Crime

Fatal I-70 Crash Trucker to Stand Trial on 31 Counts

Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos during a late-April court appearance.
Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos during a late-April court appearance. CBS4 via YouTube
On July 11, Jefferson County Judge Bradley Burback ruled that there is enough evidence to put 23-year-old Texas trucker Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos on trial for allegedly causing a massive crash on Interstate 70 near the Colorado Mills Parkway exit that killed four people on April 25.

Aguilera-Mederos will face 31 charges, including a new accusation, first-degree assault. This total is actually lower than the forty criminal counts announced by First Judicial District DA Pete Weir in early May. However, the most serious accusations remain, including four vehicular-homicide beefs.

Attorney Rob Corry represented Aguilera-Mederos at the hearing, as he has done since shortly after the accident, despite his own troubles with the law. Corry was taken into custody on June 14 on suspicion of kidnapping and more in connection with a crazy drive at Denver International Airport motivated by a supposed pursuit by Arabs with a helicopter. Then on July 2, he was busted again in regard to another bizarre incident: He allegedly threatened people near him with a Samurai sword.

The crash site on the morning after. - CBS THIS MORNING VIA YOUTUBE
The crash site on the morning after.
CBS This Morning via YouTube
In court, Corry insisted that Aguilera-Mederos's brakes had failed as he approached an I-70 backup, and another semi parked alongside the road had hindered his ability to avoid the impact that killed casino exec Stan Politano, 69, as well as 24-year-old Denver resident Miguel Angel Lamas Arellano; Doyle Harrison, a 61-year-old from Hudson; and 67-year-old Arvadan William Bailey.


This argument wasn't enough to sway Judge Burback, who moved the case forward. But he did grant permission for Aguilera-Mederos to return to his home town of Houston in advance of the next court date, set for September 3.

Since the crash, Aguilera-Mederos has steadfastly maintained his innocence. After a jailhouse visit, his wife, Nailan Gonzalez, quoted him in a social-media post as saying, "This is not just what they are doing to me." And in a May video, he expressed condolences to the victims while at the same time admitting the toll what happened has taken on him.

"You can’t imagine what it’s like when one is at rock bottom," Aguilera-Mederos said in translated Spanish, "and you see the love of everyone and how they come together to help."
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts