Colorado Governor Reduces I-70 Crash Trucker’s 110-Year Prison Sentence to 10 Years
Prosecutor Blasts Governor’s ‘Premature’ Decision to Slash 100 Years From Trucker’s 110-Year Sentence
Denver, CO — Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D) is using his power to drastically reduce the 110-year prison sentence for Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, the trucker convicted in the fiery 2019 crash on Interstate 70 which claimed the lives of four people and injured six others.
“I am writing to inform you that I am granting your application for a commutation,” Gov. Polis said in a letter to Aguilera-Mederos dated December 30, 2021. “After learning about the highly atypical and unjust sentence in your case, I am commuting your sentence to 10 years and granting you parole eligibility on December 30, 2026.”
Gov. Polis further explained his decision, writing: “I believe you deserve clemency for several reasons. You were sentenced to 110 years in prison, effectively more than a life sentence, for a tragic but unintentional act. While you are not blameless, your sentence is disproportionate compared with many other inmates in our criminal justice system who committed intentional, premeditated, or violent crimes. Your highly unusual sentence highlights the lack of uniformity between sentences for similarly situated crimes, which is particularly true when individuals are charged with offenses that require mandatory minimum sentences.”
The Governor goes on to say, “The length of your 110-year sentence is simply not commensurate with your actions, nor with penalties handed down to others for similar crimes.”
Following the sentencing earlier this month, a public outcry erupted demanding Gov. Polis grant clemency or offer a commutation.
A Change.org petition garnered over five million signatures and celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Shakira spoke out in support of Aguilera-Mederos.
At the center of the outrage is Colorado’s mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines for “crimes of violence” of which Aguilera-Mederos was convicted on 16 counts.
During the sentencing, Judge A. Bruce Jones even expressed dismay that Colorado law required him to sentence Aguilera-Mederos to the 10-year minimum for each of the six counts of first-degree assault with extreme indifference, to be served consecutively.
He was also bound by law to sentence the trucker to the minimum of five years for each of the 10 counts of attempted first-degree assault with extreme indifference, also to be served consecutively.
Colorado law does not allow for sentences on such crimes to be served concurrently.
Mr. Polis indicated he was taking action swiftly in this case to “restore confidence in the uniformity and fairness of our criminal justice system.”
“At the end of the day, this arbitrary and unjust sentence was the result of a law of Colorado passed by the legislature and signed by a prior Governor and is not the fault of the judge who handed down the mandatory sentence required by the law in this case,” Mr. Polis said. “As such, it falls on me to take action to ensure that justice is served in this case, and I am doing so today with this limited commutation.”
Last week, in a stunning development, First Judicial District Attorney Alexis King — whose office won convictions on 27 criminal counts against the immigrant trucker — said she would be asking First Judicial District Court Judge Jones to resentence Aguilera-Mederos to 20-30 years.
A resentencing hearing was set for January 13, 2022, but that hearing may now be canceled.
This is a developing story.
TransportationNation.com will continue to gather reaction and fallout from today’s decision.