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Crime & Courts

Hanover Park truck driver pleads not guilty in fatal I-88 crash

HANOVER PARK – The Hanover Park truck driver involved in an Interstate 88 crash that killed an Illinois tollway worker and seriously injured an Illinois State Police trooper pleaded not guilty Monday to 10 charges stemming from the incident.

At about 9:30 p.m. Jan. 27, truck driver Renato Velasquez was traveling eastbound on I-88 when he crashed his semitrailer into the vehicles of tollway employee Vincent Petrella and state trooper Douglas Balder, according to a news release from the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office.

The men had pulled over to help a disabled vehicle on eastbound I-88, east of Eola Road, the release stated. Both positioned their vehicles behind the disabled vehicle and activated their emergency lights.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration investigators found that prior to the crash, Velasquez allegedly violated federal hours of service regulations designed to prevent fatigue, falsifying his logbooks to conceal the number of hours he worked, according to a U.S. Department of Transportation news release.

Velasquez allegedly was on the road for 26 hours during Jan. 26 and 27, traveling about 1,000 miles and resting for 3.5 to 5.5 hours, which is short of the federally required rest period, the release stated.

Following the fatal crash, Velasquez was declared an imminent hazard to public safety by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

He is ordered not to operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce, according to the release.

Velasquez is scheduled to appear in court April 14.

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