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Trucker who received century-long prison sentence gets massive public support

Trucking news and briefs for Friday, Dec. 17, 2021:

Petition for clemency for driver sentenced to 110 years surpasses 3 million signatures

The truck driver who received a 110-year prison sentence earlier this week for his role in a fatal 2019 crash that killed four people in I-70 has received an outpouring of public support to have his sentence reduced.

A Change.org petition started by Heather Gilbee, of Thornton, Colorado, has received more than 3 million signatures as of Friday afternoon and asks Colorado Gov. Jared Polis for commutation as time served or clemency for Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos. In the crash, Aguilera-Mederos was traveling eastbound on I-70, lost his brakes and missed a runaway truck ramp before piling into stopped traffic.

The Denver Post Editorial Board has also called on Polis to grant clemency to Aguilera-Mederos and commute part of his sentence.

Aguilera-Mederos was found guilty in October on four counts of vehicular homicide, six counts of first-degree assault, 10 counts of attempted first-degree assault, four counts of careless driving causing death, two counts of vehicular assault and one count of reckless driving. The trucking company Aguilera-Mederos drove for at the time of the crash, Castellano 03 Trucking, inactivated its motor carrier authority shortly after the crash and was a target of several suits in the aftermath. 

[Related: Plenty of blame to go around in Colo. tragedy, when the damage is done]

According to a report from the Denver Post, Colorado’s sentencing laws took discretion out of the hands of District Court Judge Bruce Jones in the driver's sentencing. Under Colorado law, first-degree assault and attempted first-degree assault are “crimes of violence,” and prison sentences must run consecutively rather than concurrently when they arise from the same incident.

According to an update from Gilbee on the petition Friday morning, Polis has acknowledged Aguilera-Mederos’ case and said that every clemency application is reviewed individually.

[Related: Trucker gets 110 years in prison after 2019 fatal crash]

Texas woman sentenced for role in staged-accident fraud scheme

Another sentencing has been handed down in the widespread staged-accident fraud scheme in New Orleans targeting trucking companies.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana announced that Genetta Isreal, of Houston, Texas, was sentenced to three years of probation with the first six months to be served under home confinement. She was also ordered to pay $28,816.64 in restitution and a $100 mandatory special assessment fee.

According to court documents, Damian Labeaud, Mario Solomon, Larry Williams, and Isreal were charged with staging an accident on June 12, 2017, occurring on Chef Menteur Highway near the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans. Labeaud and Williams planned to stage an automobile accident to obtain money through fraud.

During their planning, Labeaud told Williams that he had an attorney, Daniel Patrick Keating, who has been identified in other documents filed in court, who would handle everything. Williams recruited Isreal and another individual to participate in the scheme.  

So far, 29 of 33 indicted individuals in the scheme have entered guilty pleas in federal court. 

Love’s opens 5 new locations

Love's Travel Stops is now serving customers in Heflin, Alabama; Kimball, South Dakota; Fillmore, Utah; Leavenworth, Indiana; and Klamath Falls, Oregon, thanks to five stores that opened this week.

The stores combined add more than 380 truck parking spaces to the company’s network. Some features of each new location include these highlights, and more:

  • Heflin, Alabama: 72 truck parking spaces, a Bojangles restaurant opening Jan. 10, eight diesel bays, seven showers, a Speedco opening later
  • Kimball, South Dakota: 68 truck parking spaces, Godfather’s Pizza and Subway restaurants opening Jan. 10, six diesel lanes, five showers
  • Fillmore, Utah: 73 truck parking spaces, a Taco John’s restaurant opening Jan. 10, eight diesel bays, seven showers, a Speedco opening later
  • Leavenworth, Indiana: 75 truck parking spaces, a Hardee’s restaurant opening Feb. 14, seven diesel lanes, five showers, a Speedco opening later
  • Klamath Falls, Oregon: 94 truck parking spaces, a Carl’s Jr. restaurant opening Jan. 17, seven diesel bays, five showers
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