Driver in devastating Denver crash pleads not guilty

The 24-year-old Texas trucker accused of causing a 28-vehicle pileup on Interstate 70 near Denver last April pleaded not guilty to numerous charges Thursday, Nov. 21.

Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, who lives in Houston, appeared in a Golden, Colorado courtroom to answer 41 charges from the accident that left four people dead and numerous other motorists injured. He is charged with vehicular homicide, assault and attempted assault in connection with the April 25 crash in Lakewood.

KDVR-TV reports investigators say Aguilera-Mederos’ tractor-trailer loaded with lumber was going 85 mph as it descended a steep grade, and that he passed a runaway truck ramp before the crash. He said his brakes failed causing him to slam into traffic stopped by an earlier accident.

Killed in the crash were Doyle Harrison, 61, of Hudson, Colorado; William Bailey, 67, of Arvada, Colorado; Miguel Angel Lamas Arellano, 24, of Denver; and Stanley Politano, 69, of Arvada. Ten other people were injured.

Aguilera-Mederos goes to trial May 1. He is free on $400,000 bond.

Since that accident, the Colorado Department of Transportation, in partnership with the Colorado State Patrol, Colorado Motor Carriers Association, and in-cab driver alert providers, PrePass Safety Alliance, and Drivewyze Friday announced a program designed to improve safety for truckers driving through the mountains.

The Mountain Rules is meant to educate carriers and drivers about the challenges of driving in Colorado’s mountains. It includes some highway improvements, information about potential hazards, and an in-cab electronic alert system.