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Viral TikToks show truckers ‘boycotting Colorado’ after 110-year sentence for driver who caused fatal accident

·4 min read

Truck drivers are allegedly protesting a fellow trucker’s 110-year prison sentence for causing an accident that killed four people.

Videos posted on social media, reportedly show lines of trucks whose drivers refuse to drive through the state of Colorado, where Rogel Aguilera-Mederos was convicted.

Aguilera-Mederos, 26, was found guilty in October and sentenced this week after he had lost control of a semi-truck that lost braking function going downhill on Interstate 70 in April 2019, CBS4 Denver reported.

The crash damaged 28 vehicles, some of which were destroyed. Four people died: Doyle Harrison, 61, from Hudson, Colorado; William Bailey, 67, from Arvada, Colorado; Miguel Angel Lamas Arrellano, 24, from Denver, and 69-year-old Stan Politano, also from Arvada.

The 27 counts include four counts of vehicular homicide, six counts of first-degree assault, 10 counts of attempt to commit assault in the first degree–extreme indifference, two counts of vehicular assault- reckless, one count of reckless driving, and four counts of careless driving causing death.

Aguilera-Mederos, who was 23 at the time of the crash, was working for a trucking company based in Houston, Texas.

Lakewood Police Department investigators found that no alcohol or drugs were involved in the crash.

The lawyer representing Aguilera-Mederos told the judge that his client had no previous criminal record, adding that he’s a Cuban immigrant who valued his new life in the US.

This 2019 photo provided by the Lakewood Police Department shows Rogel Aguilera-Mederos (AP)
This 2019 photo provided by the Lakewood Police Department shows Rogel Aguilera-Mederos (AP)

His sentence has caused outrage as people questioned how the trucker could receive such a lengthy sentence and receive longer jail time than many convicted of other crimes, such as rape and sexual assault.

A Change.org petition had received more than 4.1 million signatures in support of the driver.

“Actual rapists and murderers, WHO MEANT HARM, aren’t given 110 years,” author Shaun King wrote on Facebook.

CBS4 reported that the judge said the sentence shouldn’t be shorter than 110 years, according to the guidelines under 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,” the judge said.

“If I had the discretion, it would not be my sentence.”

Fellow truckers are now apparently showing their support for Aguilera-Mederos by refusing to drive through Colorado.

The organiser of the petition, Heather Gilbee, said that Aguilera-Mederos should be granted clemency or a commutation for time served.

“This accident was not intentional, nor was it a criminal act on the drivers part,” Ms Gilbee wrote in the petition.

“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.”

“We review all clemency applications, we’ve yet to receive one from the individual but every clemency application that we receive, we review and make a determination,” Colorado Governor Jared Polis, a Democrat, said on Thursday.

Aguilera-Mederos spoke about the 2019 accident in court on Monday.

@z71_mauro

Justice for Rogel !!! He was also a victim, my fellow truckers lets stand together! #justice #rogelaguilera #freerogelaguilera #fyp #trucker #colorado

♬ Tell Me Why I'm Waiting - Timmies/Shiloh

“I know that it has been hard and heartbreaking for everyone involved in this tragedy,” he said. “Your honour I don’t know why I’m alive. Like for what?”

“I ask God too many times why them and not me? Why did I survive that accident?” he added.

TikTok user @ntgi2020 posted a video with the caption: “This truck is no longer going to Colorado. We want justice for Rogel Aguilera. Truckers, he needs our help.”

“I am a trucker and will NO LONGER be going to Colorado,” one of the top comments states.

@secretloser23 wrote “No trucks in Colorado” on a video of a long line of trucks.

“Truckers, if it happened to Rogel, it can happen to you. stay united,” a comment says.