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Semi Driver in Fatal I-88 Crash Worked for Naperville Company

Authorities said Renato V. Velasquez had only gotten 3.5 hours of sleep during a 37.5 hour shift before the accident, which killed an Illinois Tollway worker, occurred Monday evening, according to media reports.

A 46-year-old Hanover Park man working for a Naperville company, DND International, Inc., has been charged with operating a commercial motor vehicle while fatigued or impaired following a fatal crash on I-88 this past week, according to the Daily Herald. 

Renato V. Velasquez is also charged with making a false report of record and duty status, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and failure to yield to stationary emergency vehicles, according to the Daily Herald. 

He is accused of crashing into a police car Monday night, which had its lights flashing, and a disabled semi truck, which led to both vehicles bursting into flames, according ABC 7 Chicago. The crash killed a 39-year-old tollway worker, Vincent Petrella of Wheeling, and seriously injured a 38-year-old state trooper, Trooper Douglas J. Balder of Oswego, according to ABC 7 Chicago. 

Petrella and Balder had been assisting a disabled vehicle on I-88 in Aurora near Eola Road when the crash occurred around 9:45 p.m., according to the Chicago Tribune. 

The Daily Herald reports Velasquez had only gotten 3 1/2 hours of sleep during a 37.5 hour shift when he was on the roadway that night. 

Meanwhile, Velasquez's lawyer said sleepiness was not the cause of the crash, according to the article.  His lawyer said his client's vision had been blocked by another semi driving in front of him on I-88 and that when the semi merged, Velsaquez did not have enough time to do the same to avoid the crash, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Velsaquez appeared Wednesday in DuPage County court where a judge ordered a $150,000 bond, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicates DND International Inc. has a spotty history with unsafe driving rating of 92.4 percent, which means "nearly 93 percent of all trucking companies have better records than DND," according to NBC Chicago. 

Petrella had been an equipment laborer with the Illinois Tollway since 2005, said        Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur in a statement released early Tuesday. He started his career with Illinois Tollway as a toll collector. 

He had two children and was described as hard-working and a "family man" who was committed to doing his best each day to serve Tollway customers, according to the Illinois Tollway statement. 

The above information was updated at 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 29, 2014. 


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Original article posted on Jan. 28, 2014: An Illinois tollway maintenance worker was killed Monday night when a semi truck ran into his vehicle while he was assisting a disabled semitrailer truck along Interstate 88 near North Eola Road in Aurora Monday night, according to the Chicago Tribune. 

Vincent Petrella, 39, was pronounced dead at the scene, and an Illinois State Trooper, who was also assisting the disabled vehicle, was taken to an area hospital for treatment of serious injuries, according to the Chicago Tribune. 

The fiery crash occurred at 9:45 p.m. Monday on eastbound I-88 and closed the eastbound lanes and one westbound lane in that area while paramedics and firefighters were on scene, according to the Daily Herald.

Petrella had been an equipment laborer with the Illinois Tollway since 2005, said        Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur in a statement released early Tuesday. He started his career with Illinois Tollway as a toll collector. 

He had two children and was described as hard-working and a "family man" who was committed to doing his best each day to serve Tollway customers, according to the Illinois Tollway statement. 

"On behalf of the Tollway Board and the entire Illinois Tollway, we are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of one of our own, Illinois Tollway roadway maintenance worker Vincent Petrella," Lafleur said. 

The crash occurred on what should have been a routine job.

"Our roadway maintenance workers are on our roadways 24/7 to serve customers across our 286-mile system of tollways. They plow snow, maintain our roadways and, most importantly, are the first on the scene to help drivers in need," Lafleur said.

Read more on the Chicago Tribune

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