photo VelaszuezCrop.jpg

Suit Filed In I-88 Crash

The wife of Illinois Tollway worker who was killed in the Jan. 27 crash on I-88 near Eola Road, is suing the truck driver charged with causing the crash and the trucking company he worked for.

Sandra Petrella, wife of Vincent Petrella who was killed in the crash, filed a negligence and wrongful death suit Cook County Circuit Court on Monday.

The driver named in the suit is Renato Velasquez, 46, of Hanover Park, who works for Naperville company, DND International, Inc.

Police say Velasquez crashed into a police car with lights flashing and a tollway service truck, which had stopped to aid a disabled semi, causing both vehicles to burst into flames.

According to the suit, Velasquez drove while sleep-deprived and fatigued, failed to keep a proper lookout, and failed to yield the right-of-way to emergency vehicles.

The suit also claims negligence on the part of DND International, because it allowed one of its drivers to drive while fatigued, without the required rest. DND also failed to inspect or verify Velasquez’s logbooks and failed to verify Velasquez was in compliance with federal regulations.

The four-count suit is seeking more than $200,000 in damages.

Velasquez was formally charged in DuPage County with a ten count indictment on Jan. 28, including: violating the motor carrier safety law, operating in an ill or impaired state, falsifying his logbook, failure to comply with hours of service requirements, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, and failure to yield to stationary emergency vehicles.

Velasquez was released from DuPage County Jail after paying $15,000 bail on Jan. 29. He pled not guilty to all counts at his arraignment on March 3, and his next criminal court appearance is set for April 14.

This is the second suit filed against Velasquez and DND International as a result of the crash that also injured a state trooper Douglas Balder, 38, of Oswego. Balder was also stopped to aid the disabled semi.

Back in February, a six-count suit also alleging negligence was filed in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of Balder and his wife Kimberli.

According to that suit, Balder suffered multiple head and facial lacerations, second and third-degree burns, a fractured clavicle, and fractured ribs. The amount of the suit is undisclosed.

Photo: Renato Velasquez | Illinois State Police

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