The reaction to Rogel Aguilera-Mederos’ 110-year prison sentence, handed down in the Jefferson County Courthouse last week, has been immediate and widespread. Last Thursday, the 26-year-old truck driver was found guilty on 27 different counts related to a deadly incident on Interstate 70 in Denver, Colorado. The brakes on Aguilera-Mederos’ semi-truck failed, and he crashed into stopped traffic, killing four people.
While the prosecution asked for and got an extraordinary severe mandatory sentence, the harshness has faced widespread disagreement, even from the judge and the victims’ families.
Protests in metro Denver have occurred, including a large one on Dec. 20. A trucker-led social media campaign has exploded on TikTok, with hundreds of thousands of people weighing in. Truckers from across the country have announced that they will refuse to drive in Colorado to get Governor Jared Polis to grant Rogel Aguilera-Mederos clemency or commute part of his sentence.
They are circulating videos reportedly at the state borders showing scenes of trucks stopped on the highway shoulders lined up seemingly for miles.
There is a second rally set for 8:30 a.m. on December 27 as protesters caravan to the Jefferson County Courthouse. No one knows whether the emotional reaction on social media for this sentencing of a truck driver will translate into an even larger rally next Monday.
Either based on the fervor seen across social media regarding the sentencing, or second-guessing the request, even the prosecuting attorneys have asked the judge to reconsider the harsh sentence of what the public appears to believe was a tragic accident. Of course, their request might also have a little something to do with publicity over the fact that the prosecuting attorneys were presented with an award for their work from their peers fashioned out a truck brake pad.
If truckers were indeed to make good on their threat to not drive in Colorado, it could have an immediate impact on the state’s supply chain, particularly on rural areas, which are typically at the end of the supply chain delivery schedules.