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Colorado Governor Reduces 110-Year Sentence For Truck Driver Who Killed Four

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A truck driver who was sentenced to 110 years in prison for his role in a deadly crash has had his sentence reduced to 10 years by Gov. Jared Polis (D-CO).

Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, a 26-year-old truck driver from Texas, was given the lengthy sentence due to Colorado law following the deadly crash. Aguilera-Mederos maintains that his brakes failed on a downhill grade outside Denver, causing him to fatally strike four people. During his trial, prosecutors argued that Aguilera-Mederos acted recklessly in his decisions prior to the deadly crash.

Aguilera-Mederos was traveling an estimated 85 mph on a stretch of road with a 45 mph speed limit for commercial vehicles. He was sentenced to 110 years in prison for a 28-car crash and fire caused by his failed breaks.

Millions signed a petition to argue that Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence was too steep and on Thursday, Gov. Polis agreed, calling the crash a “tragic but unintentional act,” NBC News reported.

“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,” Polis wrote in a letter addressed to Aquilera-Mederos.

Polis added that the case “highlights the lack of uniformity between sentences.”

“This was a tragic event that affected many Coloradans,” Polis wrote, according to NBC. “Though your actions have caused immense pain, I am encouraged by your personal reflection and the commercial vehicle safety changes that were made in the wake of this tragedy to ensure this type of event never happens again.”

More from NBC:

First Judicial District Attorney Alexis King told reporters Monday that the case was “exceptional” and that it required “an exceptional process.” Her office was seeking to resentence him to 20 to 30 years, instead.

“We have and will take the necessary steps for the court — who is the most informed about what happened in this case — to strike the appropriate balance when considering a new sentence,” King said.

At the initial sentencing, Judge A. Bruce Jones said the law required him to sentence Aguilera-Mederos to consecutive sentences, meaning they are served back to back.

“If I had the discretion, if I thought I had the discretion, I would not run those sentences consecutively,” Jones said.

Following Aguilera-Mederos’ steep sentencing, a Change.org petition was started with more than five million people demanding his sentence e reduced.

“This accident was not intentional, nor was it a criminal act on the drivers part. No one but the trucking company he is/was employed by should be held accountable for this accident,” said the petition, which was started by a woman named Heather Gilbee.

Prior to Polis’ letter reducing Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence, The Denver Post editorial board called on the governor to commute the sentence.

“We are not intending to undermine the verdict from the jury — Aguilera-Mederos did indeed kill four people and seriously injure others in a tragic and preventable crash,” the editorial board wrote.

“But we do think there is an important distinction that the law, as written, did not allow jurors or the judge to make,” they added. “The 26-year-old was not drunk. He was not intentionally driving recklessly because he was in a hurry or out for a thrill or running from police. He was not even full of road rage as his semi-truck accelerated down Interstate 70 out of control.”

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