Multiple Fatalities In Fiery 28-Vehicle Crash Caused By Runaway Semi
Updated: Friday @ 11:40 a.m. – Police have now confirmed 4 people died in the horrific crash. Their identities have not yet been released.
The truck driver police say is responsible for the crash has now been identified as 23-year-old Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos of Texas. He has been charged with 4 counts of vehicular homicide.
The original story has been updated to reflect new information given during a briefing held Friday morning.
Denver, Colorado – An out-of-control flatbed tractor-trailer plowed into stopped traffic along I-70 Thursday night during the rush hour resulting in what investigators described as “true carnage.”
The Lakewood Police Department confirmed the fiery accident along eastbound I-70 at approximately 4:50 p.m., near Colorado Mills Parkway, involved twenty-four passenger vehicles and four semis.
Police have now confirmed four people perished in the horrific crash and at least 6 more are injured.
Our crash investigation on I-70 continues. We can now confirm multiple fatalities. 6 others taken to local hospitals. Highway remains closed and will be at least overnight.
— Lakewood Police (@LakewoodPDCO) April 26, 2019
Investigators said a big rig hauling “treated wood” lost control and barreled into traffic that had slowed due to another accident involving a jackknifed semi and a school bus.
Authorities are still piecing together exactly what happened in-part from witness testimony and video from the scene.
However, according to Ty Countryman, spokesman for the Lakewood Police Department, the truck driver, identified as 23-year-old Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos of Texas, has now been charged with four counts of vehicular homicide.
“We feel at this time we have enough probable cause to charge vehicular homicide,” Countryman said at a press briefing Friday morning.
“The evidence is still being built, but we have enough evidence to support those charges.”
Numerous initial reports indicated witnesses said the semi appeared as if it had encountered brake failure.
When asked about those reports, Countryman responded, “That’s certainly a question we are looking at. I believe the vehicular homicide charges will still stand even after the mechanical inspection is done.”
He also said investigators do not believe drugs or alcohol played a role, but stopped short of giving any further information about why the driver might have lost control.
Aguilera-Mederos only suffered minor injuries, according to authorities.
Numerous firefighting crews battled the inferno for hours and well into the night.
Images reveal the mass and intensity of the blaze as vehicles were burned and charred beyond recognition.
Assisting Lakewood PD with major crash on I-70 at Denver West. Avoid the area. Media to United Artist Theaters at Denver West. S1 pic.twitter.com/geOv0sEGii
— CSP Golden (@CSP_Golden) April 25, 2019
According to police, of those injured, two males are in fair condition, three females are in fair condition and one male in good condition.
A firefighter was also injured when a tire exploded and debris struck him in the back of the head. He was also transported to a nearby hospital for treatment.
I-70 eastbound and westbound was shut down and Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) officials said commuters should expect significant delays on Friday as crews continue working to extinguish remaining hot spots and remove debris.
CDOT is asking people to avoid the area entirely until further notice.
Read more of Transportation Nation Network’s coverage of this story HERE.
Video courtesy of ABC7/YouTube