I-70 CRASH: Trucking Company Has History Of Brake And English Speaking Violations
Houston, Texas – The trucking company that employed the truck driver prosecutors say is responsible for the 28-vehicle crash along I-70 in Colorado last Thursday in which 4 people lost their lives, has a lengthy history of safety violations.
Castellano 03 Trucking, based in Houston, Texas, employs 5 drivers and operates 5 trucks according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) records.
The trucking company has been cited for 30 safety violations during 19 inspections in the last 24 months with 3 trucks being placed out of service (OOS) during that time.
According to FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS), Castellano 03 Trucking has received 23 vehicle maintenance violations with 10 of those involving brake issues.
Further, the company was cited on two occasions for violations pertaining to their drivers not being able to adequately speak and read English.
The exact violations stated,
1.) Driver cannot read or speak the English language sufficiently to respond to official inquiries.
2.) Driver must be able to understand highway traffic signs and signals in the English language
Federal law states that “a motor carrier shall not require or permit a person to drive a commercial motor vehicle” unless that person:
“Can read and speak the English language sufficiently to converse with the general public, to understand highway traffic signs and signals in the English language, to respond to official inquiries, and to make entries on reports and records.”
Cuban-born truck driver Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, was employed by Castellano 03 Trucking at the time of the accident.
Mederos is now facing four counts of vehicular homicide and two counts of vehicular assault after investigators say his “reckless actions” led to a massive, fiery pileup along I-70 last week.
Mederos, who required the services of a translator both during his interview with authorities and at his appearance in court last Saturday, indicated the brakes on his flatbed semi-truck failed in the minutes leading up to the crash.
Prosecutors say Mederos passed up an opportunity to take a truck runaway ramp that was “clearly marked.”
In the probable cause statement, police say that Mederos’ semi had a “free and unobstructed” path to a runaway ramp on the right side of I-70 only minutes away from the crash scene.
Video obtained by investigators reveal Mederos “instead swerves left from lane #3 to lane #1… then forces a pickup truck that is in lane #1 off the left side of the highway.”
Police then say Mederos continued under another yellow cautionary sign that read “TRUCKERS YOU ARE NOT DOWN YET. ANOTHER 1 ½ MILES OF STEEP GRADE AND SHARP CURVES TO GO.”
Mederos is being held on $400,000 bond and is due back in court on Friday, May 4, 2019, at 10 a.m. when formal charges are expected to be brought.
Prosecutor’s have said additional charges may be filed if warranted.
If convicted on the six charges so far, Mederos could spend more than 30 years in prison.
The Deceased Identified
The Jefferson County Coroner has confirmed the identities of four men killed in the terrible crash.
All four victims were Coloradans:
- Doyle Harrison, 61, of Hudson
- William Bailey, 67, of Arvada
- Miguel Angel Lamas Arrellano, 24, of Denver
- Stanley Politano, 69, of Arvada
The exact causes of their deaths have not officially been determined, chief deputy coroner Daniel Pruett said in a news release.
That information is expected in the coming weeks.
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