I-70 crash sentencing triggers big rig boycott rumors

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DENVER (KDVR) — Chatter on social media is encouraging truck drivers to boycott Colorado. The calls are in response to more than a century-long prison sentence imposed on the trucker who caused a deadly pileup on Interstate 70 in 2019.

While there are plenty of calls for a big rig boycott, industry leaders on Monday said they are not seeing an impact.

Outrage nationwide continues over minimum sentencing requirements, and what some have described as overcharging, in the prosecution of Rogel Aguilera-Mederos. The young inexperienced truck driver has been sentenced to 110 years behind bars. Those against the sentence say Aguilera-Mederos never intended to kill anyone.

“The sentence was probably too harsh in this case,” said Greg Fulton, president of the Colorado Motor Carriers Association.

Fulton, through his association, has been working on awareness campaigns aimed at fostering truck safety. He has followed the I-70 case closely. While he does not agree with the sentence, he said truckers boycotting Colorado is not the answer. Jason Emery, CEO of Excel Driver Services, a training provider, agrees.

Logistically, a boycott is difficult to achieve in Colorado. Much of the cross-country big rig traffic funnels through the Rocky Mountain state.

“A boycott of Colorado is ridiculous,” Emery said. “There’s no way they can do it. Let’s be honest.”

But boycott or not, the sentence for Aguilera-Mederos could change. A spokesperson for Gov. Jared Polis said Polis welcomes a clemency application from Aguilera-Mederos and will even expedite consideration of the request.

Meanwhile, the trucking industry in Colorado is looking for ways to prevent future tragedies. For Emery, that includes calls for more training. He would like to see a commercial driver’s license endorsement requiring some level of additional training so drivers are more aware of runaway truck ramps and how to drive safely in mountains.

FOX31 has reached out to loved ones of those who were killed in the crash. We have not heard back.

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