(RepublicanPress.org) – On December 13, 2021, Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos received a 110-year prison sentence for his role in a fiery 2019 crash that claimed the lives of 4 individuals and injured 6 others. The then-23-year-old truck driver’s brakes allegedly failed on his big rig, and he plowed into a group of cars moving at a slow pace due to highway construction. Upon hearing his story, millions took to the internet to free Aguilera-Mederos.
A woman named Heather Gilbee set up an online petition on Change.org during Aguilera-Mederos’ trial. After his sentencing, she switched the petition’s focus to a request for commutation of his sentence to time served or clemency.
Gilbee explained in the petition that Aguilera-Mederos had a clean driving record before the accident. He also tested negative for drugs and alcohol and fully cooperated with investigators and officers of the court. By December 21, over 4.5 million people had signed the petition.
Rogel Aguilera-Mederos was driving a semi-truck when his brakes failed & he crashed, killing four people. For this accident, he'll spend 110 years in prison. Add your name to Heather's petition asking @GovofCO to reduce this outrageous sentence. https://t.co/ykHTls0G26
— Change.org (@Change) December 15, 2021
Reports say prosecutors had Aguilera-Mederos convicted based on the argument that he failed to use one of multiple runaway truck ramps after his brakes failed. However, it’s not just members of the general public showing support for Aguilera-Mederos. Colorado District Judge A. Bruce Jones expressed sympathy for the now 23-year-old former truck driver while sentencing him. However, under Colorado law, he lacked the authority to impose concurrent sentencing on his conviction.
A spokesperson for Colorado Governor Jared Polis told reporters the state’s executive knew about the petition and confirmed that he and his staff review all clemency applications.
Do you agree with the petition? Should Aguilera-Mederos be given more lenient treatment for his part in the crash?
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