TheTrucker.com

Bail set at $400,000 for flatbed driver in fatal Colorado crash

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Bail set at $400,000 for flatbed driver in fatal Colorado crash
This Thursday, April 25, 2019 photo provided by West Metro Fire Rescue shows the remains of a tractor-trailer at the scene of a deadly pileup involving over two dozen vehicles near Denver. A truck driver blamed for causing the deadly pileup has been arrested on vehicular homicide charges. Lakewood police spokesman Ty Countryman said Friday that there's no indication that drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash. (Ronda Scholting/West Metro Fire Rescue via AP)

GOLDEN, Colo. — A speeding semitrailer whose driver appeared to one witness to be “wide eyed” and “terrified” passed a truck ramp before plowing into other vehicles on a crowded highway near Denver, killing four people and injuring at least six others, according to court documents released Saturday.

The truck driver, 23-year-old Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, of Houston, made his first court appearance Saturday after being arrested on suspicion of vehicular homicide.

State District Judge Chris Zenisek set $400,000 bond. Aguilera-Mederos, who suffered minor injuries in the crash, didn’t speak during the hearing. He was represented by Denver attorney Robert Corry, who couldn’t be reached for comment afterward.

Deputy District Attorney Kate Knowles had recommended a $500,000 bond, citing Aguilera-Mederos’ status as a green card holder from Cuba with no ties to Colorado and the seriousness of the wreck.

His next court hearing is set for May 3, when prosecutors are expected to file charges against Aguilera-Mederos, who remains in the Jefferson County jail.

The crash happened Thursday on Interstate 70 where the highway descends from the Rocky Mountains and involved 28 vehicles.

According to the arrest affidavit in the case, Aguilera-Mederos told investigators that his brakes had failed on his truck, which was hauling lumber, and he noticed his truck was traveling 85 mph before the crash.

However, other motorists told police that the truck seemed to be traveling faster. In addition, two witnesses in another truck said they saw fluid coming from the rear of the trailer on the truck driven by Aguilera-Mederos.

According to the affidavit, Aguilera-Mederos’ truck passed a sign advising drivers of a runaway ramp, which enables vehicles that are having braking problems to safely stop, 2,000 feet ahead and had a “free and unobstructed path” onto the ramp but instead swerved away from the ramp, which is located off the side of the highway.

A speed limit sign on that stretch of road limited commercial vehicles to 45 mph.

Aguilera-Mederos told police that he tried to activate emergency brakes without success and that just before his truck hit other stopped vehicles he thought he was going to die so he “closed his eyes,” the affidavit says.

One driver whose vehicle was passed by the speeding truck said he saw that “the driver of the semi was ‘wide eyed’ with a terrified look on his face.”

After the collision, Aguilera-Mederos crawled from the truck as fire began to engulf the crash scene, triggering explosions and a fire so intense that it melted the roadway and metal off cars.

The interstate was closed for nearly 24 hours before completely reopening Friday night.

The Associated Press Logo

The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting. Founded in 1846, AP today remains the most trusted source of fast, accurate, unbiased news in all formats and the essential provider of the technology and services vital to the news business. The Trucker Media Group is subscriber of The Associated Press has been granted the license to use this content on TheTrucker.com and The Trucker newspaper in accordance with its Content License Agreement with The Associated Press.

Avatar for The Associated Press
The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting. Founded in 1846, AP today remains the most trusted source of fast, accurate, unbiased news in all formats and the essential provider of the technology and services vital to the news business. The Trucker Media Group is subscriber of The Associated Press has been granted the license to use this content on TheTrucker.com and The Trucker newspaper in accordance with its Content License Agreement with The Associated Press.
For over 30 years, the objective of The Trucker editorial team has been to produce content focused on truck drivers that is relevant, objective and engaging. After reading this article, feel free to leave a comment about this article or the topics covered in this article for the author or the other readers to enjoy. Let them know what you think! We always enjoy hearing from our readers.

COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE

Clark Transfer