Houston trucker arrested in the pileup that killed 4 near Denver

Authorities survey the site of a deadly crash on I-70 near Colorado Mills Parkway that shut down the highway in both directions on Friday 26 April 2019. Lakewood, Colorado. A truck driver blamed for causing a deadly pileup involving more than two dozen vehicles near Denver, is arrested on vehicle homicide charges. Lakewood police spokesman Ty Countryman said Friday that there is no indication that drugs or alcohol played a role in Thursday’s crash. (AP Photo/Peter Banda)

LAKEWOOD, Colorado. – Four people died after a semi-truck hauling lumber lost control and plowed into vehicles on a busy section of Interstate 70 near Denver, triggering explosions and a fire so intense that it melted the roadway and metals from cars, authorities said Friday.

“It was crash, crash, crash and explosion, explosion, explosion,” said John Romero, a spokesman for the Lakewood, Colorado, the police, describing the 28-vehicle chain reaction of explosions from ruptured gas tanks.

The driver of the truck, Are Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, 23, of Houston, was arrested on suspicion of car-murder as police continue to investigate what happened.

Six people were taken to hospitals with injuries, but their conditions were unclear Friday.

“There is just a lot of debris from this crash that took place. The carnage was substantial, incredibly,” a department spokesman, Ty Farmer, said.

Officials say Aguilera-Mederos, who sustained minor injuries, was headed down a hill when he lost control and slammed into traffic slowed because of an earlier crash for him on I-70 with a school bus and a tractor-trailer.

There is no indication that the crash was intended and that drugs or alcohol were a factor, but the researchers were looking for or are truck the brakes worked, the Farmer said.

I-70 is Colorado is of vital importance for the east-west highway between the mountains and the plains, and the traffic has grown worse as the state’s population has increased enormously. The crash happened just after the motorway of the Rocky mountains, where the signs warn motorists to check to make sure that their brakes are cool and work after the travel on the steep slopes.

There are also slopes on hills from the sides of the highway for trucks that lose their brakes so that the drivers can exit and slow down before hitting other vehicles.

Employees cleared, burned and mutilated wreck of the highway and worked quickly to replace the top layer of burned pavement on Friday. A burn-tractor-semi-trailer towed away was barely recognizable, except for the size and the chimney.

Aguilera-Mederos is scheduled to make his first appearance on Saturday to be informed of his rights. A court may also consider bond during that first advice hear. There was no information about whether he is represented by a lawyer.

Formal complaint is not lodged by the public prosecutor, Pam Russell, a spokeswoman for the Jefferson County district attorney’s office said.

Federal agencies are also monitoring the investigation. The National Transportation Safety Board, said the teams involved in the agency sees an opportunity to issue new safety recommendations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which regulates and provides safety oversight for large trucks and buses, said that working with national and local authorities to help where it can.


Slevin reported from Denver.

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