Local truck drivers encourage safety after driver’s 110-year prison sentence

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Last week 26-year-old truck driver Rogel Aguilera Mederos was sentenced to 110 years in prison for killing four people when he lost his brakes on a Colorado interstate causing a fiery crash in 2019.

Under Colorado’s law for crimes of violence, his prison sentence must be served consecutively and not concurrently and many are saying the sentence is too harsh.

“He should serve some time, you know whatever is adequate because of the fatalities, but 110 years I think that’s just a little too drastic,” said truck driver Laura De Leon.

A Los Fresnos truck driver, Isais Montelongo, shared the same sentiment as De Leon.

“110 is too much, it’s way too much, so it should be less,” said Montelongo.

The truck drivers both said safety and training are key for truck drivers and motorists.

“Just the basic of the training you know make sure before you do anything do your precheck of your truck, of your equipment, make sure everything is there you know, anything is not missing or broken, any leaks, make sure your breaks are okay,” said De Leon.

She explained that getting a sufficient amount of sleep and preparing to drive across the country requires planning.

“You are driving to unknown places and you just have to adapt with your surroundings and just be careful, because the roads are different in each state, and you have some inclines and whatnot,” said De Leon.

Isais Montelongo said safety is also important for motorists when around 18-wheelers.

“Like we all know if you don’t see me, if you don’t see my mirrors, I’m not looking at you,” said Montelongo.

Montelongo travels the east coast and said through his experience he suggests drivers be mindful of the signal lights on trucks and their distance to the 18-wheelers.

“If you cut is in front, we’re not going to stop right away, we have 80,000 pounds, it’s so hard to use the brakes,” he said.

Montelongo said he has received formal training and the company he drives for also provides continuing education courses to ensure his safety and the safety of motorists.

“Just to be careful and always be attentive and just do your best,” said Montelongo.

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