WATCH: Truck driver interrogated by detectives after deadly crash on I-70
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - 11 News has obtained newly released video from a Colorado case that is getting national attention. Two-and-a-half hours of footage shows a now convicted semi-truck driver getting questioned by law enforcement after a deadly crash on I-70 in 2019.
Prosecutors have released the evidence from the trial that led a jury to convict Rogel Aguilera-Mederos on four counts of vehicular homicide and 23 other charges. Gov. Jared Polis commuted his sentence in December, ahead of a resentencing hearing. It reduced his punishment from 110 years to a maximum of 10 in prison.
Video of a police interview hours after the crash show a visibly injured Aguilera-Mederos along with two detectives and an unidentified interpreter. He recounts every detail he experienced behind the wheel of the semi-truck responsible for the crash, including his driving experience in the mountains.
A key piece of evidence in the case was the fact that Aguilera-Mederos missed a runaway truck ramp on I-70 after losing his brakes.
In the video, he tells investigators that he saw the sign for the ramp, but not the actual route off the highway.
“He realizes he’s coming over the hill. He starts to apply brakes and they’re not working,” said the interpreter. “For 2 to 3 miles, he was applying brakes and they weren’t working. ... He saw the sign and he never actually saw the ramp. He never saw, you know, the roadway for the ramp.”
Witnesses driving on I-70 that day recorded video of the truck missing the ramp. Multiple security cameras also captured the truck speeding by along the route. The driver eventually pulled onto the shoulder, where he is seen on dash cam passing a state trooper. Less than 10 seconds later, a large plume of black smoke is seen rising from the area near Colorado Mills, where the truck crashed into stopped traffic.
Aguilera-Mederos told police he had driven in Colorado before.
“He’s been here three times with this company,” said the interpreter. “The company where he worked before, he also had the routes out here...He says its been about four or five times he’s been out here.”
Detectives also questioned him about the mechanical failure. He told them the truck he was in is the truck he normally drives. He also said he was not experiencing any mechanical problems before the brakes went out. The driver said he took the route to I-70 to get cheaper gas.
“Was he looking for gas westbound or did he get lost and turn around to come east?” asked a detective. “He was driving up I-70 looking for 40 and he passed it. That’s why he ended up going west,” said the interpreter. “He remembers being on 40 and seeing I-70 to his right, but the urgency was to get gas ... and he knows it’s cheap on 70, so that was why.”
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