He’s passed all of the drug and alcohol tests that were given including a chemical test.
“This accident was not intentional, nor was it a criminal act on the driver’s part. No one but the trucking company he is/was employed by should be held accountable for this accident. No, we are not trying to make it seem any less of a tragic accident than it is because yes, lives were lost. We are trying to hold the person who needs to be held responsible, responsible. The trucking company has had several inspections since 2017, with several mechanical violations.
“There are many things Rogel could have done to avoid the courts, but he took responsibility showed up, and severely apologized to the victim’s families. Some of the families even offered Forgiveness. Rogel is not a criminal, the company he was working for knew the federal laws that go into truck driving but they failed to follow those laws. Rogel has said several times that he wishes he had the courage to crash and take his own life that day, this tragic accident wasn’t done with Intent, it wasn’t a criminal act, it was an accident. Since he has been sentenced, I have changed this to granting Rogel clemency or commutation-as time served.”
So far, more than 2.7 million people have signed the petition.