A deadly crash in Illinois that has drawn nationwide attention, has a U.S. Senator calling for tougher oversight on trucking companies.
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 in the far right lane. 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.
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.
As a result, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois sent a letter to the FMCSA on Thursday, urging the agency to investigate the crash and to toughen the enforcement of HOS rules.
In addition, Durbin encouraged the FMCSA to “ensure that every trucking company takes these federal rules seriously.”
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.
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