Shock in the US over the sentence to 110 years in prison of a Cuban truck driver for an accident.
More than three million people have signed a petition on the Change.org page calling for a sentence reduction.
Rogel Aguilera-Mederos is a 26-year-old Cuban immigrant, father of a 5-year-old boy, who in the United States earned his living driving a truck. But his life completely changed on April 25, 2019, when he was driving down a slope on the I-70 freeway in the state of Colorado.
According to Aguilera-Mederos' account, which agrees with what the prosecution said, his trailer truck, coming at least 135 kilometers per hour, broke down, making it impossible to stop. Although he threw himself to the shoulder, the truck hit a vehicle in front, generating a chain collision of 27 cars and fire. As a result, four people died.
The prosecution at the time offered a pre-trial settlement to Aguilera-Mederos, which he rejected because he considered him innocent and that all he was entitled to be a traffic ticket. Therefore, the Cuban driver went to trial.
In October of this year, a jury found him guilty of all 42 counts, ranging from manslaughter with a vehicle to assault in the first degree to reckless driving.
Colorado state law has very severe penalties for these types of crimes. Although everyone agrees that it was an accident and that Aguilera-Mederos had no intention of killing those four people, the sum of the charges adds up to a total of 110 years in prison for this driver, as the judge announced during the sentence of December 13.
At the hearing, Aguilera-Mederos made a very emotional download in which he claimed to be living a nightmare.
"I am dead alive. I am dead alive. It is tough to live with this trauma. I can't sleep," said the condemned man from the stand in tears.
The video of his statement has been around the country. His case has earned the empathy of millions of people. A petition to reduce his sentence uploaded to the Change.org website has collected more than three million signatures in three days, a record for this page.
The United States Truckers Union, which has members from around the world living in the country, has launched a boycott against Colorado to change its highway laws. With the hashtag #DontDriveColorado (Don't drive to Colorado), they are putting pressure to ease penalties for road accidents in a state where, they say, driving is challenging due to road conditions and weather.
The latest to get involved in the case has been the governor of Colorado, Jared Polis, who said he would review the Change.org petition and prepare a proposal on the matter. Aguilera-Mederos' attorneys will file an appeal to have his sentence reduced. Still, this request will take about two months to reach court.