A truck driver was convicted on Monday (April 21) of fatigued driving and sentenced to three years in prison for an accident near Aurora that killed a tollway worker and injured a state trooper.
Truck Driver Gets Maximum Penalty for Fatigued Driving
The charges against Renato Velasquez included one count of Operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle in a Fatigued State, two counts of Failure to Comply With Hours of Service Requirements, one count of Driving Too Fast For Conditions and one count of Failure to Yield to Emergency Vehicle.
The wreck that killed the tollway worker Vincent “Enzo” Petrella and injured Trooper Douglas Balder occurred on January 27 of last year. Velasquez had reportedly been working for 36 hours on only 3 and 1/2 hours of sleep. One of the steel rolls Velasquez was hauling came loose and hit a Tollway HELP truck and a trooper’s car. The car’s gas tank caught fire as the accident pushed it into the ditch. The prosecution claimed that Velasquez falsified his log book to hide the fact that he had not gotten sufficient rest.
Trooper Says He Is “Insulted” By Truck Driver’s Apology
The courtroom became very emotional as the Assistant State’s Attorney read the court a victim impact statement from Petrella’s widow. Balder’s wife also read a statement from her husband regarding the suffering he endured after the accident. Balder says he woke up after weeks in a coma with a tube down his throat begging for water. “Every time the defendant takes a cold drink of ice water, I want him to think of me,” Balder said.
Balder, who suffered 13 broken ribs and severe burns on the left side of his body, said he was “insulted” by Velasquez’s apology. He also said that he couldn’t believe that the apology was genuine since Velasquez didn’t offer to donate blood or skin to help him recover from his injuries.