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Trooper injured in I-88 crash sues driver, trucking company

Updated: February 11, 2014 10:54AM

The Illinois State trooper who was injured in a crash while aiding a stranded motorist on Interstate 88 has sued the driver charged in the crash and the company that employed him.

Trooper Douglas Balder and Illinois Department of Transportation employee Vincent Petrella had pulled over to help a disabled semitrailer truck on I-88 near Eola Road about 9:45 p.m. Jan. 27 when another semitrailer crashed into them, killing Petrella.

Balder was seriously injured in the fiery crash.

Renato V. Velasquez, 46, was charged with operating a commercial motor vehicle while impaired or fatigued; making a false report of record and duty status; and driving beyond the 14- and 11-hour rules, all felonies, according to the Illinois State Police. He was ordered held on $150,000 bond.

Both Velasquez and the trucking company, DND International, Inc., were named as defendants in the suit filed Monday in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of Balder and his wife, Kimberli Balder.

According to the suit, Balder suffered a fractured clavicle; fractured ribs; multiple head and facial lacerations; and second- and third-degree burns to numerous parts of his body.

The suit seeks an undisclosed amount in damages.

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