A petition that has been started for trucker Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, 23, has 4,167,364 signatures at the time of this writing.
The Houston truck driver has been sentenced to 110 years in prison after being convicted of 27 counts in the 2019 crash that killed four people and seriously injured countless more.
Investigators say that Mederos lost control of the semi-truck after the truck’s brakes failed on a highway just outside of Denver. The truck did not take any runaway truck ramps and was going approximately 85 miles per hour before it collided with cars stopped on the highway, resulting in an explosion.
Prosecutors said that Mederos was at fault for the accident for failing to use several runaway ramps before the crash. They claimed that Mederos made a “bunch of bad decisions” that ultimately led to four fatalities.
Mederos Speaks Out: ‘I Am Not A Criminal’
During his sentencing, Mederos was in tears when he learned that he was going to spend the rest of his life behind bars.
“I am not a criminal,” he stated. “I am not a murderer. I am not a killer. When I look at my charges, we are talking about a murderer, which is not me. I have never thought about hurting anybody in my entire life.”
Many truck drivers are now protesting and refusing to drive through the state of Colorado to stand in solidarity with Mederos. One truck driver posted his protest on TikTok, gaining more than 4 million views as he encouraged other drivers to join him in the protest.
Truckers aren’t entering Colorado in protest of Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos getting a 110 year sentence after his breaks failed and his truck killed 4 people, a tragedy the company should be liable for. I think we’re about to see the power of truckers.
— Read Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks (@JoshuaPotash) December 18, 2021
The national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, Domingo Garcia, stated that they have sent a letter to Colorado Governor Jared Polis requesting a pardon, or at least a reduced sentence.
“He got 110 years in prison on his first offense when it was clearly an accident,” Garcia said. “It could happen to anybody. Your brakes go out. It was not intentional. It’s not something that he was trying to do.”
Polis said that he had not gotten a clemency application yet, but promised to “review and make a determination” once received.
Charge.org Petition Asks Polis For Pardon
I’m still waiting to hear on what the company Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, 23 worked for has to say on this matter, because as of right now he’s going to serve many years all for something that could’ve been prevented!? Poor man. Only 23. #JusticeforRogel
— jeni 🧜🏼♀️ (@Roccieejay) December 17, 2021
A Change.org petition says that the company, not the driver, should be held responsible for the brakes giving out.
“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,” the petition began. “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.”
They added, “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 victims’ families,” they continued. “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,” they added. “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.”
They concluded the petition saying, “Since he has been sentenced, I have changed this to granting Rogel clemency or commutation-as time served.”