DuPage County, IL- Federal officials said the long-haul truck driver who killed one man and seriously injured another, is an “imminent hazard to public safety” and have revoked his commercial driver’s license for life.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Renato Velasquez falsified his driver’s log book in order to cover up the number of hours he was behind the wheel prior to causing the fatal crash.
On January 28th, Velasquez ran over an Illinois Tollway worker and state patrol vehicle with a trooper inside. Trooper Douglas Balder and Tollway worker Vincent Petrella had stopped to assist another trucker, whose vehicle was stalled in the right lane.
The collision killed Petrella instantly, and seriously injured Trooper Balder. It also set off a chain of collisions and caused several vehicles to be engulfed in flames.
After the accident, Velasquez told police he did not see the broken down truck or the patrol car until it was too late. He also admitted that he only had 3.5 hours asleep between his two driving shifts—federal regulations forbid truckers from driving more than 11 hours in a 24-hour period.
Velasquez was charged with four felony counts which include driving a commercial vehicle while impaired and fatigued and driving beyond the maximum number of hours, the Chicago Tribune reported. Prosecutors allege he fell asleep at the wheel moments before the devastating crash.
An investigation revealed that Velasquez received prior traffic violations including one for speeding and unsafely backing his truck on a one-way street.
“Willfully reckless commercial drivers that jeopardize the safety of everyone on our highways and roads will not be tolerated,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a Tuesday press release.
Federal authorities said Velasquez had driven more than 1,000 miles with little very little sleep and considered him to be an “imminent hazard to public safety.” His CDL was revoked for life and now he and his trucking company, DND International Inc. are facing lawsuits.
Fatigue has long been an issue for truck drivers—it’s also an issue for passenger vehicle motorist. Because tractor-trailers can cause significant damage and are often more deadly than motor vehicle accidents, it is critical for truckers to follow the federal hours-of-service regulations. Fail n to do so they along with their parent company can face costly fines. In this case the at-fault trucker killed one person and seriously injured another.
When a truck accident results in injury or death the victims can hold a driver and their trucking company accountable by retaining an Illinois truck accident attorney. Since these accidents are vastly different than passenger vehicle accidents, victims need the help of an attorney who specializes in truck accidents.
An Illinois truck accident attorney is qualified to conduct a comprehensive investigation and will determine which parties are responsible for you injuries. In many cases, both a truck driver and a trucking company can share responsibility for personal injuries caused by a truck accident. Holding both parties accountable will assure the injury victim’s injury claim is successful.