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Trooper injured in crash sues driver, trucking company

Illinois State Trooper Douglas J. Balder was critically injured crash I88 Aurora.

Illinois State Trooper Douglas J. Balder was critically injured in the crash on I88 in Aurora.

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Updated: March 13, 2014 6:29AM

The Illinois State Trooper who was injured in a crash while aiding a stranded motorist on the I-88 tollway in Aurora last month is suing 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 the Reagan Memorial Tollway (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 later 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 later 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 a facial lacerations and second and third degree burns to numerous parts of his body.

The six-count suit alleges negligence, respondeat superior (that the employer was liable for the actions of the employee) and loss of consortium. The suit seeks an undisclosed amount in damages.

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