Brake Failure To Blame Says Trucker Facing Vehicular Homicide Charges
Denver, Colorado – Family members of 23-year-old truck driver Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, who is in police custody following a deadly 28-vehicle accident along I-70 on Thursday night, say Mederos told them the brakes on his semi failed.
According to a new interview with KTRK-TV in Houston, Elvis Sedeño, Mederos’ brother-in-law, told reporters on Friday that Mederos called his wife and indicated the brakes on the big rig he was driving failed in the moments leading up to the fiery crash that claimed the lives of four people.
“Rogel said that he had an accident, that he lost the brakes of the tractor-trailer, and that he was in the emergency room,” Sedeño said.
Daniel Aguilera is Mederos’ brother and has also confirmed Mederos told him the same thing, according to numerous published reports.
Investigators said on Friday that Mederos’ failure to control the flatbed semi, which was hauling lumber, led to the gruesome scene described as “true carnage.”
Mederos is currently being held at the Jefferson County Jail on four counts of suspicion of Vehicular Homicide.
Lakewood Police report Mederos is Cuban born and living in the United States legally with a green card.
Additionally, authorities confirmed Mederos had a valid commercial driver’s license at the time of the crash.
Sedeño also revealed Mederos has been a professional truck driver for one year and is employed by a Houston, Texas-based company.
Mederos resides in Houston and was on his way back at the time of the crash.
Video emerged shortly after the accident which investigators believe to be Mederos’ big rig.
The flatbed semi is seen speeding, swerving and narrowly missing numerous passenger vehicles as it travels along a downgrade on I-70 eastbound just minutes before the horrific crash.
Numerous witnesses have also reportedly claimed to observe smoke coming off of Mederos’ brakes in the moments leading up to the accident.
At a press briefing on Friday, spokesman for the Lakewood Police Department, Ty Countryman, would not reveal if investigators believe brake failure played a role in Mederos losing control of the tractor-trailer.
However, when asked to comment, Countryman said, “That’s certainly a question we are looking at.”
Even still, Countryman said he expects the numerous charges of vehicular homicide to hold up. “I believe the vehicular homicide charges will still stand even after the mechanical inspection is done,” he said.
“The evidence is still being built, but we have enough evidence to support those charges.”
Mederos has also been criticized for passing up a runaway truck ramp along I-70.
Countryman commented, “I think there are some off ramps he could have taken. I think given some of the details of the crash, I’m not sure those would have been good choices either.”
According to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s inmate roster, Mederos is scheduled to appear in Jefferson County court Saturday at 3 p.m. ET.
At that time we may learn more about the investigation and what prosecutors allege happened.
Meanwhile, Colorado Department of Transportation officials have now re-opened eastbound and westbound lanes of I-70.
Read more of Transportation Nation Network’s reporting on this story HERE.
Watch local news outlet Denver7’s most recent report below.