Outraged truck drivers are refusing to transport goods in and out of the US state of Colorado in protest of the 110-year prison sentence being served by Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, 26.
Aguilera-Mederos was handed the hefty sentence earlier this month after his semi-trailer caused a fiery pile-up that killed four people and injured six others on Interstate 70 near Denver in 2019.
This week, truck drivers from across the country vowed to show their support of the 26-year-old by refusing to drive their loads into the state where he was convicted of vehicular homicide.
Videos posted on TikTok have captured long lines of large trucks stopped on the side of unnamed highways. The hashtag #NoTrucksColorado is trending in the US, as is #JusticForRogelAguilera.
A Change.org petition demanding Aguilera-Mederos receive a commuted sentence or clemency has gained 4.4 million signatures.
The 26-year-old’s attorney James Colgan told local publication KDVR on Monday (local time) that an application for clemency is “in the works”.
“Part of the application process requires the findings and evaluations by the Department of Corrections be sent to the governor. That isn’t the case with Mr Mederos. He hasn’t been in the system very long,” Mr Colgan said.
At the time of sentencing District Court Judge Bruce Jones said the 110 year term was the mandatory minimum set forth under state law, The Denver Post reported.
“I will state that if I had the discretion, it would not be my sentence,” he said at the time.
Aguilera-Mederos testified that the brakes on his semi failed before he plowed into vehicles that had slowed because of another wreck.
But prosecutors argued he could have used one of several exit ramps as his truck barrelled down from the mountains at 137km/h.
The speed limit for commercial vehicles in that area is 72 km/h because of the steep descent, according to investigators.
The 28-vehicle chain-reaction wreck ruptured gas tanks, causing flames that consumed several vehicles and melted parts of the highway.
Police said that just before the crash, the semi travelled past a ramp on the side of the interstate that is designed to safely stop trucks and other vehicles that have lost their brakes
Miguel Angel Lamas Arellano, 24, William Bailey, 67, Doyle Harrison, 61, and Stanley Politano, 69, were killed.
Aguilera-Mederos wept as he spoke during his sentencing hearing on December 14, apologising to the families of the victims and asking for their forgiveness.
“I am not a criminal,” he said.
“I am not a murderer. I am not a killer. When I look at my charges, we are talking about a murderer, which is not me. I have never thought about hurting anybody in my entire life.”
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