The driver of a semitrailer that crashed into stopped vehicles on I-70 in the Denver area Thursday evening has been arrested on suspicion of four counts of vehicular homicide.
Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, 23, was taken into custody following the crash and was officially named as the driver of the semi after he was charged by Lakewood Police on Friday. He has a Texas commercial driver’s license.
The chain-reaction collision happened around 4:50 p.m. local time on Thursday, April 25, at the Denver West Parkway bridge over I-70 in Lakewood, Colo., which is 10 miles west of Denver.
The semi was eastbound when it hit the other vehicles, which included 24 passenger vehicles and four semi tractor-trailers.
There was no indication that it was an intentional act, according to Lakewood Police Department spokesman Ty Countryman. Neither drugs nor drugs or alcohol are suspected as factors in the crash.
“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.
Here is a video showing a semi speeding past other stopped vehicles before the crash. The semi in the video goes by the stopped vehicles near the 8-minute mark. (Editor’s note: The video contains language that could be offensive to some.)
Officials are now reporting four people died in the incident. Six others were taken to the hospital, including the driver of the semi. The collision caused a fire that damaged the Denver West Parkway bridge.
The tractor-trailer that police say started the crash was carrying a tarped flatbed full of lumber. There were 2x4s scattered around the vehicles. Diesel fuel also was spilled on the roadway.
CNN reports talking with the driver’s brother, who said the driver told him the brakes of the semitrailer had failed. The driver is Cuban and a permanent U.S. resident, CNN reports.
Investigation into the incident began around 10 p.m., April 25 after the fire was put out.
The incident closed all lanes of I-70.
I-70 was expected to remain closed between Sixth Avenue and Denver West Parkway into Saturday with no specific estimated reopen time as of Friday afternoon, reports the Colorado Department of Transportation. I-70 westbound remained closed with traffic detoured onto off and on ramps around the crash scene. Eastbound traffic was detouring via Sixth Avenue.
The Lakewood Police Department has set up a tip line for this crash. If you have information, were a witness, have footage or have questions, call 303-763-6800 and somone will return your call.
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