A trucker who claims that a brake failure was the cause of a deadly crash in Colorado now faces at least 40 criminal charges. According to a prosecutor, the driver is “looking at decades in the Department of Corrections.” Authorities say whether it was driver error or mechanical failure, criminal charges including vehicular manslaughter will still remain.
Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, a Houston-based trucker, was driving on I-70 in Lakewood, Colorado, about 10 miles West of Denver. The speed limit in the area is 45 miles per hour, but according to police, Aguilera-Mederos was going “in excess of 85 miles per hour” when he slammed into stopped traffic which had backed up due to a different accident ahead.
“Mr. Aguilera was observed by a number of citizens driving recklessly, swerving through various lanes of the road,” said District Attorney Pete Weir according to UPI.
But according to Aguilera-Mederos, the brakes on his truck had failed. The steep downhill grade caused rapid acceleration, and, according to his arrest warrant, his emergency brakes were ineffective.
Aguilera-Mederos tried to avoid other vehicles by pulling into the emergency lane, but there was already another truck there. The accident was massive, involving 28 vehicles. Four people lost their lives.
“Everybody agrees it was an accident,” Aguilera-Mederos’ attorney, Robert Corry said. “Law enforcement agrees it was an accident. Everybody who has been investigating or has looked at it believes it was an accident, and it’s tragic.”
According to Corry, the charges brought against his client constitute “a massive unprecedented overreach by the prosecution” on what was allegedly an accident caused by mechanical failure.
“We believe there was some sort of malfunction, something, and there is pretty good evidence,” Corry said.
Investigators say that since the truck was completely destroyed in the accident and resulting fire, it won’t be possible for an inspection to determine whether or not there was any mechanical failure to blame. But according to Lakewood Police Department Agent Ty Countryman, it doesn’t matter if mechanical failure was to blame – the charges will remain the same.
According to his attorney, Aguilera-Mederos has a clean driving record without even a speeding ticket. There was no evidence of distracted driving, drug use, or alcohol impairment.
Aguilera-Mederos has been charged with four counts of vehicular homicide, six counts of first-degree assault, twenty-four counts of attempted first-degree assault, two counts of vehicular assault, one count of reckless driving, and three counts of crime of violence.