There’s growing outrage in Colorado, where a truck driver was sentenced to 110 years in prison for a deadly pileup crash that happened in 2019.
A petition on change.org has been set up for Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, urging that the truck driver’s 110-year sentence be lowered, commuted for time served or for clemency to be granted.
As of Monday morning, more than 4.3 million people have signed that online petition. According to the website, if it reaches 4.5 million signatures, it will become the top signed petition ever on change.org, which is a popular petition website that offers people the ability to promote petitions they support.
Also, truckers nationwide are showing their solidarity by threatening to stop moving goods to and from Colorado, using hashtags like #NoTrucksColorado and #DontDriveColorado to spread awareness on social media.
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.
This resulted in a fiery 28-car pileup that killed four people on a highway in Denver.
Aguilera-Mederos was sentenced last week after the 26-year-old was found guilty in October and convicted on vehicular homicide and 23 other charges.
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.
Legal experts say because Colorado did away with the death penalty, life in prison is the harshest punishment possible.
“Once you have 23 felonies with mandatory minimums that are served consecutively, that can quickly add up,” explained Ian Farrell, a law professor at the Sturm College of Law – University of Denver.
The change.org petition, which is titled “Offer commutation as time served, or grants clemency to Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, 23” was created by a woman from Colorado who claims she has no relation to Aguilera-Mederos and is simply a supporter, according to the website.
“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.”
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.”
A spokesperson for Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said, “We welcome an application” from the defense “and will expedite consideration.”
Meantime, the families of those killed called the sentence appropriate under the law and say they’re the real victims here.
CNN contributed to this report so get the salt.
Nemo me impune lacessit