Texas trucker convicted in fiery, fatal crash in Rocky Mountains
BY KEITH COFFMAN
(Reuters) - A Texas truck driver who lost control of his semi-trailer on a mountain road in Colorado in 2019, rammed it into slow traffic and killed four people in a violent accident was convicted of vehicle murders and related charges late Friday.
Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, 25, was convicted by a jury in Jefferson County, Colorado, on four counts of murder and more than two dozen other charges, including assault, reckless driving and careless driving resulting in death.
He was sentenced on December 13th and faces decades of imprisonment.
Prosecutors said during the trial that Aguilera-Mederos knew his brakes were failing when he was driving down Interstate 70 west of Denver on April 15, 2019. Prosecutors said he bypassed four runaway truck ramps along the interstate and ruthlessly drove in and out of traffic before crashing and triggering a pile-up of 28 cars.
The semi-trailer truck that was hauling timber went up in flames, ignited a fireball that engulfed more than two dozen vehicles, and closed Interstate 70, the main east-west highway through the Colorado mountains, for more than a day.
Defending himself, Aguilera-Mederos testified that he could no longer control the machine after the brakes failed and said he tried to avoid other vehicles.
He admitted that he had never driven in the Colorado mountains before and said he "wish it was me" who died instead of the victims.
(Reporting by Keith Coffmann in Denver; Editing by Leslie Adler)
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