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Truck Driver Worked 36 Hours Leading up to Fatal Accident

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Jarod Cassidy4 years ago

Reports indicate that a truck driver that caused a fatal accident on Interstate 88 near Aurora that killed a tollway worker and left a state trooper badly injured had been working for 36 hours with just over three hours of sleep.

About the Fatal Trucking Accident

Truck driver Renato V. Velasquez, 46, is facing several felony charges in connection to a fiery crash that left Vincent Petrella, 39, dead and State Trooper Douglas J. Balder, 38, in intensive care with third-degree burns, broken ribs and broken shoulders.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Velasquez had been working for roughly 36 hours with less than four hours of sleep before his tractor-trailer slammed into the back Officer Balder’s police cruiser around 9:45 p.m. Monday.
The collision forced the state police squad car in to Petrella’s truck, after which both vehicles were engulfed in flames.

In a statement to police, Velasquez claimed that he had not seen the vehicles, both of which had stopped along the side of the road; however, Assistant DuPage County State’s Attorney Bethany Jackson alleges both the toll-way truck and police car had their emergency lights on.

Velasquez has been arrested and his bail has been set at $150,000.

Trucker has a Criminal History

  • Federal court documents show that Velasquez had been previously arrested, including an arrest for attempting to sell two kilograms of cocaine to an undercover police officer.
  • He pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to sell and distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine and was sentenced to 50 months in prison after agreeing to testify against his co-defendant.
  • Following his release, Velasquez was sentenced to three years supervised release.


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