Rogel Aguilera-Maders cried when he testified in his defense on Thursday, explaining to a Jefferson County jury how he lost control of a semitrailer driving on Intrastate 70 in April 2019 and was stopped by traffic. The collision killed four people.
Aguilera-Mederos, 25, paused frequently to regain his composure as he explained how he intended to drive his high-speed truck over the Intrastate’s shoulder until the ground was level and he Slow down – the brakes weren’t working.
But the plan became impossible, he told the jury, when another 18-wheeler stood under an overpass near the Colorado Mills Parkway in Likud.
Testifying in Spanish through an interpreter, Aguilera-Madeiras said he tried to slow down the side of the trailer of the parked truck and then try to get to the side where he stopped the parked truck and interstate traffic. Declared space between
“But once I hit him, I couldn’t control anything,” he said, breaking his voice. “I thought, ‘Dear God, don’t let anything go wrong.’ In the moment of my influence, I closed my eyes and I hugged the wheel.
Aguilera-Mederos has been charged with more than 40 counts in connection with the crash, including carjackings and assaults. The fires killed 28 people, including 24-year-old Miguel Angel Lams Ariello, 67-year-old William Bailey, 61-year-old Doyle Harrison and 69-year-old Stanley Politano. Six others were injured.
When his defense attorney asked about the four people who had died, Aguilera-Madros put his head in his arms and cried.
“I feel very bad, I wish it were me,” he testified.
Driving a truck through the mountains was his first fatal journey, he testified, although he had previously ridden with his brother, a truck driver, from a similar area.
Upon investigation, Deputy District Attorney Cala Wildman focused on the discrepancies between Aguilera Madros’ testimony and what she told police in an initial interview, including that she had told investigators that she had first visited the Colorado Mountains. Walked on
Aguilera-Mederos said he misunderstood police officers’ questions.
“When I say mountain, I’m talking about a small hill, and I’m talking about dangerous hills that are going downhill,” he testified. “That’s why I told the agent – if he asked me about the mountains, I would take it as a small hill. That’s why I said yes. If he says grade, I don’t say.
Wildman also asked Aguilera-Maders why he didn’t take a runaway truck ramp that he passed after he lost his brakes, and asked him to check his brakes after getting off Berthaud Pass. Why did you drive He focused on his actions before the fatal accident, including witness testimony that he had been driving recklessly for hours.
Aguilera-Mederos said he saw the first two signs for the truck ramp – 1 1/2 miles and 3/4 miles before the ramp – but said he did not see the last two signs for the ramp. He testified that he did not lose his brake until he passed the first two marks for the ramp. He added that he has always seen running truck ramps going upwards, not like the ramps he passes on the I-70 towards Denver.
He testified that he believed Berthoud’s brakes were working after he stopped at the pass and called his owner and another truck driver for advice.
“If the brakes were working well, why did you call two different people to help you?” Wildeman asked.
“Because they were two people who had a lot more experience than me,” said Aguilera-Madros. “It’s not wrong.”
Some of Aguilera-Mederos’ testimony contradicts the testimony of other witnesses. During his hours of testimony, Wildman kept a list of contradictions on a large piece of paper.
“There were a lot of people who took a stand and told you they’ve seen you smoke your brakes, right?” He asked her
“I’m trying to tell you that I’ve never seen this happen before, nor have I ever seen a person smoking a brake,” he said. “I was paying attention to a lot of things. I never saw them smoking.
The trial, which is in its third week, will continue on Friday with concluding arguments before the jury.