DENVER (KDVR) – Victims of the deadly 70-seat interstate truck crash are speaking out after Governor Jared Polis responded to criticism from prosecutors over the length of time to commute truckers’ sentences in accident.
District attorneys called Polis’ reduction of Rogel Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence “unprecedented.” The governor reduced the sentence from 110 years to 10 years, but it comes just two weeks before the scheduled sentencing trial in Jefferson County.
Accelerating down the hill with sudden braking, the inexperienced truck driver caused a massive and deadly crash. Duane Bailey lost her brother. He said Polis should have allowed the trial to take place.
“If he waits – and still changes it afterwards – I’m not saying I’ll go crazy over it, but will support him more,” Bailey said.
Victim Valerie Robertson-Young said a group of those affected agreed that 20-25 years would be an acceptable sentence.
Since commutation, FOX31 received a letter sent to Polis from Dan Rubinstein, Republican DA in Mesa County, and Michael Dougherty, Democrat DA in Boulder County. In the letter, both men expressed concern about the timing and manner of the transfer.
“One of our concerns is that this will become normal business for [Polis],” said Rubinstein.
Their concerns are centered on the court’s review of the 110-year prison sentence. But Polis defeated a Jefferson County judge.
“I believe the court will reduce that sentence,” Dougherty said.
If Polis doesn’t like what the judge decides, he can still intervene after the incident. FOX31 caught up with Polis on Wednesday. Polis defended his decision.
“I’m just a problem solver,” Polis said. “We fixed it.”
Prosecutors, who met with the governor last week, said they were reassured that the pre-trial intervention was a one-off.
“We do not apologize for interfering with unjust judgments,” Polis said.
Bailey didn’t think much of his governor.
“I don’t have any respect for him,” Bailey said.
Bailey said he wanted to be present for the exoneration to hear what the judge had to say. It was an experience that was robbed of him.
Aguilera-Mederos may not have spent 10 years behind bars. According to the Colorado Department of Corrections website, his estimated parole eligibility date is December 30, 2026.
https://kdvr.com/news/local/i70-crash-victims-polis-criticism/ Colorado crash victims join criticism of truck driver’s travel