Commuters on a Colorado freeway were stuck in snarled traffic during a busy Friday rush hour when the unthinkable happened. And it ended up costing at least four of them their lives.
Cars on the eastbound side of the I-70 freeway near the Denver suburb of Lakewood were at a standstill because of an earlier fender-bender accident. Drivers' annoyance soon turned to shock and disbelief when they saw an out-of-control big rig come speeding down the shoulder.
Traveling at what appeared to be full speed, the semi-tractor trailer zoomed past the line of stationary vehicles, coming to a deadly stop when it slammed into the line of cars that had nowhere to go.
"The accident occurred just before 5 p.m. in the Denver suburb of Lakewood when a truck driver lost control while traveling east on Interstate 70," according to a preliminary investigation.
"The collision started a chain reaction and a diesel fuel spill, Lakewood police spokesman Ty Countryman earlier told the Denver Post. Officials said the driver was headed down a hill when he slammed into lower traffic. The fire was said to be so intense that it melted the roadway and metal off cars."
Witnesses say the smoke from the blaze could be seen for miles. At least a dozen vehicles, including three semis, were said to be involved.
At the moment, authorities are not saying what they think caused the crash, but one thing is for sure. The semi did NOT stop when it should have.
Countryman also confirmed “the driver of the semi-truck that started the multi-vehicle wreck was taken into custody. The suspect was named later Friday as Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, 23," KDVR reported.
He was arrested and is being charged with multiple counts of vehicular homicide. No further details are available at this time.
Whether that was because of a shifted load or mechanical failure on the truck, or some sort of driver inattention, we’ll have to wait for the investigation to conclude to find out. Police are saying that there is no evidence that drugs or alcohol were involved.
“Spokesman said they used a translator to interview him. He had a CDL license out of Texas. Staying tuned.”
A YouTuber from the ’Burger Planet’ channel inadvertently captured the incident on camera. He was recording his musings about the traffic, (stopped for the earlier accident) when the “out-of-control” semi can be seen speeding down the shoulder of the freeway.
As you might expect, his reaction was the same as anyone’s would have been.
He is slated to appear in court on Saturday for an advisement hearing. Authorities said he was arrested "for suspicion of multiple counts of vehicular homicide."
This is a developing story. Be sure to check back later for updates as they occur.
Please join us in praying for all those affected by this horrific incident. May God give them peace and comfort during this difficult time.