Outrage, protests and boycotts have ensued following the 110-year prison sentencing of truck driver Rogel Aguilera-Mederos.
The 26-year-old truck driver was found guilty Thursday (Dec 16.) on 27 counts for vehicular manslaughter after the brakes on his semi-truck failed, causing him to crash into stopped traffic, killing four people on Interstate 70 in Denver, Colorado back in 2019.
The sentence has since been met with overwhelming disagreement from all sides, including the judge and the victims’ families, not only because it was an accident, but due to the maximum penalty.
In particular, it’s been pointed out how Ethan Couch, a trucker who killed four people while driving drunk and who fled the country in 2018, was only given 10 years probation and even later had to serve 720 days in jail for violating his probation in comparison to Aguilera-Mederos.
The sentencing has brought forth a trucker-led movement on TikTok calling for truckers to boycott Colorado in efforts to get Governor Jared Polis to grant Rogel Aguilera-Mederos clemency or commute part of his sentence.
Similarly, a petition on change.org has surpassed the 4 million mark and states Aguilera-Mederos’ employer should be held accountable for what occurred. The petition also mentions that Aguilera-Mederos has a clean driving and criminal record and has fully cooperated with investigators, including passing alcohol and drug tests. The petition goes on to allege that the trucking company had a spotty record with equipment inspections.
Captured on video is Aguilera-Mederos’s emotional address to the judge: “I was working hard for a better future for my family,” Aguilera-Mederos said. “Please don’t be angry with me for saying I was not out robbing a bank or a store. I was not out shooting up crowds or a school. I was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. I was working and I lost my break. Truck drivers know this hard moment when you lose your brake. There's nothing you can do... I am begging for forgiveness...I have never thought about hurting anybody in my entire life...” he said.
In addition to the TikTok boycotts and the online petition, a rally took place outside the Colorado State Capitol building on December 20th with a second one planned on December 27th.
On Thursday (Dec 17.) Colorado Governor Jared Polis told the press, “We review all clemency applications, we’ve yet to receive one from the individual, but every clemency application that we receive, we review and make a determination.”
It’s yet to be seen if Aguilera-Mederos, who is also a Cuban immigrant, will be granted a shorter sentence.