Colorado trucker in deadly pileup gets 110 years, gets emotional at sentencing

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It's not just trucks, but they make the biggest mess when coming to the bottom so get the most coverage. I am a trained driver, busses and coaches, not trucks though. But I see a lot of improper driving regardless the vehicle. Stuff you get away with because we don't have long downhill sections, but no flat sections either.

I make it a point for myself to use the wheel brakes as little as possible, only in an emergency and the last few MPH to get to a stop. Depending on the bus I drive, the retarder can slow the vehicle down to 2 mph... So why not use it and adjust your driving style to that? Irf you do it asw a matter of fact, you won't have to change habits when the terrain force you to do it. The same applies to taking corners, you can take them in a way that requires less turning of the wheel but reduces your clearance (and options for corrections) or you can do it like you expect an obstruction and want to keep options open.

And that's what it's always about, you need to have a viable plan B when driving, especially big and heavy stuff. I doubt basic driver training stresses that enough.
 

pbm

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Terrible accident likely caused by inexperience, not malice. I feel for everyone that lost their lives and their families, but locking this guy up for life is just wrong.
I agree. While he has 'culpability' for his actions (or rather non-actions), the sentence is very steep considering he didn't go out that day intending to cause harm to others (unlike a lot of gangbangers who kill others and get far more lenient sentences).
 
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The Governor of Colorado can intervene.
I live about a 1/2 mile from the accident scene and can remember seeing the black smoke that day, tragic as it was 110 years is way too much.

Gov. Polis’ office said in a statement on potential clemency to NBC affiliate KSN: “We are aware of this issue, the Governor and his team review each clemency application individually.”
I wholly agree 110 years is too much, here they don't compound sentences so you serve the longest term you got.
I would agree with you both.

As we are forming our opinions, this may be a tough one. All sides having some very good points. Like an example in debate class in college, where all sides have valid points.



First comment
states:

1. No Jake Brake
2. Driver's CDL only valid as conditional in Texas, something about may not have been able to obtain regular one as to ability to read and understand English
3. Many signs along that road about the steep grade
 

Nick1994

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You can argue the sentence is too steep - that I have no issue with.

However, he is a criminal and a killer. His actions (or lack of them) directly resulted in the loss of 4 lives. Driving a commercial vehicle comes with a higher level of responsibility - and he failed to exercise proper decision making. Was his truck in working order prior to departing out of the mountains? Did he properly review his route for the hazards (steep grades and curves in this case) he was going to encounter? I-70 into Denver is an unforgiving piece of Roadway. Video shows he was way in excess of 45 mph well prior to the Runaway truck ramp, which he failed to take. There were 4 miles or so of roadway with open shoulders that he could have crashed (admittedly not a great option) without hitting another vehicle or person. Instead, he went forward, and in his words, closed his eyes and let what was going to happen, happen when traffic came to a stop.

We can talk about lack of training, etc... But at the end of the day, the driver is responsible for his actions and should be held accountable.
100%. You take on a lot of responsibility when you become a truck driver. Do stupid things, get big consequences.

Sets a good example for everyone else too.
 
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I would agree with you both.

As we are forming our opinions, this may be a tough one. All sides having some very good points. Like an example in debate class in college, where all sides have valid points.



First comment
states:

1. No Jake Brake
2. Driver's CDL only valid as conditional in Texas, something about may not have been able to obtain regular one as to ability to read and understand English


I would agree with you both.

As we are forming our opinions, this may be a tough one. All sides having some very good points. Like an example in debate class in college, where all sides have valid points.



First comment
states:

1. No Jake Brake
2. Driver's CDL only valid as conditional in Texas, something about may not have been able to obtain regular one as to ability to read and understand English
3. Many signs along that road about the steep grade


I would agree with you both.

As we are forming our opinions, this may be a tough one. All sides having some very good points. Like an example in debate class in college, where all sides have valid points.



First comment
states:

1. No Jake Brake
2. Driver's CDL only valid as conditional in Texas, something about may not have been able to obtain regular one as to ability to read and understand English
3. Many signs along that road about the steep grade

There is one sign that says something like this "Truckers dont be fooled steep grades ahead' with a picture of a truck going down a grade that says 7%.
A 7% grade is very steep and I have driven that grade here in Colorado on I70 in the mountains, It's not bad for a smaller vehicle with decent brakes but an 80,000 pound truck it's a different story.
I don't think this driver was good at reading English but the truck picture was self explanatory.
 
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The amount of heat they generate will render the brakes fairly useless on longer grades if you're relying solely on the brakes. The brake shoes will offgas and create a layer of air between the shoes and drum and they won't work. They will hold the truck and stop it on a hill no problem, but you can't ride the brakes.

Engine brakes / exhaust brakes are a necessity. As is knowing how to hill drive. If you're going to use the brakes on a hill like that you have to use them in combination with the engine brake and perform what is called stab braking. Get on the brakes HARD and drop speed quickly, then let off and let it slowly build up speed while the engine brake holds you back. That works to keep the brakes cool. But you don't want to be in a longer descent situation where you're going to be relying on the brakes because they will fail.
Maybe simulator training should be mandatory for all truckers like for pilots. Hill driving and other common accident situations could be included. Mandate this by the DOT or who ever overlooks truckers and don't license them without it. Sounds burdensome but if it helps teach a trucker how to use stab and engine braking, then it's totally worth it.
 

pbm

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Mostly because he is poor and cannot afford a powerful attorney that can get even OJ Simpson off the hook. It is expensive to be poor and it is our legal system where nothing is equal. There are lots of these injustice everywhere (not that I think he deserves to not get anything at all, but 110 years is ridiculous compare to even war crime or hate crime getting less, for a big accident without DUI). I would give maybe up to 5 years max using my own standard.
What are your thoughts on 'hate crime' HOAX's like the one recently finished up in Chicago? I feel the penalty for those should be just as severe as for actual 'hate crimes' since in fact that's what they are.
 
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What are your thoughts on 'hate crime' HOAX's like the one recently finished up in Chicago? I feel the penalty for those should be just as severe as for actual 'hate crimes' since in fact that's what they are.
I wouldn't say they should be but they definitely shouldn't be ignored.
 
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What are your thoughts on 'hate crime' HOAX's like the one recently finished up in Chicago? I feel the penalty for those should be just as severe as for actual 'hate crimes' since in fact that's what they are.
One of the charges he was convicted of was a felony. It is some kind of big huge joke to 'those people.' That guy has had the same aviator glasses and smug smirk for years.

We would love to see him do some jail time but that 'likely wont happen' I dont think the Chicago/Illinois people have any interest in putting him in any kind of incarceration, never mind what a normal non-celebrity is. And I heard he is appealing, as that must be what an innocent person would do.. I like cars more than people, honestly.

Hoaxes are ignored when they are for a certain purpose. They will to this day call him a victim.

Even Venus or Serena Williams either killed or horribly injured someone in a car in Florida and nothing happened.. tieing this all back to the thread.

For Colorado's mandatory minimums, well, sometimes life ain't fair.. I believe there is some discussion as to if the sentence was warranted, even if 1000% guilty. One poster said it was because that is the law. The larger question is, if that should be the law.

I know some have no issue with it.
 
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The question should be, is this a person who needs to be removed from society forever? Because that's what is happening... He made a series of mistakes apparently, and should be punished but is there no way he can be functional again?
 

pbm

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I wouldn't say they should be but they definitely shouldn't be ignored.
If he had come clean about the ridiculous claims he was making I'd feel less animosity towards him....but his arrogance and unwillingness to admit his lies deserves some jail time.

On his 'Wikipedia' page Smollett states that his Jewish father "would kill you if you called him white"....so apparently he learned his racism and hatred at home....
 
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If he had come clean about the ridiculous claims he was making I'd feel less animosity towards him....but his arrogance and unwillingness to admit his lies deserves some jail time.

On his 'Wikipedia' page Smollett states that his Jewish father "would kill you if you called him white"....so apparently he learned his racism and hatred at home....
They believe that if you say it enough, it becomes true.

Leaving a noose around your neck so the police can see it.. everything about his preposterous story has been flatly debunked including his co-conspirators.. I mean, "Empire" was bad enough but WOW like, we are even still talking about this? The guy is a cartoon. But the V.. you know what, no.
 
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However, he is a criminal and a killer. His actions (or lack of them) directly resulted in the loss of 4 lives. Driving a commercial vehicle comes with a higher level of responsibility, the driver is responsible for his actions and should be held accountable.
EXACTLY! Utter nonsense to sugar coat his actions. "You spins the wheel, you takes your chances" He took the risk, killed people, now he gets to pay the price. Good riddance. Actions like his absolutely do rise the level of "evil".

I'm well trained in my field, absolutely make sure to remain current, and yes, by the book. Even so, I obsess about safety like an old lady (and no, I don't feel I have all the answers, I don't, not even close). And I'll NEVER do any task I know I'm unqualified for.

My career is winding down. I hope to retire never having had any issues. I suspect the chances increase as I age and that worries me, really I should quit today and be satisfied.
 
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The question should be, is this a person who needs to be removed from society forever? Because that's what is happening... He made a series of mistakes apparently, and should be punished but is there no way he can be functional again?


Yes...

He could....

And I actually agree with that.

Just like that young lady I knew who killed 4 young guys.... She was 18 when that happened by the way.

Still... There must be a significant prison term for having been responsible for 4 people dying.

15 months is too little in my opinion. 5 years is too little in my opinion too.

8-15 years. . Actual real time served... Ok. I'm an all right with that.

I say this from a background of having my own father drive so drunk he was going off into the ditches... He did that many, many, many, many, many, times. It's amazing how he never had a major accident.

If my father had killed someone while drunk driving.... I would have wanted him punished as well.

He would have deserved what he got for doing that.

It scared the beegeezees out if me when I was 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 years old and he was driving like that.
 
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Even Venus or Serena Williams either killed or horribly injured someone in a car in Florida and nothing happened.. tieing this all back to the thread.

That was Venus Williams. She was exiting the gated community where she lived in Florida in her Sequoia. She had entered on a green intending to go straight, but got cut off by someone blasting through making a turn. Instead of risking a head-on she just waited to complete going through the intersection. It did turn yellow. Two other cars stopped but another just blasted through.



I remember the first collision report claimed that she was at fault, but it was later amended to state that the driver whose husband died was at fault for failure to yield to a vehicle that was already in the intersection. To me it's inexcusable to just blast through an intersection on green because I've seen pedestrians still crossing. Once I slipped and fell and all the cars waited on green. It's hard to tell what the lights are, but the car that T-boned her car was going really fast. I think she settled anyways.
 
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Yes...

He could....

And I actually agree with that.

Just like that young lady I knew who killed 4 young guys.... She was 18 when that happened by the way.

Still... There must be a significant prison term for having been responsible for 4 people dying.

15 months is too little in my opinion. 5 years is too little in my opinion too.

8-15 years. . Actual real time served... Ok. I'm an all right with that.

I say this from a background of having my own father drive so drunk he was going off into the ditches... He did that many, many, many, many, many, times. It's amazing how he never had a major accident.

If my father had killed someone while drunk driving.... I would have wanted him punished as well.

He would have deserved what he got for doing that.

It scared the beegeezees out if me when I was 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 years old and he was driving like that.

Would just like to add, driving drunk is a choice and aggravates whatever happens.

If the truck driver had no valid license, that aggravates the situation aswell... and he made the choice to drive anyway.

I'm not sure if the prison term needs to be more because 4 people died, by coincidence it's just 1 or it's 10 if he hit a loaded minivan. Whatever he did to get there was just the same.
 
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The Governor granted clemency and commuted the sentence to 10 years.

The Governor also granted commutations to Ronald Johnson, Nicholas Wells, and Rogel Aguilera-Mederos. Mr. Johnson is granted parole effective January 15, 2022, with terms and conditions of parole to be set by the Parole Board. Mr. Wells is parole eligible on January 15, 2022. Mr. Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence is reduced to 10 years.​
governor-polis-clemency-letters-2021.pdf
 
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That was Venus Williams. She was exiting the gated community where she lived in Florida in her Sequoia. She had entered on a green intending to go straight, but got cut off by someone blasting through making a turn. Instead of risking a head-on she just waited to complete going through the intersection. It did turn yellow. Two other cars stopped but another just blasted through.



I remember the first collision report claimed that she was at fault, but it was later amended to state that the driver whose husband died was at fault for failure to yield to a vehicle that was already in the intersection. To me it's inexcusable to just blast through an intersection on green because I've seen pedestrians still crossing. Once I slipped and fell and all the cars waited on green. It's hard to tell what the lights are, but the car that T-boned her car was going really fast. I think she settled anyways.

If I remember correctly, it took a while to find a surveillance camera footage that showed the full story about this.
 

dishdude

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The Governor granted clemency and commuted the sentence to 10 years.

The Governor also granted commutations to Ronald Johnson, Nicholas Wells, and Rogel Aguilera-Mederos. Mr. Johnson is granted parole effective January 15, 2022, with terms and conditions of parole to be set by the Parole Board. Mr. Wells is parole eligible on January 15, 2022. Mr. Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence is reduced to 10 years.​
governor-polis-clemency-letters-2021.pdf

That sounds a lot more reasonable.
 
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