Brother Colorado truck crash victim calls Gov. Polis ‘despicable’

Brother of man killed in fiery Colorado truck crash calls Governor Jared Polis a ‘despicable human being’ after he reduced driver’s sentence from 110 years to 10

  • Duane Bailey’s brother Bill Bailey, 67, was killed in fiery crash in April 2019
  • Semi-truck driver Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, 26, was jailed for 110 years on Dec.

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  • But Governor Jared Polis slashed sentenced to 10 years after public backlash
  • Duane Bailey called the Democrat a ‘despicable human being’  

By Ross Ibbetson For Mailonline

Published: 11:22, 3 January 2022 | Updated: 13:16, 3 January 2022

The brother of one of the victims of the Colorado truck driver who killed four in a fiery crash has slammed the state’s Governor for commuting his sentence.

Duane Bailey’s brother Bill Bailey, 67, was killed in April 2019 when an out-of-control semi-truck loaded with lumber barreled into cars on the interstate, causing a mass pile-up and fireball explosion. 

Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, 26, was sentenced last month to 110 years behind bars after being found guilty on 27 counts, including reckless and careless driving.

But after widespread public backlash, including from Kim Kardashian, Governor Jared Polis made the rare decision to slash the sentence to just ten years.

Duane Bailey called the Democrat a ‘despicable human being’ and accused the governor of using the wildfires in the state to distract from his decision.

‘You also have to realize [Aguilera-Mederos] will not spend the entire 10 years the governor put his sentence at. He could get out in as little as 5 years,’ Bailey told CBS Denver. ‘Would your brother’s life be adequately compensated if he spent one and a quarter years per death in prison?’

Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, 26, caused a two-dozen car pile-up in April 2019 after his semi-truck breaks failed, which resulted in a fireball explosion that killed four people 

Brother Colorado truck crash victim calls Gov. Polis 'despicable'

The impact caused a fireball explosion that incinerated cars and trucks, killing four people and injuring several others. Aguilera-Mederos testified that the brakes on his semitrailer failed as he was descending a steep grade of Interstate 70 in the Rocky Mountain foothills

Brother Colorado truck crash victim calls Gov. Polis 'despicable'

Colorado Gov Jared Polis (pictured) said the ‘atypical’ sentence was ‘unjust

He said that Aguilera-Mederos lied about his experience in his job application and ‘exaggerated job titles.’

‘He drove his car so hard, by time he got to Berthoud Pass, 30 miles from the crash site, his brakes were already smoking… Yet, he still drives above the speed limit.

There’s people on I-70 who talk about how they passed him at a high-rate of speed,’ Bailey told ABC.

‘He’s testified he’s panicked. Who wouldn’t be? But, he put himself in that position.

It wasn’t an accident.’ 

Bailey said that the victims’ families had agreed that the 110-year sentence was severe – but that reducing it to ten was too lenient.

‘It’s turned the point where people think he’s the victim now, and it’s not. He’s not the victim. This crash killed four people and four good people,’ Bailey said.

‘He [Governor Polis] felt that the 110-year sentence was too severe.

And we told him that we agreed with that. We also told him, he should stay out of it,’ he added.  

Aguilera-Mederos, of Texas, was working for a Houston-based trucking company at the time of the fatal crash, when he was driving an 18-wheeler loaded with lumber.

Prosecutors said he barreled eastbound down the interstate from the mountains at speeds of 85 mph.

Brother Colorado truck crash victim calls Gov. Polis 'despicable'

Victim William Bailey is pictured with his wife Gage Evans 

Brother Colorado truck crash victim calls Gov. Polis 'despicable' Brother Colorado truck crash victim calls Gov. Polis 'despicable'

Among the victims of the deadly crash were Stanley Politano, 69, of Arvada, Colorado, left, and Miguel Angel Lamas Arrelano, 24, of Denver, right,

Brother Colorado truck crash victim calls Gov. Polis 'despicable' Brother Colorado truck crash victim calls Gov. Polis 'despicable'

Doyle Harrison was also killed in the inferno 

They say he also swerved at times, forcing others off the road before he crashed into two dozen vehicles causing a giant fireball.

It left behind a scene of ‘significant, just unbelievable carnage,’ Lakewood Police Spokesman Ty Countryman said in a news conference following the deadly crash, noting that some bodies were still in the wreckage hours later, with video showing cars stopped in every direction as the huge fire spread, sending smoke billowing. 

‘This is looking to be one of the worst accidents we’ve had here in Lakewood,’ Countryman said. 

Four victims were killed in the crash, including: Doyle Harrison, 61, of Hudson, Colorado; William Bailey, 67, of Arvadal; Miguel Angel Lamas Arrellano, 24, of Denver; and Staney Politano, 69, of Arvada. 

Six others were taken to the hospital for their injuries. 

Aguilera-Mederos had claimed the brakes in his truck had failed and he lost control, but prosecutors argued in court that he could have taken steps to prevent the crash, including using a runaway truck ramp miles before the crash near the Denver West Colorado Mills Parkway, and said he made a ‘bunch of bad decisions’ instead.

His defense attorney claimed he did not know that his truck brakes were smoking or that he would not be able to stop. He also argued that Aguilera-Mederos’ actions were a series of negligent decisions, and that he did not intend to hurt anybody. 

Brother Colorado truck crash victim calls Gov. Polis 'despicable'

The explosion was so big, it created a large plume of smoke to form over the highway

Brother Colorado truck crash victim calls Gov. Polis 'despicable'

After the explosion, Aguilera-Mederos was convicted of 27 charges 

But in October, a jury found him guilty  of 27 criminal charges, including:

  • Four counts of vehicular homicide
  • Two counts of vehicular assault
  • Six counts of assault in the first-degree with extreme indifference
  • 10 counts of criminal attempt to commit assault in the first degree
  • One count of reckless driving
  • Four counts of careless driving causing death

He was also found not guilty of 15 counts of criminal attempts to commit assaults in the first degree.

Before his sentencing last month, Aguilera-Mederos pleaded with the judge to be lenient on him, breaking down in tears as he spoke.

‘It’s hard.

This was a terrible accident, I know,’ he said. ‘I take the responsibility, but it was an accident.

‘I have never thought about hurting anyone in my entire life and Jesus Christ, he knows that, he knows my heart,’ he continued. ‘I am not a criminal, I am not a murderer.

‘The accident – it wasn’t intentional, it wasn’t intentional Your Honor. I did all that I can as a man. I put myself in harms way to avoid harming anyone else.’

He claimed that he tried to avoid the traffic, and noted that he did not flee in the aftermath ‘because I respect the laws.

‘I want to say sorry, sorry for the loss, sorry for the people injured,’ he concluded, noting: ‘I ask …

God many times why them and not me.’   

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