Rogel Aguilera-Mederos will now serve a 10-year sentence and will be eligible for parole on December 30, 2026, according to a clemency letter Polis wrote to him.
He was driving a semi tractor-trailer in April 2019, traveling at 85 mph, when the brakes failed, he told investigators at the time. He tried to pull over to the shoulder to avoid stopped traffic, but another semi had already stopped there, according to an arrest affidavit.
The crash led to a 28-car pileup that left four dead, the Lakewood Police Department said at the time. Killed were Miguel Angel Lamas Arellano, 24; William Bailey, 67; Doyle Harrison, 61; and Stanley Politano, 69.
“The length of your 110-year sentence is simply not commensurate with your actions, nor with penalties handed down to others for similar crimes,” Polis wrote in the clemency letter.
In his letter, Polis wrote the “arbitrary and unjust” sentence was “the result of a law of Colorado passed by the legislature and signed by a prior Governor and is not the fault of the judge who handed down the mandatory sentence required by the law in this case.”
“This case will hopefully spur an important conversation about sentencing laws, but any subsequent changes to the law would not retroactively impact your sentence, which is why I am granting you this limited commutation,” Polis wrote.
James Colgan, one of the attorneys for Aguilera-Mederos, told CNN he was surprised the governor made the decision before a hearing to reconsider the sentence that was scheduled for next month. Colgan said it was welcome news, and he fully expects Aguilera-Mederos will accept the clemency offer.
“Obviously, I think that that was the maximum sentence that Mr. Mederos should have received — 10 years. And Mr. Mederos is of course extraordinarily grateful for the governor’s decision,” Colgan said. “I think that is a far more just reflection of what happened than the 110 years that he received.”
Prior to the commutation, First Judicial District Attorney Alexis King asked the court to consider a sentence in the range of 20-30 years “based on the facts of this case and input from the victims and their families.”
In a statement Thursday, King said, “We are disappointed in the Governor’s decision to act prematurely.”
“We are meeting with the victims and their loved ones this evening to support them in navigating this unprecedented action and to ensure they are treated with fairness, dignity, and respect during this difficult time,” she added.
“This individual had absolutely no involvement in the commutation process and works in an unrelated capacity to this matter, and was not aware of the Governor’s decision in advance,” the release said.
CNN’s Ashley Killough, Melissa Alonso, Michelle Watson, Ralph Ellis, Lucy Kafanov and Leslie Perrot contributed to this report.
Colorado governor reduces sentence of truck driver who was given 110 years in fatal crash