Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) February 10, 2014 – A Wisconsin truck driver has been charged with felonies over the March 2013 crash that killed Illinois State Police Trooper James Sauter.
According to Monique Bond of the Illinois State Police, Andrew Bokelman, 26, has been charged with felony violations of truck driving regulations after he allegedly fell asleep at the wheel on March 28.
“The allegations in this terrible accident are a reminder that driver fatigue can be deadly,” said Robert Briskman, a Chicago truck accident attorney.
The charges against Bokelman include rule violations (for driving after working 14 hours without taking 10 consecutive hours off), driving while fatigued and falsifying work logs. At a court hearing, bond was set at $125,000.
Bokelman previously received a traffic citation for improper lane usage, but that ticket was dismissed on April 15, 2013.
Bokelman's attorney stated that his client was cooperating in the investigation, and that he had attempted to extract Sauter from his vehicle after the crash but was unable to do so because of the flames.
At the time of the accident, Sauter's cruiser was stationary on the left shoulder of I-294 near Willow Road, where the trooper had stopped to assist a motorist. When the semi driven by Bokelman struck the patrol car, it sparked a fire. Both the cruiser and the truck's cab were severely damaged by fire.
Sauter was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Bokelman received a burn to his hand but was otherwise uninjured.
Sauter had previously worked for the ISP Air Ops unit as a pilot but had returned to patrol duties.
While still a cadet, Sauter received a Lifesaving Medal in October 2008 after he helped a woman who had been in a motorcycle crash. The trooper used his first responder bag to help the victim, who was lying face down in a pool of blood on I-80. Sauter helped clear her airway before she was taken to a hospital.
Hiram Grau, director of the Illinois State Police, said that Sauter's service to the agency would always be remembered. Dozens of state troopers came to the Skokie Courthouse for Bokelman's appearance in court.
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