DENVER (AP) – Colorado Governor Jared Polis on Thursday reduced the prison sentence for a truck driver convicted in a fatal crash to 10 years, drastically reducing his original 110-year sentence that sparked widespread outrage .
The decision on Rogel Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence was one of many commutations and end-of-year pardons pronounced by Polis.
The move comes days after a judge scheduled a hearing next month to reconsider the sentence at the district attorney’s request, who planned to ask for it to be reduced from 20 to 30 years.
About 5 million people have signed an online petition asking for pardon for Aguilera-Mederos, who was convicted of driving homicide and other charges in an explosive wreckage that killed four people in 2019.
Aguilera-Mederos testified that he was hauling lumber when the brakes on his tractor-trailer failed as he descended a steep grade on Interstate 70 in the foothills of the Rockies.
His truck crashed into vehicles that had slowed down from another wreckage, triggering chain reaction wreckage and a fireball that consumed the vehicles and melted parts of the highway.
Judge Bruce Jones imposed the 110-year sentence on Dec. 13 after concluding it was the mandatory minimum sentence under state law, noting that it would not have been his choice.
Prosecutors had argued that when Aguilera-Mederos’ truck was coming down the mountains, it could have used an access ramp along the highway designed to safely stop vehicles that lost their brakes.
The accident killed Miguel Angel Lamas Arellano, 24, William Bailey, 67, Doyle Harrison, 61, and Stanley Politano, 69.
Colleen Slevin, The Associated Press