A truck driver accused of causing a fatal 28-vehicle pileup on a Colorado interstate outside Denver was charged with 40 counts involving the deaths of four victims, prosecutors announced Friday.
Jefferson County District Attorney Pete Weir said in a statement that 23-year-old Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos faces charges for vehicular homicide, first-degree assault and attempted first-degree assault. Thirty-six of the charges are felonies.
The April 25 wreck occurred on I-70 and Denver West Parkway when Aguilera-Mederos “lost control and crashed into traffic that was backed up from an earlier crash,” the DA’s office said.
His arrest affidavit states that flames engulfed the more than two dozen vehicles.
The driver told investigators that his brakes failed and he couldn’t pull over onto the shoulder of the interstate because another vehicle was blocking the area, according to CNN. However, the district attorney says the matter is being investigated, and he hasn’t called it an “accident.”
A Lakewood Police Department spokesperson cited by Reuters said there are no signs the crash was intentional or that drugs or alcohol played a role.
The deceased are Colorado residents Miguel Lamas Arrellano, 24, Doyle Harrison, 61, William Bailey, 67, and Stanley Politano, 69.
In a Friday press conference, Weir said Aguilera-Mederos was speeding “in excess of 85 mph,” and that he “was observed by a number of citizens driving recklessly, swerving through various lanes of the road,” CBS Denver reported. Publicly released footage of the truck also shows his erratic driving spanned miles, investigators have argued.
As of Friday, Aguilera-Mederos was still being held at Jefferson County jail on $400,000 bail.