Trial of trucker opens Tuesday in fatal 2014 crash by Aurora

Associated Press
Posted2/23/2015 1:34 PM

WHEATON, Ill. -- A trial is set to begin Tuesday for a truck driver charged in a 2014 crash that killed an Illinois Tollway worker and seriously injured a State Police trooper along Interstate 88.

The Daily Herald ( ) reports 46-year-old Renato Velasquez of Hanover Park faces a maximum of three years in prison on charges including driving while fatigued and falsifying driving logs. Authorities say he slept for 3 ½ hours on a 37 ½-hour shift before the crash.


Legislation filed Friday by state Sen. Chris Nybo, R-Elmhurst, would increase penalties for truck drivers involved in serious crashes who violate regulations on driving time. Under federal law, drivers can't go for more than 11 hours in a 14-hour window and must then break for 10 hours straight.

Nybo said he proposed the legislation because of the crash involving Velasquez, but said it was not purposely timed around the trial.

Velasquez's case wouldn't be affected by the legislation. A message seeking comment was left with his attorney.

Doug Balder, the trooper hurt in the crash, and his wife had asked for Velasquez to be charged with reckless homicide. DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said he could "only bring charges that can be substantiated in a court of law."

Nybo said his proposal was made on Berlin's behalf, but Berlin declined to comment on the legislative agenda of his office.

"If my state's attorney makes a request, I'm very inclined to support his thoughts and help him out. He's the expert," Nybo said.

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On Jan. 27, 2014, authorities say Balder and Tollway worker Vincent Petrella were assisting with a disabled semitrailer along the highway when Velasquez's truck crashed into their vehicles with the two men sitting inside. Petrella was killed. Balder was in a hospital burn unit for three months after the crash.


Information from: Daily Herald,

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