Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos is a Texas semi driver who faces four counts of vehicular homicide after police said he caused a deadly 28-vehicle crash on I-70 in Colorado, CBS Denver reports.
Aguilera-Mederos, 23, was arrested after his truck caused 24 cars and four semis to collide in a fiery crash.
Four people died in the massive pileup. Six others were transported to the hospital. Their conditions are unclear.
Police said Aguilera-Mederos’ out-of-control semi, which was carrying lumber, caused the crash around 4:50 pm Thursday.
After he was interviewed, Aguilera-Mederos was taken into custody.
Aguilera-Mederos is cooperating with the investigation, Lakewood Police spokesman Ty Countryman told CBS Denver.
He is in the United States legally on a green card, police said.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos Caused Deadly 28-Vehicle Crash, Police Say
Police identified the driver of the semi that caused the massive 28-vehicle crash as Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos of Texas. He is 23 years old, according to police.
Lakewood Police Department spokesman Ty Countryman told CBS Denver that 24 cars and 4 semis were involved in the deadly and fiery crash.
The crash was caused by Aguilera-Mederos’ out-of-control semi, which was carrying lumber.
“That number (of involved vehicles) is significantly higher than what we had last night,” Countryman said. “A lot of that is because once the debris of the semis and cars under semis — once we could get in and really start doing a car count, that’s why that number really went up.”
Four people died in the crash. Six others were taken to the hospital. It is unclear what condition the injured people are in.
“The carnage was significant,” Countryman said. “Just unbelievable.”
The highway remains closed and Colorado Department of Transportation chief engineer Josh Laipply told CBS Denver that officials will have to assess whether the pavement and the nearby bridge are structurally sound. Laipply said the fire from the crash may have reached 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Aguilera-Mederos Faces 4 Counts of Homicide
Aguilera-Mederos was interviewed overnight and taken into police custody, KDVR reports.
The 23-year-old has not been formally charged but is being held for investigation of vehicular homicide.
He could face more charges, police said.
He is scheduled to appear in court Saturday.
3. Police Say They Don’t Believe Aguilera-Mederos Intentionally Caused the Crash
Officials said there was no indication that the crash was intentional, KDVR reported.
The suspect’s brother, Daniel Aguilera, said that his brother told him that the brakes on his semi were not working at the time of the crash.
Countryman said investigators are looking into whether the semi’s brakes were not working.
Countryman said that even if there was a mechanical issue with the truck, Aguilera-Mederos may still be charged with manslaughter, Erie News Now reported.
“We don’t have any indication that was an intentional act by the driver at all,” he told reporters.
Police said he had no criminal history, KDVR’s Rob Low reported.
4. Aguilera-Mederos is in The United States on a Green Card
Aguilera told Erie News Now that Rogel is from Cuba and is a permanent resident of the United States.
Police confirmed that Aguilera-Mederos had a valid green card.
Countryman told CBS Denver that Aguilera-Mederos is cooperating with investigators.
5. Police Say Aguilera-Mederos Was Not Drunk or Intoxicated & Was Injured In the Crash
Police say Aguilera-Mederos suffered minor injuries in the crash and was taken to a hospital.
He was arrested and transported to Jefferson County Jail after he was discharged.
Countryman told CBS Denver that there was no evidence Aguilera-Mederos had alcohol or drugs in his system.
His brother Daniel said that Aguilera-Mederos is a “good kid” who does not drink or smoke, KPRC reported.