More Than ONE MILLION People Demand RELEASE of Trucker Sentenced to Prison For 110 Years
Denver, CO – More than one million people are already demanding the release of a trucker who this week was sentenced to 110 years in prison for his role in a horrific 2019 crash along Interstate 70 which claimed the lives of four people.
In the wake of the sentencing, a Change.org petition launched in support of Mederos shortly after the crash picked up more than one million additional signatures.
“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,” Heather Gilbee of Thornton, CO, wrote after the sentence was handed down. “I’m not related to Rogel, or any of his family, I simply believe that he doesn’t deserve his sentence or these charges.”
Specifically, the petition, updated since the sentencing, calls on Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D) to immediately grant Mederos clemency or commute his sentence.
“This accident was not intentional, nor was it a criminal act on the driver’s part. No one but the trucking company he is/was employed by should be held accountable for this accident,” the petition states. “The trucking company has had several inspections since 2017, with several mechanical violations.”
At the time of the crash, Mederos was employed by Houston, TX-based Castellano 03 Trucking.
In the days after the accident, Transportation Nation Network (TNN) reported the now-defunct trucking company had been cited for 30 safety violations during 19 inspections in the previous 24 months with three trucks being placed out of service during that time.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrations (FMCSA) Safety Measurement System (SMS), Castellano 03 Trucking had received 23 vehicle maintenance violations, with ten of those involving brake issues.
Further, the company was cited on two occasions for violations pertaining to their drivers not being able to adequately speak and read English.
Throughout the legal proceedings in the case, Mederos often made use of a translator, even admitting during his sentencing hearing his ability to speak English is limited.
As many truckers are aware, federal law requires motor carriers “shall not permit a person to drive a commercial motor vehicle” unless that person “can read and speak the English language sufficiently to converse with the general public, to understand highway traffic signs and signals in the English language, to respond to official inquiries, and to make entries on reports and records.”
Those familiar with the facts of the case know Mederos drove past multiple clearly marked truck ramps as he was descending along I-70 while at a high rate of speed and headed directly into rush hour traffic.
This was among the key pieces of evidence prosecutors hammered home to the jury in support of the slew of criminal counts Mederos was charged with, including: ten counts of attempt to commit assault in the first degree- extreme indifference and four counts of vehicular homicide.
Click HERE to read a synopsis of the trial.
Mederos’s defense attorney did not argue Mederos was unable to read the signs, but rather he was an inexperienced driver — especially on that route — and had not been sufficiently trained on how to handle such a difficult driving situation.
“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.
In handing down the sentence, Judge A. Bruce Jones said that even though the trucker made a “series of terrible decisions,” he had “no desire” to see Mederos spend the rest of his life in prison.
However, the Judge explained Colorado law left him no other choice but to impose at least the minimum sentences for violent crimes and they must be served consecutively.
Mederos can seek appeal within 49 days of his sentencing.
He can also seek a reconsideration of the sentence.
As of publishing, the petition has more than 1.4 million signatures.
TransportationNation.com will continue to monitor any new developments.