Victim’s brother rips Colorado governor for reducing trucker’s 110-year sentence
The brother of a man who died in a 2019 fiery car crash called Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) a “despicable human being” for reducing the sentence of the truck driver who was initially handed 110 years in prison over the incident.
Duane Bailey, in an interview with CBS 4 Denver, criticized Polis for slashing the sentence of Rogel Aguilera-Mederos to 10 years via a commutation announced on Thursday.
Bailey told the news outlet that Polis “undermined the integrity of the courts” and the jury that convicted Aguilera-Mederos, noting the truck driver could get out of prison in as little as five years on parole.
“The governor has decided political and social media pressure is more important than the victims of this crash,” he said. “We as a society put penalties in place to punish those that do wrong and give an adequate incentive for others not to commit the same crime.”
Bailey said life in prison was too harsh, but he would have supported a 20- or 30-year sentence.
Aguilera-Mederos, 26, killed four people, including Bailey’s brother, William, in a fiery crash on an interstate near Denver two years ago. He was found guilty last month of 27 counts for the incident, including vehicular homicide.
During the trial, Aguilera-Mederos, an immigrant from Cuba with a wife and child, testified that the brakes of his semitruck failed as he rolled into Interstate 70 and damaged 28 vehicles.
He told CBS 4 in an interview from jail that he was “crying all the time” because of the incident.
“I think about it and I have flashbacks,” he said.
After he was sentenced to the minimum of 110 years under the law, an online petition supporting a commuted sentence for the trucker received more than 5 million signatures.
“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,” the petition reads. “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.”
Bailey told CBS 4, however, that Aguilera-Mederos was responsible.
“This was not an accident, it was a series of decisions on the part of the driver that caused [four] deaths,” he said. “The jury heard the evidence and convicted him.”
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