Truck Driver gets 110 year sentence. Petition wants his sentence commuted

A truck driver plowed into vehicles on a Denver highway. Four people dies. Multiple others were injured.

The driver was found guilty on 4 counts of vehicular homicide and a host of other charges.

He was given a sentence of 110 years.

Now people are petitioning to have his sentence commuted. Over 5 million have signed the petition.

From the article:

He received all minimum sentences but Colorado state law requires that each sentence be served consecutively. The length of the sentence is something the judge even said he objected to.

“If I had the discretion, it would not be my sentence,” he said.

I don’t understand the issue here. Why are people clamoring to have his sentence commuted? Is it because he said he was sorry and that he cries all the time because of what he did?

Maybe people want the sentence shortened. What if it was cut in half? Would that make people happy? Even at 55 years instead of 110, the guy would likely die in jail.

Apparently truckers are refusing to drive into Colorado in protest of the sentence. Seems to me that this guy gives truckers a bad reputation, and I don’t understand why other truckers would line up in support of him.

I’m looking for some help in understanding the outpouring of support for this guy.

I think it just seems excessive to people in a case where no malice is apparent.


It is excessive. No winning here. If they reduce it to 5 years then the families of those who perished are outraged.

The highway is a dangerous place for everyone.

Something like 20 years seems more fair

From what I understand it was a combination of mechanical failure and road conditions.

The primary air brake feed loop apparently failed; semis have a mechanical backup that will engage in those conditions. Issue is that it’s nowhere near enough to stop a 80,000-100,000 pound truck in as short a distance as air actuated brakes and it always causes lockups.

Second issue was road conditions and traffic conditions.

His only option was to pull off down a ramp or just run the truck off the road. He probably should have done that, but considering how fast it occurred he probably panicked and just slammed harder on the brakes.

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That is an egregious failure of judicial system to have this incident punished by life in prison.

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I fully agree. It’s extremely excessive. Yes people were killed and that’s awful, but it wasn’t directly his fault. Like most people, he panicked when he realized the air brake system had failed.

Same thing happens with passenger cars and trucks that use hydraulic brakes. If your brake master cylinder fails your pedal is going to the floor and 99% of people are going to panic and just pump the brakes or just push harder even though it doesn’t help.

The correct course of action in that situation on a passenger vehicle is to use a combination of engine braking (manual drivers like myself do it all the time; people only experienced on automatics don’t think about it, but you can engine brake an automatic by downshifting the transmission manually) and directing the car away from traffic.

But 90% of drivers are not going to be calm enough to do that. Manual transmission drivers are generally better prepared to do it since a lot of us double clutch downshift and use engine braking instead of mechanical braking to slow down the vehicle for shorter stops. But even then, panic always sets in.


I’m looking for some help in understanding the support for locking him up for 110 years.


From what I read he wasn’t drunk or under influence.

It was due to malfunction and/or weather conditions.

110 years doesn’t make sense here. 5 years would be more reasonable.

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Was the brake failure the driver’s fault? If so, negligence, rot in prison.

If not 1)-the sentence is wildly excessive, and 2)-whose fault is it? Or is it truly a rare case of no fault mechanical failure?

He was found guilty of vehicular homicide. All the talk about brake failure was taken into account in the trial. Jury didn’t see that as a mitigating factor. If it should have been, then either the defense failed, or his lawyers should appeal the verdict.

Note that the driver passed a runaway truck ramp, which is a common thing in the hilly parts of Colorado. He didn’t use it. Those ramps are made specifically for purposes such as truck brake failure.

Again, the guy was found guilty by a jury. Of multiple counts. Vehicular homicide, not some lesser manslaughter charges. All we can do is second-guess the trial (which we did NOT attend) and second guess the jury.

I’ll point out again, even if the governor chops the sentence in half, it still means he’ll spend the rest of his life in prison. Would people be OK with a 50% reduction in sentencing? (And note, he already got the minimum sentence for each charge.)

And how can 5 million petition signers know anything more than their emotional response to the way the news has presented this?

Air brake systems are very reliable, but component failure does occur even with proper maintenance and inspection. Usually the fittings or the air lines theirselves are the culprits.

Ultimately it is his fault. He should have ditched the truck. But considering human response to crisis, panic is expected when a brake system fails. Hydraulic braking systems fail spectacularly on passenger vehicles and cause wrecks all the time. Those drivers don’t respond any better.

110 years is excessive. No matter how you look at it. 20 seems much more appropriate, with parole after ten assuming good behavior.

People get less than time than that for murder 2, or murders of passion.


People have also been comparing this case with the teen in Texas who killed 4 in a DUI, and got probation as punishment.

The excessive sentence, and the disparate sentencing, have had people calling foul.

Ok what other facts are there to indicate he deserves 10 years?

A trial by jury. Colorado law. Sentencing requirements.

Bad driver. Poor judgment in crisis. Shouldn’t be driving big rigs. But he could otherwise be a solid citizen… probably. No more big rigs. But no prison.

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I would like to know more. Like let’s see the police report.

There’s way more to this story than meets the eye.


Do you believe the jury’s eyes got to meet the “way more” of the story?

Also, it was a minimum sentence requirement.

All in all, I don’t people are faulting the jury or the judge, but the system.

The governor could commute him I guess. That’s something.

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