Preliminary Report Finds NTSB Violations Involved in Crash That Killed Tollway Worker

Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) April 22, 2015 – The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released preliminary findings in its investigation of an Illinois truck crash that caused the death of a Tollway worker and caused serious injuries to a state trooper.

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U.S. Senator Dick Durbin called for the federal investigation of the January 2014 crash to determine whether the truck driver or his employer violated hours-of-service regulations. The NTSB has found that the company operating the truck, DND International, had previous violations for hours-of-service compliance and unsafe driving -- two of the five categories used by the NTSB to measure the quality of operation of commercial carriers. The NTSB also reported that the roadway had no lighting in the area of the crash.

“Road workers and police officers are both at a higher-than-average risk for work injuries and fatalities,” said Robert Briskman, a Chicago work accident attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. “In addition to the risks of those occupations, all drivers are at risk from truck accidents, which are often caused by driver fatigue after hours-of-service violations.”

Vincent Petrella, the Tollway worker, and State Trooper Douglas Balder were assisting with a broken-down semitrailer on Interstate 88 when a second semitrailer, driven by Renato Velasquez, crashed into the vehicles, killing Petrella and severely injuring Balder.

Velasquez was charged with four felony counts of driving a commercial vehicle while impaired or fatigued, driving beyond the 14-hour and 11-hour trucking rules and making a false report of duty status. Authorities said that Velasquez worked 37 hours straight before the crash.

The investigation by the safety board is ongoing.

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