Fury over 110-year sentence for US driver whose brakes failed

AFPPublished: 2021-12-23 10:20:40
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More than 4.5 million people including Kim Kardashian have called for a US truck driver's 110-year prison sentence to be reduced over a 2019 crash in which his brakes failed and he plowed into traffic, killing four people.

Cuban immigrant Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, 26, was transporting timber in the mountainous western state of Colorado in April 2019 when his brakes stopped functioning on a downhill stretch and he failed to use an emergency exit ramp.

The ensuing 28-car pileup also left six people wounded.

Aguilera-Mederos was found guilty by a jury on 27 counts including multiple vehicular homicides, and last week a judge handed down a 110-year sentence, which he said was the mandatory minimum under Colorado law.

"I will state that if I had the discretion, it would not be my sentence," he said, according to The Denver Post.

But the length of the jail term has caused a massive public outcry, with 4.6 million people signing a Change.org online petition calling for clemency or a commutation of his sentence based on time served.

Kardashian, who is training to become a lawyer, called on Colorado's governor Jared Polis to step in.

"Mandatory minimums take away judicial discretion and need to end," she tweeted.

"Colorado law really has to be changed and this is so unfair. @GovofCO is a really good person and I know he will do the right thing."

Polis said Tuesday his office has received a clemency application and is reviewing it.

Separately, the prosecutors who pursued the initial charges against Aguilera-Mederos on Friday filed a motion for the court to consider reducing his sentence.

"As Colorado law required the imposition of the sentence in this case, the law also permits the court to reconsider its sentence in an exceptional case involving unusual and extenuating circumstances," said the motion filed by district attorney Alexis King.

Some truck drivers have posted on social media that they will refuse to work in Colorado until the case is addressed.

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