ARVADA, Colo. (KDVR) — Darin Barton, a man known as a hero among FOX31 viewers for his actions on the day of the Interstate 70 crash, is speaking out on the 110-year sentence for convicted truck driver Rogel Aguilera-Mederos.
Video from April 25, 2019, captures the shock in Barton’s eyes as he spoke to FOX31 about pulling people out of burning cars with flames continuing to engulf the interstate behind him.
“I probably maybe was under the bridge for five seconds and the first explosion went off,” Barton said. “It made my heart beat faster, the urgency to reach a car to try to help somebody got greater.”
Barton said the sights and sounds from the tragedy replay in his mind daily.
“Every day, it’s like Groundhog Day when it just repeatedly keeps going and restarts at the stroke of midnight. It’s like a never-ending story,” Barton said.
The story now has a new chapter Barton is struggling to process. Following a three-week trial for Aguilera-Mederos, the truck driver was given a 110-year sentence because four people died in the crash and at least 10 others were hurt.
Aguilera-Mederos was convicted by a Jefferson County jury of four counts of vehicular homicide and 23 other charges, including:
- Six counts of Assault in the First Degree – Extreme Indifference
- 10 counts of Attempt to Commit Assault in the First Degree – Extreme Indifference
- Two counts of Vehicular Assault – Reckless
- One count of Reckless Driving
- Four counts of Careless Driving Causing Death
“Does he need to face punishment for it, most definitely. Four people lost their lives, of course he does. But 110 years, that’s just way too much,” Barton said.
Barton said he sent an email to Gov. Jared Polis, who is reviewing a commutation request for Aguilera-Mederos.
“I said look, I don’t expect you to let the man go free but reduce the sentence — 110 is too much, 25-30 years seems reasonable,” Barton said.
Tuesday night, FOX31 spoke to a crash witness who said Aguilera-Mederos asked to use her cell phone to call a friend and get away from the scene. From what she saw and heard, she said she thinks Aguilera-Mederos should serve the 110 years to which he was sentenced by the jury, or at least half.