Rogel Aguilera-Mederos wept as he testified in his own defense Thursday, recounting to a Jefferson County jury how he lost control of the semitrailer he was driving on Interstate 70 in April 2019 and crashed into stopped traffic, killing four people.
Aguilera-Mederos, 25, stopped frequently to regain his composure as he described how he’d intended to drive his speeding truck on the shoulder of the interstate until the steep terrain leveled out and he could slow down — his brakes were not working.
But that plan became impossible, he told the jury, when another 18-wheeler was parked in the shoulder under an overpass near Colorado Mills Parkway in Lakewood.
Testifying in Spanish through an interpreter, Aguilera-Mederos said he tried to hit the edge of the parked truck’s trailer to slow down and then attempted to steer toward what he described as a space between the parked truck and traffic stopped on the interstate.
“But once I hit it, I was unable to control anything,” he said, his voice breaking. “I thought, ‘Dear God, don’t let anything bad happen.’ At the moment of my impact, I closed my eyes and I hugged the wheel.”