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Driver Involved in Fatal I-88 Crash Charged With 4 Felonies


According to authorities, the driver responsible for a crash that left an Illinois Tollway worker dead and an Illinois state trooper severely injured was in violation of HOS.

On Monday night, 39-year-old Tollway worker Vincent Petrella and trooper Douglas Balder were stopped on the shoulder of I-88, helping a truck driver who was parked in the emergency lane.

Flashing lights from Balder’s vehicle warned other drivers away.

DND International driver Renato V. Velasquez, 46, was driving behind another truck.  As the two trucks approached the trooper’s car, the truck ahead of Velasquez moved out of the left lane. Velasquez did not.

Velasquez’s truck veered out of his lane and slammed into the trooper’s car.

“The first truck did get off that lane. The second truck, he never moved. He just kept going straight, no tail lights went on, no brake lights. He just went right into it, and everything exploded,” Paul Anzell told ABC7 Chicago.

Balder’s vehicle exploded into flames.  The severely injured trooper managed to crawl from his vehicle. Sadly, Petrella died at the scene.

Velasquez suffered minor injuries and the other driver was not injured.

Investigators learned that Velasquez had been on duty for 37.5 hours and had only rested for 3.5 hours.

While probing Velasquez’s record, WLS Chicago found that in 2001, Velasquez was convicted of delivering a kilo of cocaine. He served time in prison for the conviction. 

WLS reported that at the time of the crash, Velasquez was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Velasquez now faces four felony convictions for the accident including operating a commercial motor vehicle while fatigued or impaired, driving beyond the allowable hours, and making a falsifying logs.

On Wednesday, Velasquez was released on a $150,000 bond. 

Sources: WLS Chicago

NBC Chicago

Daily Herald


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