The truck driver will face multiple counts of vehicular homicide.
Massive flames and a huge plume of smoke could be seen from miles away following a deadly crash on Thursday afternoon along I-70 near Denver. A semi-truck driver had plowed through stopped traffic, hitting several cars and trucks and igniting a deadly fire.
The truck driver, who has been identified as Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos of Texas, has been arrested on charges of vehicular homicide. There's no evidence of drugs or alcohol playing a role in the crash. Lakewood police are also looking into whether or not his brakes were working.
Rogel Lazaro Aguilera was booked into our jail today for his involvement in yesterday’s crash on I-70. The crash is being investigated by @LakewoodPDCO Media inquiries & requests for his mugshot should be directed to Lakewood PD. Aguilera has declined to be interviewed by media pic.twitter.com/TP6Roz21j9— Jeffco Sheriff (@jeffcosheriffco) April 26, 2019
It's been reported that 28 vehicles were involved in the crash, including four semis and 24 cars, according to Ty Countryman of the Lakewood Police Department.
Link: I-70 crash update from LPD and @ColoradoDOT. 28 total vehicles involved. Multiple fatalities. Driver of semi in custody facing suspicion of Vehicular Homicide. Highway not expected to open until tomorrow. https://t.co/pLfoctBqvA— Lakewood Police (@LakewoodPDCO) April 26, 2019
"We do know that I-70 eastbound traffic was at a standstill or close to a standstill because of a crash way out ahead of it," Countryman said at a news conference on Friday morning. "The semi was eastbound and ended up colliding with the ... cars that were stopped because of the accident ahead. That's all we know or we are releasing at this point."
Officials have said that the fire took several hours to subdue. Six individuals were rushed to the hospital, including a West Metro firefighter, while multiple others were treated and released on the scene. As of Friday morning, all of those hospitalized have been released except for one.
- Doyle Harrison, 61, of Hudson
- William Bailey, 67, of Arvada
- Miguel Angel Lamas Arellano, 24, of Denver
- Stanley Politano, 69, of Arvada
Witnesses of the crash have reported a "chain-reaction of collisions," which was then followed by a huge fire that reached temperatures of 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, said CDOT's Josh Laipply. What caused the vehicles to ignite is unclear.
One of those witnesses was YouTuber Josh McCutchen (Burger Planet), who just happened to be live streaming moments before the fatal accident occurred. The video (below) shows McCutchen slowing down and eventually halting due to traffic congestion. As you can see in the video, the semi flies down the outside lane as he sits in the stopped traffic. He later flips the camera on his dashboard to show the plume of smoke.
*Please note that there is explicit language in the video. Viewer discretion advised.
The Colorado Mills Parkway overpass suffered extensive damage from the heat of the fire, and I-70 is expected to remain closed until some time Saturday as the investigation and cleanup continue. Lakewood Police encourage drivers to avoid the area if possible.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
*Featured image courtesy of Denver7 via YouTube.