3 million sign petition for truck driver given 110 years in deadly pileup: 'He's not a criminal'

The petition is asking Colorado to grant 26-year-old Rogel Aguilera-Mederos clemency because "this was purely an accident."

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Friday, December 17, 2021
Houston truck driver sentenced in 2019 Colorado crash
"Your honor, I don't know why I'm alive." The Houston truck driver spoke emotionally in court as he was sentenced for a fiery crash that killed four people.

LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- Millions of people have signed an online petition asking the state of Colorado to reduce the sentence of a man who was given 110 years in prison for crashing into traffic on a highway in Denver that led to a fiery 28-car pileup that killed four people.

On Monday, 26-year-old Rogel Aguilera-Mederos was sentenced after he was found guilty in October and convicted on vehicular homicide and 23 other charges.

In April 2019, Aguilera-Mederos was driving a semi tractor-trailer, traveling at 85 mph, when the brakes failed, he told investigators at the time. He tried to pull over to the shoulder to avoid stopped traffic, but another semi had already stopped there, according to an arrest affidavit.

The other 23 charges included six counts of assault in the first degree -- extreme indifference; 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 was sentenced to the minimum time available to him on all counts, to be served consecutively, which totals 110 years, said Colorado Judicial Department spokesperson Rob McCallum.

The petition, titled "Offer commutation as time served, or grant clemency to Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, 23" has garnered more than 3 million signatures on change.org - a popular petition website that offers people the ability to promote petitions they support.

According to the description, the petition was created by a woman from Colorado who claims she has no relation to Aguilera-Mederos and is simply a supporter.

"I made this petition because I am a native to Colorado, who believes this man is NOT a criminal and this was purely an accident," she wrote on a status update on Dec. 15. "I'm not related to Rogel, or any of his family, I simply believe that he doesn't deserve his sentence or these charges."

During a sentencing hearing Monday, Colorado District Court Judge A. Bruce Jones said he was bound to the mandatory-minimum sentencing laws in the state, according to CNN affiliate KMGH.

"Colorado law requires courts to sentence most individuals convicted of certain categories of crimes to a mandatory minimum period of incarceration," according to the Colorado General Assembly website.

"There will be an appeal as to the facts and mistakes made in the trial," said attorney James Colgan, who represents Aguilera-Mederos. Colgan told CNN Aguilera-Mederos does not deserve to die in prison.

"The issue with this appeal will not be the sentence itself. Under the law, the Court was not incorrect. However, the law, as written, is barbaric and Draconian," Colgan told CNN. "There needs to be a change in the law."

The petition goes on to say, "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."

CNN contributed to this report.

The video above is from a previous report on Rogel Aguilera-Mederos.