Truck Driver Charged With 36 Felony Counts, Defense Says “Massive Overreach”
Denver, Colorado – Prosecutors on Friday formally filed an avalanche of charges against 23-year-old truck driver Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos stemming from his involvement in a 28-vehicle crash along I-70 on April 25 which resulted in the deaths of 4 people and seriously injured 2 others.
“We filed charges based upon our belief that Mr. Aguilera acted with extreme indifference,” Jefferson County District Attorney, Pete Weir, said at a news conference to announce the list of charges.
Aguilera-Mederos is now facing 36 felony counts which are as follows: four counts of vehicular homicide, six counts of first-degree assault, two counts of vehicular assault and 24 counts of attempt first-degree assault.
He is also facing four other charges which are, one count of reckless driving and three counts of crime of violence.
“If we are successful in this prosecution, he is looking at many, many, many years in the Department of Corrections,” Weir stated.
If convicted on all felony counts, Aguilera-Mederos faces the following:
First-degree assault is a Class 3 felony carrying a presumption of 10 to 32 years in prison.
Attempted first-degree assault is a Class 4 felony carrying a presumption of 5 to 16 years in prison.
Vehicular homicide is a Class 4 felony carrying a presumption of 2 to 6 years in prison.
Vehicular assault is a Class 3 felony carrying a presumption of 1 to 3 years in prison.
Aguilera-Mederos was in court again on Friday, but this time via video from the Jefferson County jail where he is being held on $400,000 bond.
Flanked by a translator on his right and his attorney, Denver-lawyer Robert Corry, on his left, Aguilera-Mederos was advised of the charges against him.
Corry reacted to the charges by calling them “prosecutorial overkill,” arguing this was an accident.
“This is a massive, unprecedented overreach by the prosecution. To charge first degree assault — a crime of violence — on a vehicle accident? Everybody who has looked at this — from the law enforcement, Colorado Department of Transportation, State Patrol, experts up and down all agree this is an accident,” Corry said.
Weir defended the charges. “I characterize it as a crash not an accident,” he said during today’s announcement.
“The number of counts reflects the magnitude of the incident and the number of people that were either hurt or could have been hurt as a result of his actions,” Weir explained.
Even still, Weir acknowledged, “this is a complex case.”
Weir also confirmed the investigation is ongoing. “We will continue to seek out and interview witnesses,” he said.
Weir said “it had not been determined” if the semi-truck Aguilera-Mederos was operating at the time of the crash experienced “brake failure” as Aguilera-Mederos contends.
Further, he said ascertaining such information with certainty would be difficult.
“The vehicle itself was completely destroyed, so its not in a position to have a mechanical inspection performed. There will be other means by which we hopefully can determine whether or not brakes were the cause of the accident,” he said.
To win a conviction on the charges, Weir and his team must prove Aguilera-Mederos acted in a “reckless manner” and “knowingly engaged in conduct that resulted in death or serious bodily injury.”
Transportation Nation Network will be bringing you further reporting and new analysis on this case tomorrow (Saturday, May 4), so stay logged on for the latest and make sure to follow us on social media for alerts.
Watch the district attorney’s full press conference HERE.
Read more of Transportation Nation Network’s comprehensive reporting on this story HERE.