You might remember but a few days ago we wrote about how Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, a Cuban immigrant truck driver, was sentenced to 110 years in prison. Colorado Governor Jared Polis has reduced his sentence from 110 years to a decade.
On April 25th, 2019, Aguilera-Mederos was traveling down I-70 when his truck’s brakes failed, causing the death of four people. Prosecutors were able to prove in a court of law that Aguilera-Mederos knew his brakes were faulty but continued to drive anyway, and that he ignored a few runaway truck ramps.
While the trucking industry’s consensus is that he is guilty and must serve time, people are opposed to Colorado’s sentencing structure which requires consecutive sentencing rather than concurrent.
On December 30th, Governor Polis wrote a clemency letter granting the Cuban driver a lighter sentence, ten years in total. “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”, Governor Polis wrote.
The change is quite a shock, as prosecutors asked for 20 to 30 years. Aguilera-Mederos is eligible for parole in five years and will be 36 when he is eventually released.
What Happens Next
Polis also mentioned in his clemency letter that steps are being taken to make sure such an accident does not happen on I-70 again. The Colorado Department of Public Safety has launched a program called Mountain Rules, which sends in-cab alerts to sophisticated trucks about the locations of runaway truck ramps and locations where a driver can get his or her brakes checked.
This turn of events can also be considered a boon for the trucking industry in a sense: a 110-year sentence is enough to turn almost anyone away from any job, but the reduction makes it so that drivers performing due diligence do not have to work in fear.
What are your thoughts on this news story and its conclusion? Above all else, it highlights the importance of having well-maintained brakes in your vehicle at all time
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