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updated: 11/13/2013 7:50 PM

$125,000 bond for truck driver in crash that killed state trooper

Officials: Truck driver was hours past 14-hour limit

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  • Trooper James Sauter of Vernon Hills was on duty in his state police squad car when his vehicle was struck by a semitrailer truck on southbound I-294 at Willow Road. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

      Trooper James Sauter of Vernon Hills was on duty in his state police squad car when his vehicle was struck by a semitrailer truck on southbound I-294 at Willow Road. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
    courtesy of ABC 7

  • James Sauter

      James Sauter

  • Andrew B. Bokelman

      Andrew B. Bokelman

 
 

The truck driver who authorities say fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a state trooper's car on the Tri-State Tollway in March is being held in lieu of $125,000 bond.

The accident at 11 p.m. on March 28 killed 28-year-old James Sauter of Vernon Hills.

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Andrew B. Bokelman of Wisconsin was charged Wednesday morning with driving beyond a 14-hour duty limit, operating a commercial vehicle while impaired with fatigue and falsifying a report of record regarding his duty status, a spokeswoman with the Cook County state's attorney's office said.

He must post 10 percent of the bond in order to be released, and is due back in court on Dec. 6, authorities said.

Bokelman turned himself in to Illinois State Police prior to court Wednesday morning, authorities said.

Authorities say Bokelman fell asleep at the wheel while driving on the Tri-State Tollway moments before the accident.

There are conflicting reports about the events leading to the crash. Some evidence indicates that Sauter's squad car was on the shoulder of I-294 near Willow Road when Bokelman's truck swerved and crashed into it. Other reports indicate Sauter was pulling his squad back onto the roadway from the shoulder when he was hit by Bokelman.

Bokelman did try to get Sauter out of the vehicle, but was driven back by flames, an assistant states attorney said Wednesday in court.

Bokelman and the company he worked for at the time of the crash were assessed fines by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, government documents show.

Federal regulations mandate 10 hours of rest after 14 hours of driving, but according to GPS logs from Bokelman's truck, he had been driving for several hours past that limit at the time of the crash near Willow Road, documents showed.

Bokelman was fined $2,500, the maximum fine for driving longer than 14 hours, and United Van Lines was fined $5,500, according to the records.

The investigation found that Bokelman was driving for a United Van Lines client, Barrett Moving Co., from 6:31 a.m. to 6:32 p.m. and then again between 7:14 and 7:34 p.m. But Bokelman started driving again at 8:49 p.m. in Waukesha, Wis., and then was stopped by the crash at 11:03 p.m.

That brought his total drive time to more than 14 hours and his time on duty to more than 18 hours by the time of the crash, according to federal records.

Charges: Truck driver tried to get trooper out of cruiser

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