Trucker Kills Illinois DOT Worker in Tollway Crash, Pleads Not Guilty

Renato Velasquez entered a not guilty plea through his attorney, Steven Goldman. Goldman said, “As expected, he’s concerned.” The fatal crash that killed Illinois Department of Transportation Tollway worker, Vincent Petrella, and injured Illinois State Trooper, Douglas Balder, occured on January 27, 2014.
Trooper Balder was working to remove a stalled semi-truck along with the help of Tollway worker, Vincent Petrella. Initial investigations state that a semi-tractor trailer ahead of Velasquez’s 18-wheeler moved out of the right-hand land in order to avoid hitting the vehicles. However, Velasquez continued on, crahsing into the tollway vehicle.
Illinois Tollway worker, Vincent Petrella, died at the scene of the accident, while Illinois State Trooper, Douglas Balder, escaped death after suffering life-threatening injuries including: bleeding on the brain, third-degree burns, and broken ribs.
Illinois State Police Captain, Patrick Kimes, said, “He is still intensive care, but every day he is improving just a little bit… It’s tremedously difficult. We’re very thankful that he survived this incident.”

To read the full story and stories leading up to this one, visit CBS 2

What is a Truck Accident?

Accidents with trucks like Velasquez’s 18-wheeler are more dangerous than typical automobile accidents. These semi-tractor trailer accidents normally carry sufficient insurance to cover the majority of serious and all non-serious injuries, unlike most automobile accidents. The Illinois Department of Transportation’s Crash Data report from 2011 stated that over 10,000 motor vehicles were in accidents involving truck-tractors with semi-trailers.
What are the Causes of a Semi-Truck Accident?
The United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration states that 87% of the reasons for truck accidents are due to the driver. Below is a list of the Top 10 reasons for truck accidents:

  • Fatigue
  • Inadequate surveillance
  • Over-the-counter drug use
  • Required to stop before crash
  • Roadway problems
  • Unfamiliarity with roadway
  • Traveling too fast for conditions
  • Prescription drug use
  • Traffic flow interruption
  • Brake problems

What Should I do if I have been in a Semi-Truck Accident in Illinois?

Even if you feel that your accident is minor in nature, it is essential that you keep good records.
Make sure you have these:

  • Photographs of the scene, property damage and injuries
  • Dates and context of all conversations with insurance companies and the names of the representatives you spoke with (never agree to a recorded conversation without first consulting an attorney)
  • Emergency visits or follow up medical exams (dates, prognosis and treatments, and treating physicians)

Having a strong team of Illinois Personal Injury attorneys in your corner can help ease your fears and protect your rights. We invite anyone with questions or who has been involved in a truck accident in Illinois for a free telephone or in-person consultation. Many of our Chicago personal injury lawyers have more than 30 years of experience and an unparalleled track record in helping our clients. Please contact us today!