Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, the truck driver sentenced to 110 years in prison earlier this month, may have a ray of hope on the horizon. After the Colorado District Attorney’s office formerly requested the sentence be reduced, Judge Bruce Jones has decided to take up the case. Less than one month from today, on Jan. 13, 2022, Aguilera-Mederos will know whether he’s spending the rest of his life in prison — or just the 20-30 years now requested by the DA.
To recap, Aguilera-Mederos was found responsible for a 2019 crash on I-70 outside Denver that involved 28 vehicles and left four dead. Both the prosecution and defense agreed that his truck’s brakes had failed, but their arguments hinged on why. From the Washington Post:
“Either the defendant didn’t catch it like he was supposed to, or the defendant drove on his brakes the entire way and caused them to be that way,” [prosecutor Kayla] Wildeman said in court, according to KUSA.
Aguilera-Mederos’s defense argued that the brakes were already bad and that he should not be blamed for using faulty equipment. “Mr. Mederos had no idea that what he was dragging behind him from Houston was an inoperable trailer,” defense attorney James Colgan said in court, according to KUSA. “He had no idea that when he needed those trailer brakes, they weren’t going to exist.”
Aguilera-Mederos’ 110-year sentence hinged on Colorado’s minimum sentencing laws. Each charge for which he was found guilty carried a minimum sentence, but Colorado law stipulates that these sentences must be served back-to-back, not simultaneously. In Aguilera-Mederos’ case, where he was charged with 27 counts, those sentences quickly added up.
Now that the DA’s office has filed a motion encouraging the court to “reconsider its sentence in an exceptional case involving unusual and extenuating circumstances,” Aguilera-Mederos may be left with a shorter sentence — one that could see him freed from prison between the ages of 49 and 59, if the prosecution gets its way.
Nowhere in any motion, however, has the possibility of accountability for the trucking company been broached. The company, Castellano 03 Trucking LLC, has been repeatedly cited for safety violations in its trucks — including citations for unsafe brakes.
As of right now, it’s unclear how Judge Bruce Jones will rule. However, with the prosecution showing off trophies for the case on social media, Aguilera-Mederos’ defense attorneys appear willing to see this case through to the end.