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DA to seek reduced prison term for truck driver given 110 years in fatal crash

The district attorney will seek a sentence of 20 to 30 years instead. The judge had said his hands were tied under Colorado law.
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The Colorado district attorney whose office prosecuted a truck driver who was sentenced to more than a century behind bars will ask for a new prison term of 20 to 30 years, she said Monday.

First Judicial District Attorney Alexis King told reporters that the case of Rogel Aguilera-Mederos was "exceptional" and requires "an exceptional process." Aguilera-Mederos was convicted of multiple crimes after a crash that killed four people and injured two others in Lakewood, near Denver, in 2019.

"We have and will take the necessary steps for the court — who is the most informed about what happened in this case — to strike the appropriate balance when considering a new sentence," she said.

A resentencing hearing is scheduled for Jan. 13.

Aguilera-Mederos, 26, who has described the crash as a terrible accident, was sentenced to 110 years in prison on Dec. 13 because of state laws that require sentences for certain crimes be served back to back.

Monday's announcement came after a petition seeking to have the sentence commuted garnered nearly 5 million signatures.

A lawyer for Aguilera-Mederos said in an interview Monday that his legal team hadn't yet determined an appropriate sentencing recommendation. But the lawyer, James Colgan, said 20 to 30 years was still "significantly higher than we think is just."

"It's always been our contention that this was a series of negligent decisions," he said. "He's not a danger to society. Those are the kinds of sentences you give to dangers to society."

Aguilera-Mederos was hauling lumber on Interstate 70 on April 25, 2019, when the brakes on his semi-truck failed, prompting a fiery chain-reaction crash that involved 28 other vehicles. His truck was traveling at 84 mph before the crash.

Doyle Harrison, 61; William Bailey, 67; Stanley Politano, 69; and Miguel Lamas Arrellano, 24, were killed.

Prosecutors argued that Aguilera-Mederos failed to prevent the crash. He was convicted in October of 27 counts, including vehicular homicide, first-degree assault and attempted assault.

During Aguilera-Mederos' sentencing this month, Judge A. Bruce Jones said that while Aguilera-Mederos may not have intended to hurt anyone, he made a series of "terrible" and "reckless" decisions.

Jones said he didn't believe that Aguilera-Mederos' sentences should be served back to back, or consecutively, but he said he didn't have the discretion to choose a different outcome. He added that he believed Aguilera-Mederos deserved prison time.

King said that the recommendation of 20 to 30 years isn't bound by mandatory sentencing laws and that it was reached after discussions with victims and survivors.