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Governor Polis reduces sentence of truck driver who was given 110 years in fatal crash

Jared Polis, the Democratic governor of Colorado, commuted the sentence of Rogel Aguilera-Mederos to 10 years on Thursday, and Aguilera-Mederos will be eligible for parole in five.

The 26-year-old truck driver was previously sentenced to 110 years behind bars for a 2019 crash that killed four people. Polis said he decided to grant the commutation as the sentencing was disproportionate for a “tragic but unintentional act.”

“The length of your 110-year sentence is simply not commensurate with your actions, nor with penalties handed down to others for similar crimes,” Polis wrote in Aguilera-Mederos’ letter solidifying his commutation.

“There is an urgency to remedy this unjust sentence and restore confidence in the uniformity and fairness of our criminal justice system, and consequently I have chosen to commute your sentence now.” 

Aguilera-Mederos said the crash took place after the breaks on his truck malfunctioned while he was traveling on Colorado’s Interstate 70. Prosecutors argued, though, that he missed a runaway truck ramp, which could have prevented the accident altogether. As a result of the crash, dozens were injured, and four were killed, leading to 27 charges in total against Aguilera-Mederos.

During his sentencing, he said he regretted the crash and wished he died instead of the four victims. “My life is not a happy life,” he told CBS Denver. “It is a very sad life because four people died.” 

Polis made the announcement that Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence would be commuted as he announced two other commutations, fifteen individual pardons, and an executive order granting 1.351 pardons for all convicted of possessing two ounces or less of marijuana.

Aguilera-Mederos’ original 110-year sentence was the result of minimum sentencing laws in Colorado, but once his sentencing garnered national attention, over three million people signed a petition requesting clemency be granted to him. 

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: NBC NEWS

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