JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) - A judge in Jefferson County sentenced Rogel Aguilera-Mederos to 110 years in prison Monday for the crash that killed four people and injured several more. Aguilera-Mederos was the driver of an out-of-control semi that crashed into stopped traffic on Interstate 70 in 2019.
Before the decision was read, the families of those killed spoke about their loss.
"It's been difficult, sometimes it feels like being half a person," said Kathleen Harrison who lost her husband Doyle Harrison in the crash.
Others shared stories about the impact of their loss.
"My mothers' life has been turned upside down," the brother of Angel Miguel Angel Lamas told the court.
From a wheelchair, the mother of Bill Bailey lashed out at the driver for decisions he made that led to the crash and the death of her son.
"He was taken away from me in an instant by the actions of a selfish person," Juanita Bailey told the judge.
Aguilera-Mederos didn't take a runaway truck ramp after losing the brakes on his truck, a point the prosecution focused on during the trial and one the jury would use as a factor to convict him on more than 20 counts. The most serious, vehicular homicide.
"It hurts, I ask god too many times why them and not me? Why did I survive that accident?" Aguilera-Mederos said to the court.
While family members of those lost called for some prison time, they also spoke of forgiveness.
"I do believe [the driver] needs to take responsibility for their actions. I know they did not intend for this to happen, but because of your actions it did happen," Megan Harrison said.
The judge also acknowledged that Aguilera-Mederos didn't intend to harm anyone, but that under guidelines set by the law his sentence could be no less than 110 years.
"I accept and respect what the defendant has said about his lack of intent to hurt people, but he made a series of terrible decisions, reckless decisions," the judge said.
"If I had the discretion it would not be my sentence," said the judge.
Attorneys for Aguilera-Mederos argued there is case law that should apply and would allow for the minimum sentence, in this case, to be decreased to 20 years. The judge disagreed, but did say it may be a case that may be appropriate for review.
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