Four lives were ended last week when an out of control semi-truck barreled into traffic on Interstate 70.
However, another life was also forever impacted.
Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, 23, now sits in a jail cell, facing four counts of vehicular homicide.
Aliet Diaz is one of Rogel’s best friends and her husband just returned home to Texas after visiting him in jail.
“People say ‘Why didn’t he do this? Or that?’ But in that moment, you don’t think,” said Diaz, when discussing the crash and why Aguilera-Mederos didn’t use a runaway truck ramp.
Diaz says Rogel was thrilled when he was hired by Castellanos 03 Trucking just two weeks ago. She says the new job allowed him to drive the truck outside of Texas.
“He was so happy because when you go out of state it’s more money. He’s so happy,” she said.
However, Diaz says Rogel was only a trucker out of necessity. She says it was a means to pay the bills and support his 4 year-old son back in Cuba.
“He doesn’t like it. He always says ‘this isn’t for me’. He only does it because he needs the money,” she said.
Heidy Perez is from the same small town in Cuba that Aguilera-Mederos grew up in.
She, Diaz and several dozen other friends have donated more than $120,000 to try and bond Aguilera-Mederos out of jail and help his family pay for expenses.
“I know him. I know he’s a good guy. I know he’s innocent. I believe in God so I believe God knows the truth,” she said.
Rogel’s wife, Nailan gonzalez, declined our request for an interview, but she has been very vocal on social media, writing ,”It was a mechanical failure. He lost the brakes and then lost control of the truck. It was an accident and not his fault.”
Friends say the truck Aguilera-Mederos was new to truck driving. They also say he did not have any difficulty reading English.
Authorities say Aguilera-Mederos was living in the United States legally after moving here from Cuba about four years ago.