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Videos that went viral on TikTok appear to show long lines of tractor-trailer rigs “boycotting” the state of Colorado after a fellow driver was sentenced to 110 years in prison following a massive crash that killed four people and injured six on an interstate.
Rogel Aguilera-Medero, 26, was driving his rig along Interstate 70 near Lakewood, Colo., on April 25, 2019, when he collided with around two dozen vehicles including four other tractor-trailers that had slowed to a crawl in rush-hour traffic. The crash caused a massive fireball that consumed several cars and trucks.
But according to the videos, rig drivers are now bypassing the state because they believe that Aguilera-Medero’s sentence, handed down last week, is overly harsh.
“They just offered me $5 the mile to go to Colorado. You know what I told them?…No trucks to Colorado. Let’s show the entire country what us truckers can do when we stand together,” one purported driver with the username @semi__crazy posted.
Even though the videos have gone viral over the past few days, DailyMail.com reported that the Colorado Motor Carriers Association noted on Friday that officials there said they were not aware of any serious boycott.
“I’m not seeing really anything that’s showing up of that boycott in terms of companies missing shipments or other things like that,” Greg Fulton, president of the Colorado Motor Carriers Association told ABC News.
He went on to say that while he understands the sentiments for Aguilera-Medero, describing the crash as a mechanical failure, which was his defense, is not correct.
“I think in our eyes is inexperience, a lack of familiarity with the driver of the mountains…I don’t think the company should have put them in this situation,” Fulton said.
Nevertheless, the various videos show what appear to be dozens to hundreds of trucks lined up on highways as drivers reportedly seek to bypass Colorado.
“Us truck drivers are not going to Colorado. No more drivers to Colorado, we are sorry. We are standing with Roger,” said one person claiming to be a driver in Spanish, DailyMail.com reported.
Another video that showed additional lines of rigs blocking traffic came with the caption: “We need to stop the country to show Colorado we are drivers, not killers.”
Commenters generally supported the truckers, while some thought the boycotting extreme and something that would eventually affect food supplies in the state.
“As a driver of over 30 years, I have to agree with the sentence!! Our job as professional drivers first and foremost is to keep the public safe,” one commenter claiming to be a driver noted.
Aguilera-Medero, of Texas, was sentenced Dec. 13 to 110 consecutive years in prison on 27 counts, according to the Denver Channel. Judge A. Bruce Jones noted that his hands were tied by state mandatory sentencing laws, though he gave Aguilera-Medero the minimum on each of the counts.
“Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, 23, has nothing on his driving record, or on his criminal history,” says a Change.org petition for clemency addressed to Gov. Jared Polis and Jefferson County court officials. As of this writing, the petition had garnered more than 4.3 million signatures out of a stated goal of 4.5 million. “He had complied with every single request by the Jefferson County courts, and investigators on the case.”
Earlier this month, Polis — the only state official who can do so — commuted four sentences and issued 18 pardons. Clemency most often results either in a full pardon or a reduced prison sentence.
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