Crime /

Colorado Governor Commutes 110-Year Sentence of Truck Driver to Ten Years

After the sentence drew international attention and criticism, Governor Polis used his executive power to change the outcome

The truck driver convicted in a deadly 2019 car pileup on a Colorado freeway had his sentence significantly reduced Thursday after Gov. Jared Polis commuted punishment in the case, which had been under worldwide scrutiny.

Instead of serving the 110-year prison sentence, Rogel Aguilera-Mederos will serve only ten years, with eligibility for parole on Dec. 30, 2026. 

The commutation came after Aguilera-Mederos applied for clemency earlier this month on his 27 charges. The sentence drew outrage and ignited a petition on that garnered millions of signatures from people who supported a reduction, including Kim Kardashian West. 

West expressed her gratitude Thursday to Gov. Polis on Twitter.

On Thursday, Governor Polis issued a letter regarding his decision and input for the State’s leadership. 

“You were sentenced to 110 years in prison, effectively more than a life sentence, for a tragic but unintentional act,” Polis wrote. “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.

“The length of your 110-year sentence is simply not commensurate with your actions, nor with penalties handed down to others for similar crimes. There is an urgency to remedy this unjust sentence and restore confidence in the uniformity and fairness of our criminal justice system, and consequently I have chosen to commute your sentence now.”

Further, Polis called on the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice to review sentencing guidelines to prevent future outcomes like this case.

Aguilera-Mederos’ truck traveled at about 85 mph before slamming into dozens of stopped vehicles, causing a large explosion. The resulting tragedy took the lives of four innocent people, injuring dozens of others on Interstate 70. The victims were Doyle Harrison, 61; William Bailey, 67; Stan Politano, 69; and 24-year-old Miguel Angel Lamas Arrellano.

After a short trial, Aguilera-Mederos was convicted of vehicular homicide and 23 lesser charges.

He shared the following statement at the sentencing through a tear-filled and shaky composure:

“I am not a criminal. I am not a murderer. I am not a killer. When I look at my charges, we are talking about a murderer, which is not me. I have never thought about hurting anybody in my entire life.”

The prosecutor in the case, Kayla Wildeman, also came under fire after a now-deleted Facebook post on her personal page showed an image of a trophy made from a brake shoe to celebrate the conviction. 

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13 responses to “Colorado Governor Commutes 110-Year Sentence of Truck Driver to Ten Years”

  1. IanR says:

    I notice the comments split on which side to take, and this seems like some kind of bellwether I’m just not sure exactly what about though.

  2. LegenJerry says:

    @Stephen Menard you’re right, we’re pretty despicable for trying to discern if there was intent or not. An immigrant that’s still learning English and not sufficiently trained accidentally killed 4 people and injured dozens of others. He should be behind bars for the rest of his life or even the death penalty for accidentally killing those people. Forget the company that gave him that truck, forget the insufficient training they gave him, pay no mind to the truckers that are importing goods into my state protesting over the unfair sentencing and refusing to deliver those goods into my state. This guy accidentally killed people therefore he should have his life taken away from him too.

  3. CivilLib says:

    By deserved the time he got I mean 110 years.

  4. CivilLib says:

    He deserved the time he got.

  5. Stephen Menard says:

    I guess 4 lives are worth 10 years. All of y’all in the comments would have different energy if he took out ur family. Sickening.

  6. GoatHerd says:

    Interested to see how many years Darrell E. Brooks, Jr. , AKA the Waukesha Christmas parade SUV driver gets.

  7. BluestateRedcounty says:

    110 years was ridiculously harsh. Maybe we need far better training for truck drivers. He may not even have known about emergency ramps. He was probably not very well trained and certainly not experienced. It is why I never compete with or allow a truck close behind, beside, or in front of me. I will either blast past them.( I have an AMG Benz)
    or I will slow down until I am safely behind. Ya never know…

  8. TruckeeCrawdad says:

    Thank god man. He may have been negligent but 110 years was fucking rediculous

  9. LegenJerry says:

    Yo I hear both arguments. I understand 4 people died because of an accident, and the driver could’ve prevented it. But the intent remains, those 4 people died because of an accident, not because the driver had it out for them. I’m happy he still has some of his life still ahead of him and not inside a cell for the rest of it.

  10. IntegratedCrazy says:

    So truck driver gets ten years for an accident. That’s justice? We should praise the governor? No thanks.

  11. pandusa says:

    Thank you, Kim Kardashian…now what is it your famous for again? I mercifully, have forgotten.

  12. Night_Coder says:

    You do realize his brakes failed because of his erratic driving and then once they did fail, he chose to not use, not one, but two run away truck ramps that were not blocked in any way? He chose to stay in the road, resulting in the crash. He had multiple chances to stop his truck safely, but willingly decided against that.

  13. Chas says:

    I’m really happy to hear this. Life in prison was far too harsh for an accident. Especially for someone so young.