Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is reducing the sentence of truck driver Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, whose semi-truck caused a crash on Interstate 70 that killed four people in 2019, from 110 years to 10, the Colorado Sun reports. Aguilera-Mederos’s sentence reduction comes after Jefferson County District Attorney Alexis King asked for a resentencing hearing last week. The hearing was set after protests over the severity of the original sentence. The long sentence was the result of charges brought by the district attorney’s office that carried mandatory minimum terms to be served consecutively.
About 5 million people signed a change.org petition asking for a lesser sentence for Aguilera-Mederos. As part of his letter granting clemency to Aguilera-Mederos, 26, Polis called on the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice to work on recommendations to “ensure greater consistency in sentencing to prevent future bizarre outcomes like the one in this case.” Aguilera-Mederos was convicted in October of vehicular homicide and other charges. The accident occurred when the brakes failed on the semi he was driving, sending it crashing into other vehicles slowed for a different accident. Prosecutors said he should have used a runaway truck ramp. The 10-year sentence is less than the 20 to 30 years King had said she’d seek. King called the governor's decision premature and said she and the victims had wanted the judge to resentence the defendant. Polis also granted 1,315 pardons for people convicted of possessing 2 ounces or less of marijuana. “Adults can legally possess marijuana in Colorado, just as they can beer or wine,” Polis said in a statement. “It’s unfair that 1,351 additional Coloradans had permanent blemishes on their record that interfered with employment, credit and gun ownership, but today we have fixed that by pardoning their possession of small amounts of marijuana.”