On Thursday, 23-year-old truck driver Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos was heading along Interstate 70 not far from Denver, Colorado. He was quickly approaching rows of backed up traffic but did not slow down in time. He collided with about 28 cars and trucks before coming to a stop. The extensive accident caused a massive fire and took the lives of at least four people. Several more individuals sustained injuries.
Why didn’t Aguilera-Mederos stop? He’s claiming the brakes failed, but this has yet to be proven. He’s been arrested and held on four counts of vehicular homicide in relation to the crash, according to CNN News. His bond is set at a hefty $400,000.
Aguilera-Mederos told police that he was driving at about 85 mph when he saw the piled up traffic and attempted to stop. However, the brakes failed preventing him from doing so safely. He also tried to pull into the shoulder, but was unable to do so because another semi had already been pulled over there. In the moments before the crash, Aguilera-Mederos claimed he believed he would die upon impact. He shut his eyes in terror.
RT @CBSEveningNews: It took police in Colorado more than half a day to determine how many people died in a chain reaction crash on Thursday; at least 28 cars and trucks were involved https://t.co/we051yn4A3 https://t.co/dB1Go1fmTB
— Trixy Wh (@trixywh) April 27, 2019
Thus far, law enforcement does not believe that drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash. But was it really just a tragic accident that Aguilera-Mederos could not have prevented? His lawyer, Robert Corry, said that this is the only way the crash can be described. He spoke of his client’s sorrow over the lives affected by the crash and stated that he’s cooperating with police.
“It cannot be overstated, the degree to which he feels sorrow for this absolutely tragic accident. Everybody agrees it was an accident. Law enforcement agrees it was an accident. Everybody who has been investigating or has looked at it believes it was an accident, and it’s tragic.”
Out of the tragic story came stories of several good samaritans who did everything they could to help victims out of their burning cars and to safety. One of these kind individuals was Darin Barton, who was panhandling on the side of the road near where the accident took place. As soon as he saw the terrifying scene unfold, he dropped his sign and ran over to assist.
“It just caught on fire. And I just dropped my sign, took off running. As soon as I (saw) flames, I headed under the bridge, grabbed three or four people out of a couple cars,” Barton explained.