LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) - The 23-year-old driver suspected of causing a massive, fiery and deadly crash on Interstate 70 was in court on Saturday. Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos faces multiple charges of vehicular homicide related to the accident.
A judge ordered his bond be set at $400,000 cash or surety, however formal charges will not be filed until his next, unannounced hearing.
"This individual, Mr. Aguilera, has no prior criminal history whatsoever. No arrests. No convictions. In fact, he has no, even, traffic convictions," Aguilera's attorney, Robert Corry, said Saturday. He went on to say Aguilera-Mederos voluntarily submitted to every drug and alcohol test he was asked to perform.
"This was an accident, a tragic, horrible accident. I'm not trying to minimize that and my client definitely is not trying to minimize that. He is suffering greatly from really what I think is an extreme case of survivor's guilt," Corry said.
The prosecution then briefly stated a few words to the court.
"We're certainly gratified the defendant is remorseful. I can tell the court that during his extensive interview with law enforcement at no point did he ask if everyone was okay. At no point did he ask if anyone was injured. I'm told he demonstrated a nonchalant demeanor," the prosecution said.
Four people were killed on Thursday afternoon and 10 others injured in the fiery crash.
Corry declined to expand on details about why Aguilera-Mederos did not use an emergency truck ramp along I-70. Corry said he believes the question came up multiple times during the 90 minute law enforcement interview.
Lakewood police department says no alcohol or drugs were involved, but Aguilera-Mederos had no control over his truck. His attorney says he obtained his Commercial Drivers License in Texas and has driven in Texas, Colorado and Wyoming.
According to an arrest affidavit, a couple traveling on I-70 eastbound near the Lookout Mountain exit saw the speeding semi and followed it. Investigators say the couple used their cell phones to record the semi near the Genesee exit, noticing a trail of fluid from the rear of the truck.
His brother-in-law described what happened through a translator.
"Rogel told her (his sister) he had an accident that he had lost control of the truck's brakes and that he was in the E.R.," said Elvis Cedeno.
Investigators determined the driver had a commercial driver's license from Texas. The truck Aguilera-Mederos was driving was hauling a load of 2x4 lumber.
A mechanical inspection will be done on the semi, but the amount of heat from the damage may make that inspection incomplete.
Aguilera-Mederos' next court appearance is scheduled for May 3.
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