Late last week, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis commuted the 110-year sentence of truck driver Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, who was convicted this past October on four counts of vehicular homicide. His sentence was reduced to 10 years.
Rogel Aguilera-Mederos of Cuban descent, was driving a semi-tractor-trailer in April 2019 at 85 mph when he said his brakes failed. The accident caused a 28-car pileup and took the lives of four people. The 110-year sentence was enforced last month by Judge Bruce Jones, who stated it was the mandatory minimum sentence under Colorado law. He noted that the lengthy sentence would not have been his choice if given an option.
Polis called the original sentence “highly atypical and unjust.” In Aguilera-Mederos’ clemency letter, Polis wrote, “The length of your 110-year sentence is simply not commensurate with your actions, nor with penalties handed down to others for similar crimes.”
When Rogel Aguilera-Mederos’ original sentence was announced, there was an outcry from the public who believed sending someone to prison for the rest of his life for an accident was not fair. More than five million people signed an online petition urging Polis to commute Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence. Fellow truck drivers, too, stood in solidarity with him and threatened not to drive to Colorado if his sentence was not reduced. They used the hashtags #NoTrucksColorado and #DontDriveColorado on social media.
A district court judge had scheduled a January 13 hearing to reconsider Aguilera-Mederos’ original sentence, but that hearing will no longer occur now that Polis has stepped in. District attorneys hoped Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence would be reduced to 20-30 years. Now, Aguilera-Mederos will be eligible for parole in five years – on December 30, 2026.