Calls for tougher penalties against trucker in fatal I-88 crash

DUPAGE COUNTY — On the one year anniversary of a fiery crash that killed an Illinois Tollway worker and injured a State Trooper, the same Trooper is calling for tougher penalties on the driver allegedly responsible.Vincenzo Petrella was killed, and Trooper Doug Balder was severly hurt, when Renato Velasquez, who was driving a tractor-trailer truck, allegedly crashed into them on I-88 near Naperville.Balder suffered broken bones, was burned, and was in a medically-induced coma for six weeks. He is calling for reckless homicide charges against Velasquez.Velasquez is accused of falsifying his log books and driving over the legal number of hours, and is already facing several felonies. But, prosecutors say they have to go by the law and what they can prove in court.“I view it as a failure of the system to take care of us,” said Trooper Doug Balder.Elizabeth Sauter, the widow of Illinois State Trooper James Sauter, is also requesting reckless homicide charges for her husband’s death. He too died in a semi-truck crash. She says the driver allegedly responsible was also way over the legal amount of hours.