Truck driver in fatal I-88 tollway crash pleads not guilty

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The proceedings were short and attorneys were the only people who spoke, but when it was all over Renato Velasquez had entered a plea of not guilty on all charges.

The truck driver is facing several felonies and misdemeanors for his role in a fiery crash that killed a man and severely injured a state trooper back in January.

Velasquez, who is out on bond, followed his attorney out of the court house and briefly discussed how his client feels about an upcoming trial

Authorities say Velasquez, who is accused of falsifying his driving records and driving while impaired by sleep, had only four hours of sleep during a marathon 36-hour shift behind his big rigs wheel.

That morning in January, State Trooper Douglas Balder had pulled over to the side of I-88 to help out another truck driver, along with worker Vincent Petrell.

Petrell was killed in the accident, and Balder survived with several broken bones and burns.

The captain says Trooper Balder is slowly being brought out of a medically induced coma.

The captain was joined in court today by about a dozen troopers and Balders wife, who will see Velasquez in court again. She and her husband are suing him for negligence and asking for more than a million dollars.


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