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Moar backstory

In an update to yesterday’s Boycott NYC post, The Real Trucker Jake mentions something the handful of us who even knew about it at all have probably forgotten about: in 2021, a trucker boycott brought the state of Colorado to heel toot damn sweet. So I looked it up.

What Happened with the Colorado Trucking Boycott?
The Colorado Trucking Boycott occurred during the last weeks of December 2021 in response to the sentencing of truck driver Rogel Aguilera-Mederos to 110-years in prison. He had been found guilty on 27 charges including four negligent homicide charges, and multiple first-degree assault and first-degree attempted assault charges stemming from an April 25, 2019 collision on I-70 west of Denver.

Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, a Cuban immigrant and rookie truck driver was traveling eastbound on I-70 near Lakewood, Colorado on April 25, 2019. It was his first time traveling through Colorado on I-70, a stretch of interstate with steep mountain grades that require proper training and experience to navigate safely in a commercial vehicle. Aguilera-Mederos, only 23 years old at the time, was in over his head.

He made multiple mistakes as he came down the mountain, taking his truck out of gear, and burning his brakes out. For reasons unknown, he bypassed the lone escape ramp available to him. As his truck, fully loaded with lumber, hurtled down the highway he encountered a traffic backup caused by an earlier collision. He attempted to take the shoulder to bypass the stopped cars until he came upon another big truck parked on the shoulder. He swerved back onto the highway and into a crash.

In the fiery aftermath, four individuals were killed and several others were injured. He went to trial on September 28, 2021, and on October 25, 2021, a jury found him guilty on 27 charges.

The severity of the sentence imposed upon Aguilera-Mederos caused an immediate backlash in the Latino and trucking communities. The argument was made by millions of individuals that the punishment was excessive in relation to the crime. One case, in particular, stood out in contrast to Aguilera-Mederos; that of Ethan Couch, a teenager driving under the influence of alcohol who killed four people. Rather than cooperate with authorities as Aguilera-Mederos had, Couch fled the country.

When he returned he was sentenced to 10 years of probation. The disparity between the sentences was a significant argument used by those who supported a fairer sentence for Aguilera-Mederos.

It is interesting to note that even the judge in the Aguilera-Mederos case was opposed to the 110-year sentence, however, his hands were tied by Colorado’s mandatory sentencing guidelines. Some have also argued that the prosecuting attorney knowingly arranged the charges to game the system of the mandatory guidelines in an effort to push Aguilera-Mederos into a plea deal.

They asked questions such as, “What happens if my brakes fail and I do everything right, and I still crash and hurt someone? Will I be sentenced to 110 years also?” The sentencing, for many drivers, made Colorado seem threatening, a danger to not only their livelihood but their freedom as well. With these concerns in mind and as a show of solidarity for a member of the trucking community, thousands of drivers came forward on TikTok, Facebook, and Twitter, to express their indignation at the sentencing and by the middle of December 2021, a full-fledged boycott of the state of Colorado was underway.

Images emerged of stopped trucks, lining the shoulders of highways at the border of the state, refusing to enter. Meanwhile, a Change.org petition had been started demanding that the governor of Colorado grant Aguilera-Mederos clemency. Roughly 5 million signatures were collected in the petition.

As December came to a close, the governor of Colorado under the strain of mounting public outcry and pressure, granted Aguilera-Mederos the clemency the public had been demanding. The sentence was reduced to 10 years which brought the punishment in line with other crimes of a similar nature.

Meanwhile, the prosecuting attorney, who elected to charge Aguilera-Mederos for the incident, neglected to pursue any charges against the company Aguilera-Mederos worked for, Castellano 03 Trucking LLC. They had a recent track record of flagrantly disregarding federal safety regulations with 30 violations during the two years leading up to the incident and among those violations was a habit of employing drivers who were unable to understand road signs written in English.

The day after the crash, the owner of Castellano 03 Trucking LLC, dissolved the company and registered a new company, Volt Trucking according to a 9NEWS investigative report. This new company is already racking up a lengthy record of trucker safety violations with their brakes and brake lines.

The question of whether or not the boycotts work remains unanswered. On the one hand, the implied economic impact upon a state is a severe threat, especially during a period when COVID-related shortages continue to impact supply chains. On the other hand, trucking is a highly competitive industry, and for every truck driver or trucking company who decides to participate in a boycott, there are many more who will ignore cries for such a measure and carry on with business as usual in the targeted state.

Ahh, but is that assumption correct? That sound you hear is Sam Kinison, saying he’d like a word regarding all that.

A-HENH. The sad, sorry fact is that the ziggurat of absurd obstacles to becoming a truck driver piled up by the Überstadt  (see my comment at Aesop’s joint for further details) guarantee that there can NEVER be enough drivers to meet the demand, and that any trucking company who dares to fire even a niggling percentage of their drivers for…oh, honoring a boycott, say, will NOT remain in the trucking business for long.

Bottom line: whether they know it or not, truck drivers don’t just have a lot of power in Amerika v2.0, they have pretty much ALL of it. Curiously enough, my long-maintained axiom that liberal/Leftism carries within itself the seeds of its own destruction pops immediately to mind. Needs to be formally codified as another of Mike’s Iron Laws, I’m thinkin’, which I will make happen soon’s as I can get around to it.

2

2 thoughts on “Moar backstory

  1. My only quibble is with the shortage of truck drivers. If i’m correct, the severe shortage of a couple years back has dissipated due to the sorry economy and there is now a surplus of trucks and drivers. Might be wrong as the statistical data is so manipulated it’s hard to know the truth.

    1. Definitely not as bad out there as it used to be, in terms of the former driver shortage. I should’ve said supply will never meet demand in a non-socialist, not top-down (mis)(micro)managed economy. That would’ve been nearer the intended mark.

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