DENVER (KDVR) – On Thursday, jurors learned about the maintenance history of the semi-truck that crashed into standstill traffic on I-70 in Jefferson County. The driver of that truck, Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, is on trial for the deadly crash that killed four people in April 2019.
The prosecution is trying to show that the driver was reckless and drove too fast. Meanwhile, the defense spent a good portion of Thursday questioning the truck’s visit to a Texas maintenance shop. Aguilera-Mederos, of Texas, was coming down from the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and was racing toward metro area traffic. A fellow truck driver and witness recalled the tragedy.
“Immediately as I jumped out, I turned around to get my phone and my wallet,” he said. “And it was too late … my cabin was engulfed in flames within seconds,” the driver said.
Prosecutors said Aguilera-Mederos passed four runaway truck ramps prior to the crash. His defense team said the brakes failed, and his lawyer spent the morning questioning the boss of a Texas shop that worked on the truck.
“So if [the service invoice] doesn’t say [the brakes are] refurbished, then they are not,” the shop manager said through Spanish translation. “Ok, so [the brake shoes are] not new, it’s not refurbished, that means it’s used,” the defense attorney said. “I don’t use used parts in my shop,” the shop manager responded.
A service technician, Edwin Andrade, who worked on the truck testified that the truck was in satisfactory condition as it left the shop. Andrade also spoke about the possibility of overheated brakes.
“[If] the brakes were hot and expanded, nothing would’ve stopped that [truck],” Andrade said.
A witness questioned on Thursday said Aguilera-Mederos asked her for her cell phone because he was going to be arrested and needed to get away. She said he had asked to call a friend. She testified that he explained the crash wasn’t his fault.
The jury must decide if the driver is guilty of vehicular homicide along with vehicular assault and reckless driving.
The trial is ongoing. This is a developing story.