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Arraignment for driver accused in fiery and deadly I-70 crash postponed until Oct. 10

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Posted at 5:30 PM, Sep 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-04 08:05:11-04

GOLDEN, Colo. -– An arraignment in the case of a semi-truck driver accused of causing a fiery crash on Interstate 70 that killed four people and injured many others back in April has been postponed until next month.

On Tuesday, the judge granted Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, 23, a continuance so the defense has more time to prepare the case. The arraignment is now scheduled for Oct. 10 at 11 a.m.

Following the hearing, Robert Corry, the attorney representing the Cuban national in the case, said both him and Aguilera-Mederos want to meet with families of the victims so Aguilera-Mederos can answer any questions they may for him, “to maybe help these people move toward closure.”

“We can’t bring their loved ones back, but we hope to at least, provide some answers,” Corry said outside the courtroom.

Aguilera-Mederos posted $40,000 bond in mid-May and is allowed to live out-of-state as well as travel while the case makes its way through the courts.

The driver was charged with four counts of vehicular homicide by reckless driving, six counts of first-degree assault and 24 counts of attempted first-degree assault in connection with the deadly crash.

On April 25, Aguilera-Mederos was driving a semi carrying lumber in the eastbound lanes of I-70 in Lakewood. The speed in this area for a commercial vehicle is 45 mph, but Aguilera-Mederos was estimated to be traveling faster than 85 mph.

An arrest affidavit states Aguilera-Mederos told police through a translator that he lost control of the vehicle after noticing his brakes were failing and, in order to avoid driving off the road for fear of rolling the semi, he maneuvered the truck to the right shoulder to avoid stopped traffic. However, when he saw that the shoulder was blocked by another semi, he swerved back into lanes of slow stop-and-go traffic from a previous crash at I-70 and Ward Road and closed his eyes before the fiery crash near Colorado Mills Parkway. Authorities said 28 vehicles were involved, including four semis.

Aguilera-Mederos was working for the Houston-based trucking company Castellano 03 Trucking LLC at the time of the crash. Over the past two years, the company has had 30 violations, including problems with brakes and a weak grasp of English, according to federal records. Twice in 2018, the drivers of one of the fleet’s trucks was found in violation of the rule that requires drivers to understand highway traffic signs and signals in English.