This has been in the news for a while now, not just in the trucking industry, but nationwide, and attracting the attention of people who could not tell the difference between diesel and gasoline.
On April 25th, 2019, truck driver Rogel Aguilera-Mederos was traveling along I-70 when he said his brakes failed. He lost control of the truck and crashed, leaving four people dead. He has been sentenced to 110 years in prison for this accident.
Consecutive vs. Concurrent
Under Colorado law, mandatory minimum sentences state that charges must be served consecutively, rather than concurrently. This mostly makes sense except in the most extreme cases such as for Aguilera-Mederos, where the typical lifespan of a person is no more than eighty.
Truckers have expressed their outrage on social media, hoping to use their economic leverage to help reduce Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence to 20-30 years. At one point, #NoTrucksToColorado and #NoTrucksColorado trended.
Protestors and industry advocates are asking Governor Jared Polis to reduce the sentence.
“The facts clearly point to him being at fault, but the sentence is way out of line,” Greg Fulton of the Colorado Motor Carriers Association said in a statement. “We are looking to make this a teaching moment and identifying the strategies to avoid other accidents like this.”
The debacle has also made public consciousness. As of the time of writing, there is a change.org petition that has garnered almost five million signatures.
What Happens Next
At the time of writing, the First Judicial District Court is holding a hearing as to whether or not to reduce Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence from 110 years to 20-30 years.
Regardless of the outcome, the Cuban immigrant is not going to get off easy. Fulton mentioned in his letter that Aguilera-Mederos had shown a reckless disregard for safety, ignoring speed limit signs, lower gear signs, and a runaway truck ramp on the I-70.
What are your thoughts on the Colorado mandatory minimums? Should there be mandatory maximums considering the average lifespan of a human being? Finally, do you think the 110-year sentence will discourage newcomers from joining the trucking industry, exacerbating the “driver shortage”? Let us know in the comments below.
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